New Orleans is one of my top travel destinations of all time. I’ve visited a handful of times and always with people I love the most. Those memories and the food we ate during those trips are indelible in my mind. And it’s become tradition to always visit the Gumbo Shop in the French Quarter for a heaping bowl of red beans and rice (also gumbo, obvi.) This red beans and rice soup is an homage to that meal.
This recipe is definitely a different take on the classic. It’s a soup, so it’s a bit thinner by design. But this soup starts with the trinity (onion, bell pepper, and celery) and has all of the flavors of a great bowl of red beans and rice. And you don’t need to wait all day. Using canned beans and pureeing half of them allows you a rich, slow cooked flavor with just 30 minutes of simmering.
♥ Related: BBQ Pork & Bean Stew
The long grain rice is necessary for this dish, so don’t skip it. I like to cook mine in the Instant Pot (6 minutes of cooking time plus a 10-minute steam release cycle.) For a full Gumbo Shop experience, add a side of crusty French bread slathered thick with butter.
Red Beans & Rice Soup
- 3 14 oz cans dark red kidney beans
- ½ tbsp olive oil
- 6 oz andouille smoked sausage diced small, ~1/4-inch dice
- 1/2 large onion diced small, ~1/4-inch dice
- 1 large green bell pepper diced small, ~1/4-inch dice
- 1 jalapeno pepper diced small, ~1/4-inch dice; remove seeds and membrane for a milder heat
- 1 stalk celery diced small, ~1/4-inch dice
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tbsp Cajun seasoning plus extra if necessary; see note below
- 1 14 oz can petite diced tomatoes
- 4 cups chicken stock or broth
- 3 cups long grain white rice cooked
- salt & pepper to taste
- sliced scallions for garnish
- hot sauce to taste
- Drain and rinse kidney beans in a colander. Puree half of the beans in a food processor. You’re looking for a smooth paste, but there can still be a few chunks of beans in the mixture. Set bean puree and whole beans aside.
- Heat olive oil over medium heat in a medium soup pot or Dutch oven. Add the sausage and brown for about 3-5 minutes until it turns brown and renders some fat.
- Add the onion, peppers, and celery with a pinch of salt. Cook for 3-5 minutes until the vegetables are softening and the onion starts turning translucent. Add tomato paste and Cajun seasoning. Cook for 30 seconds to a minute longer.
- Add tomatoes (with juice), broth/stock, and the beans (whole and pureed.)Stir together until the pureed beans are combined (i.e. there are no big globs of bean paste.)Bring to a boil and then simmer covered for 15 minutes. Remove the cover and simmer 15 minutes longer until the vegetables are soft and the soup has thickened slightly. This will not be as thick as a traditional red beans and rice. Taste and add salt, pepper, and more Cajun seasoning as needed.
- Serve with a scoop of rice and green onions as garnish. Plus, hot sauce as desired.
- If you can’t find andouille sausage, any smoked sausage would do especially if it’s spicy. Smoked chorizo would be a nice substitute.
- Use your favorite Cajun seasoning, but remember seasoning blends will differ in sodium levels which is why it’s important to taste along the way and adjust. I used Tony Charchere’s which has a decent amount of salt. If you use something with less salt added, you might need to add much more salt.
Things You Might Need For This Recipe
- Cajun Seasoning Blend — I used Tony Chachere’s Original Creole Seasoning.
- Instant Pot — For quick, perfect rice. I don’t use my rice cooker anymore!
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