Red beans & rice is a New Orleans tradition that's believed by some to have been around for hundreds of years. Every family has their own recipe and preferences for how to serve this iconic dish whether it be meat-free, with ham hocks, sausages or pork chops. I'll be the first to raise my hand and admit that I've never been to New Orleans, but this is my version of the classic Mardi Gras staple which uses Polish sausage because that's what's available locally to me (and most people I imagine). I've also added harissa, which is my new favorite thing to cook with and adds a delicious punch to this dish.
This is a great dish to cook during the week. I've only specified enough rice for the amount of people you're feeding because that's all you need. If you have leftovers, it's best to serve them warmed up with fresh rice or put them in a freezer to have a meal on-hand later down the line…
2 tablespoons harissa
3 tablespoon regular olive oil
400g cooked, smoked polish sausage, sliced into coins
1 small onion
2 sticks of celery
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon hot smoked paprika
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 can chopped tomatoes in their juices (400g)
1 tablespoon tomato paste (tomato puree)
200ml chicken stock
1 can red kidney beans (400g), rinsed and drained
Cooked white rice for serving (about 100g per person)
1. In a medium sized bowl, mix together the 2 tablespoons of harissa with 1 tablespoon of olive, whisking to combine. Add the polish sausage slices and stir to coat the sausage in the mixture. Set aside.
2. Roughly chop the celery and onion into large chunks and add to the bowl of a food processor. Blitz until the mixture is a finely minced mush.
3. Heat the remaining olive oil over medium-low heat and cook the onion & celery mixture until it softens. Add the garlic and cook for another minute before adding in the sausage. Stir and cook for a few more minutes.
4. Add the dried oregano, thyme, cumin and hot smoked paprika and stir to combine. Let it sizzle away for another minute or two.
5. Add the red wine vinegar, chopped tomatoes, tomato paste and chicken stock and simmer for about 5 minutes.
6. Finally, add the beans, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes or so. Serve hot over a bed of white rice.