1 pound of dried, Camellia brand red kidney beans
3 slices of bacon, chopped
2 cups of chopped onion
1 cup of chopped bell pepper
1/2 cup of chopped celery
2 cloves of garlic, minced
Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 large bay leaf
1/2 tablespoon of olive oil, vegetable or canola oil
1/2 pound of andouille or spicy smoked sausage, cut into 1/4-inch slices
1 meaty ham bone or 2 ham hocks
7 cups of hot water
Kosher salt to taste, if needed
Cayenne pepper, to taste, optional
Hot, cooked rice
Sliced green onion, for garnish, optional
Cajun seasoning and hot sauce, for the table
Rinse and sort beans and use a quick boil method before adding them to the slow cooker. Put them in a pot, bring to a boil, boil for 10 minutes, drain and transfer to a 6 quart slow cooker.
In a separate skillet, cook the bacon until the fat is rendered. To that, add the onion, bell pepper, and celery and sauté until the veggies are tender. Add the garlic, black pepper, basil and bay leaf into the vegetable mixture, stir together and transfer to the slow cooker. Add the oil to the skillet and saute the sausage until browned. Transfer to the slow cooker. Add the ham bone. If using ham hocks, use a knife to cut slashes into the fat before adding to the slow cooker.
Add 7 cups of heated water, cover and cook for 5 to 7 hours on high, or until beans are tender and cooked through completely. Remove 1 cup of the beans, draining the liquid back into the slow cooker. Mash beans to form a paste and stir back into the beans. Taste, add salt as needed, and cayenne pepper, to taste, if desired. Scoop over hot, cooked rice, and serve with fresh French bread. Garnish with sliced green onion, if desired, and pass Cajun seasoning and hot sauce at the table.
Cook’s Notes: Do not consume raw or undercooked kidney beans. Because there are concerns with potentially undercooking kidney beans when made in a slow cooker, I recommend using the boil method of pre-soaking to rid the beans of any toxins. I also recommend cooking them on high instead of low. Taste and add salt only once beans are fully cooked, and then only if it needs it. For extra richness, add up to 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) of butter and stir in at the end. If you pre-soak your beans, you’ll need to increase the water so that they cover the beans by about an inch or so.