Red Beans and Rice Crockpot:

Semi-Vegetarian, Crockpot-cooked Red Beans and Rice

by Josh Day

This is an easy recipe that's also spicy and delicious.

It's made in the crockpot so all you have to do is chop some onions and parsley, mince some garlic, and soak beans overnight.

I've labeled it semi-vegetarian because I use a smoked ham hock for the crucial flavor it brings to the dish. You can leave it out, but I don't recommend it as the beans turn out really bland.

I have another red beans and rice recipe I make on the stovetop in a cast iron pot, with several more ingredients, but honestly I feel this one tastes better.

Onto the recipe:

Red Beans and Rice

1 bag of red kidney beans, soaked overnight in the fridge
1 medium onion, diced
1/4 cup fresh Italian parsley, minced
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
3 fresh or dried bay leaves
1 smoked ham hock for flavor
Water or chicken broth to cover beans as they cook
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp natural liquid smoke
Salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbs olive oil
Cooked rice

Turn crockpot on high and add olive oil. Drop ham hock into crockpot, then onions. Let cook for ten minutes or until onions begin to turn translucent. Add garlic, cook until flavors absorb but do not brown. Add parsley, cayenne pepper, bay leaves, salt and pepper, and water or chicken broth.

Rinse beans well and pour in. Make sure liquid covers beans and ham hock.

Now for the secret ingredient... liquid smoke. What you want is a good, natural brand, one that doesn't contain any chemicals. Most available brands have MSG which you do not want. Your ingredient list should be short and only contain "natural hickory smoke flavor" as well as vinegar and caramel color. No chemicals.

Leave crockpot on high and cook uncovered all day. Check infrequently as you'll need to add more water as it evaporates.

An hour before ready remove ham hock and discard. Smash beans with a potato masher until everything is creamy.

Serve with cooked rice. Salad with Italian dressing, croutons, and french bread go great with this meal.

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