Fall is lingering in the air, and the weather is slowly changing. As we lean into a new season and the temperatures begin to cool, many of us start to crave warm and savory comfort foods. There is something about indulging in warm dishes that pleases the palette at the bottom of the year.
This month, Chris Bowden is sharing a delicious recipe… a perfect meal for an entire family to enjoy this fall. He works from home as a Data Engineer Consultant, currently working on Johnson and Johnson products. His wife, Savannah, teaches fourth grade at Pike Road Intermediate School. They have four children: Charlie (11), Chelsea (9), Archie (6), and Audrey (3).
Growing up in Louisiana, Chris experienced a lot of fathers cooking all day on Saturdays, during occasions for Cajun cuisine and family gatherings. However, Chris says, “I did not cook at all the first 12 or so years of marriage, except for the occasional grill duty and this red beans and rice recipe. When my wife returned to work earlier this year, I took over dinner duty. After about a month of frozen everything, I started cooking. Not knowing where to start, I used a meal kit delivery service at first, and now I’m a much better cook.”
Several meals prepared in the Bowden home are from his wife’s ten years of cooking for their growing family. Along with her inspiration, Chris has also traveled frequently during his career and enjoys using that inspiration to try new recipes. He shares,
“Being open to new things has also given me an appreciation and interest in cooking new things.”
One of Chris’s favorite recipes to prepare for his family is Crescent City Red Beans. Chris started perfecting this recipe from what he could remember growing up. Chris explains, “My mother is from around Lafayette, LA (Scott, LA to be exact), so Cajun cooking was frequent. When Savannah and I started our own family, I wanted to recreate something to pass down to my children, so I began experimenting. Now, it’s a family favorite in our home!”
Crescent City Red Beans and Rice
2-3 cups jasmine rice
3 16oz canned dark red kidney beans
4 stalks of celery
1 green bell pepper
1 yellow onion
4 cloves minced fresh garlic or 2 tsp pre-minced
4+ bay leaf
1 stick butter
2 pounds smoked sausage
Salt, pepper, Tony’s Creole Seasoning and Tabasco to taste
1 cup chicken stock
Grab a crockpot, a pan for sauteing, and a chopper. Start the crockpot for four hours on high and get your pan heating on medium heat.
Dice a pound of sausage and toss into the pan to render and brown. Toss the sausage and drippings in the crockpot.
Chop up the celery, bell pepper, and onion. Toss two pads of butter into the pan with the veggies. Cook until browned and toss in the crockpot.
Open two cans of beans and dump them into the crockpot. Add a pinch or two of salt and pepper.
Bring together your browned sausage bits and sauteed veggies with the beans in the crockpot. Scrape in any rendered fat and stuck on bits. Stir it all together and add more salt/pepper and Tony’s Tabasco to taste. Add water, just enough to cover the beans and veggies. Arrange your bay leaves in a cool pattern on top or stir them in.
After three hours, stir and season to taste. Blend the third can of beans until smooth. Add the bean puree and the remaining butter to the crock and stir. Turn the heat down to warm for the next hour.
Twenty minutes before serving, brown the other pound of sausage slices and cook your rice according to the package.
Stir your crockpot and pick out the bay leaves. Enjoy!