When the nights are chilly and our days are filled with school, hockey and some NJ snow I go straight for my slow cooker for something delicious and easy! This Slow Cooker Cajun Red Beans and Rice is jam packed full of great flavor and really simple to throw together. Its hearty, not overly spicy and just a perfect comfort meal on a cold night.
Happy Friday friends! Today is another special day here on the blog, its our Freaky Friday Blog Hop- Winter Edition 2021! So what does that mean? A bunch of us food bloggers get together for a recipe swap. We are each assigned a blog to then chose a recipe from to recreate and share. For this round I was assigned that wonderful Kathleen from The Fresh Cooky!
My pal Michaela from An Affair From The Heart puts so much time and work into organizing these recipe swaps throughout the year. Her blog is packed with some of the most tasty recipes you’ll find! Her Sausage Cheese Dip would make for a perfect snack at any party! You have to check out her Chocolate Whoopie Pies– they are adorable and perfect for a Valentines Day treat! Oh my goodness and her Baked Roast Beef Sliders with Horseradish Sauce are to die for!!! Everything on her blog is mouth watering and sure to be a family or crowd pleasing dish!
Let me tell ya, I am surrounded by amazingly talented friends because Kathleen from The Fresh Cooky totally crushes it in the kitchen! Like me, Kathleen is married with two boys. Hers are a few years older than mine and if they eat the way my boys eat then I have no doubt she spends a lot of time in the kitchen cooking up things to feed those hungry bellies! When I browse through her blog the first thing that comes to mind is COMFORT and I love that! Her Creamy Chicken Poblano Soup has so much flavor and will surely warm you on a cold night! Her Greek Butter Cookies are a delicious treat any night of the week.
I have to tell you, when I saw her recipe for Slow Cooker Red Beans and Rice I knew that was the winner! Really simple ingredients but so much flavor. The prep is minimal and everything just gets thrown in the slow cooker to do its magic. I love what Kathleen writes in the post about this dish- Is it traditional? Maybe not exactly what you’d get in New Orleans but its a darn delicious meal that the family will love! This is why I love cooking so much. You can play, you can alter, you make it your own.
If you happen to have a slow cooker where the insert can go on the stovetop you get one less thing to clean. If not that’s ok- its just one sauté pan. You start creating an amazing base of flavor right here with sautéing onion and celery in a little olive oil until softened. You’ll then add in the cajun seasoning, thyme, bay leaf and a pinch of salt and pepper.
You can technically skip all this and throw everything into the slow cooker but I definitely recommend doing it this way. When you add garlic, the dry seasoning and herbs to the sauté pan the flavors really wake up and get a bit of a toasted enhanced flavor to start the dish. You’ll just cook this for a couple extra minutes before adding it to the slow cooker.
One little note- I didn’t have dry beans so I used canned red kidney beans (rinsed and drained) so I do use less liquid here then in Kathleens recipe. At this point you are ready to add everything right into the slow cooker. You’ll add sliced kielbasa and water. Kathleen gives the option for chicken breasts as well and I thought that was great. If you use the chicken breasts as well you can add them in 4 hours into the cooking time. This is also when I added my beans since they are already cooked.
You’ll let this go in the slow cooker for 6-8 hours on high or 8-10 on low. The result is fantastic!!! The beans are creamy, the perfect amount of spice from the cajun seasoning and the tender chicken and kielbasa… YUM!!! You’ll serve with a heaping spoonful of white rice cooked per the package directions. This Slow Cooker Cajun Red Beans and Rice is one incredibly comforting meal! After enjoying it for dinner I texted my dad and said, “I have a meal for you to come pick up”. So on day 3 of of this snow storm we just had my dad came by and here’s what he had to say, “That was the best rice dish I’ve ever eaten. Moist, creamy, super tasty”.
- 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion, diced
- 3-4 ribs of celery, diced
- 6 cloves garlic, minced or diced
- 1 lb dried red beans, rinsed and sorted* (kidney beans or black beans may be substituted)
- 1-2 14 oz packages smoked sausage (andouille, kielbasa or other smoked sausage works great!), sliced into ½" slices
- 7 oz smoked ham chunks, or other smoked meat (optional)
- 2 chicken breasts, whole (optional)
- 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
- 2-3 teaspoons cajun seasoning
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- Cayenne pepper to taste, up to 1 teaspoon
- 6 cups water
- 4 cups cooked rice (white or brown)
- In a sauté pan over medium heat, add the olive oil, onion and celery. Cook until slightly softened.
- Add in the garlic, cajun seasoning, bay leaves, thyme, salt and pepper. Cook for another 2-3 minutes.
- Add the veggie mixture to the slow cooker insert along with the sliced kielbasa and water (beans too if using dried). Like I mentioned because I was using canned beans I cut down the water to 4 cups. Set your slow cooker to either 6-8 on high or 8-10 on low.
- hours into the cooking process you'll add in the chicken breasts and canned beans if using canned. Cook the remaining time. At the end of the cooking time you can shred or dice the chicken and if you'd like to get a little extra creaminess going you can smash some of the beans.
- Serve with rice. Garnish with chopped parsley if you'd like.
Take a look at all of our 2021 Freaky Friday Winter Edition Recipes:
- An Affair from the Heart – Copy Cat Taco Bell Enchirito
- Aunt Bee’s Recipes – Three Cheese Jalapeno Poppers
- The Carefree Kitchen – Lemon Bundt Cake
- The Culinary Compass – Rotel Sausage Dip
- Devour Dinner – Cheese Enchiladas
- The Foodie Affair – Gluten Free Irish Soda Bread
- The Fresh Cooky – Cranberry Bourbon Cocktail
- House of Nash Eats – Pineapple Casserole
- Kathryn’s Kitchen Blog – Crab Stuffed Mushrooms
- Lemoine Family Kitchen – Red Beans & Rice
- Life, Love & Good Food – Pan Seared Scallops
- Lisa’s Dinnertime Dish – Weeknight Broccoli Shrimp Stir Fry
- Off the Eaten Path – Extra Crispy Air Fryer Chicken Wings
- Soulfully Made – Stuffed Pepper Meatloaf
- The Speckled Palate – Pretzel Cheese Dip
- Sugar Dish Me – Cheesecake Brownies with Graham Cracker Crust
- Take Two Tapas – Buffalo Chicken Taquitos in the Air Fryer
- West Via Midwest – Frito Corn Salad