Let me just say that I tried four times over the last fifteen years – UNSUCCESSFULLY – to cook a pot of red beans and rice.  It’s a Louisiana staple, ya know, and it’s supposed to be as natural as breathing.  I failed every time.  For whatever reason, the beans never softened up.  I whined about this problem to many friends over the years who each offered their recipe for me to try.  Still no luck. 

Am I just not meant to cook red beans and rice????

Then this winter when the cold set in (the thirty-degree kind, as that’s the only “cold” Louisianians really know), I bemoaned out loud the fact that I could not make a decent pot of red beans and rice to save my life.  My friend Jill overheard me, and suggested I try this “no-fail” recipe.  She said I absolutely had to buy Camellia beans, and if I followed that simple rule, she guaranteed my success.  Oh, she also said the bay leaves were ultra-important.

Well, I tried it.  And I was completely shocked (not to mention thrilled) when they turned out so dog-gone delicious that I knew I had to share the recipe.  It is deceptively simple, but for someone who could not manage to cook it correctly before, this recipe was a life-saver of ginormous proportions. 

Are ya ready for it?  Here it is:

1 1-pound bag of Camellia red beans

1 large yellow onion (preferably organic), sliced long (as in, not to make rings, but rather to make big wedges.  Slice onion in half from top to bottom, then slice each half into about four wedges.  They will separate and cook down, so have no worries!

1 pound smoked sausage, sliced into disks and then halved

1 slice bone-in smoked ham (cut into 1-inch chunks)

3 bay leaves

Rinse the beans and place them with all other ingredients in a large dutch oven (I think mine is a 5-quart, and it was plenty big.)  Add water until it is about 1/4-1/2 inch above the beans.  Bring to a boil and then simmer covered 3-4 hours until the beans are soft. 

You can thicken it to your preference by removing the lid at the end and cranking up the boil for about 20 minutes or so until it is the thickness you want.  Serve over some naturally healthy brown rice. 😉

HooooooooWee!!!  Dats waddime tawkin’ bout dere!