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Red Beans and Rice

When I make Red Beans & Rice they always look pale in color and not like the photo attached. This picture is from Cafe Zydeco in Bozeman MT. Any ideas on getting the deeper color. I don't think it is roux, but I don't really know for sure. Any suggestions are appreciated.
Zydeco's are tasty.

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  1. add in about 6oz of tomato sauce to your recipe for the color (if cooking 1lb of beans).

    1 Reply
    1. re: outsidein

      Also perhaps more Cajun seasoning, such as Zatarain's -- or if that would make it too spicy for you, a teaspoon or so of very mild chile powder, or a little mild paprika.

    2. Does their red beans and rice have sausage in it? I think it may be from the sausage. I use a good cajun spicy sausage in mine and it colors up well.

      1. from my NOLA friend, she says traditionally, some of the beans are pureed and added in to supplement the creamy roux...

        definately some tomato paste...

        and also the smoked sausage would likely contribute some of its color, from paprika, etc

        1. Aside from looks, and more importantly, does YOUR pale red beans and rice taste good?

          I think that's the most important thing, no?

          1. I have to add my 2 cents here . . . I have never seen a red bean and rice recipe that used tomato sauce, paste or any other forms of tomatoes. If you use red beans and a red sausage, some paprika, cayenne or cajun seasonings it should get redder. But as ipsedixit said, if you like the flavor, don't sweat the coloring.

            1 Reply
            1. re: danhole

              the beuty of any creole cooking...from latino to NOLA...its differs from kitchen to kitchen

            2. They may be getting Camellia brand red beans somewhere in Bozeman, MT - you might ask if they have a local restaurant supplier or source.
              That's what I always used when I lived in N.O., and I've never found an exact substitute.

              3 Replies
                1. re: TSQ75

                  Yeah, those are good! I always found them canned, though. Maybe hard to find that far out-of-state.

                  1. re: trentyzan

                    we've been lucky to find some on occasion here in NC, but our friends tend to bring us back some everytime they go back to NOLA

                    I, in turn, bring them cuban goodies whenever i get back down to Miami...symbiotic, to say the least! ;)

              1. Thanks for all the suggestions, I really like my recipe & I really like Cafe Zydeco also; for Montana they serve up some real decent chow. I may try some medium cajun seasoning and paprika in my next batch. Good Cajun sausage and Montana unfortunetly don't appear in the same sentence in my neck of the woods...

                I really appreciate the imput


                4 Replies
                1. re: rcspott

                  If you're happy with the taste of your beans, don't worry another minute about the color, Rich. I'm a New Orleans native and have eaten Red Beans and Rice just about every Monday of my life - tradition, you know. I've lived away from NOLA for some time now and when I couldn't get Camellia beans, mine weren't deep mahogany red either but they tasted fine (well, not as good as Camellia, but pretty darned good.) Now I stock up on Camellia when I go home or have somebody ship me some if I run out. They just cook up darker. No idea why.
                  The classic recipes don't use sausage. Just ham, hambone or salt pork. Traditionally, long ago, families had ham as part of Sunday dinner, and then used the bone or scraps for the beans which were put on to cook unattended while doing the laundry on Monday wash day. Nobody in my huge extended family and none of my friends uses sausage, except maybe to serve on the side but it's not cooked in the beans. That seems to be a modern addition, maybe more restaurant than home cooking.
                  Red Beans are a real keep-it-simple dish. Start adding stuff and you'll blow it. The suggestions to add tomato made me shudder.
                  Good luck! Let the good times roll!

                  1. re: MakingSense

                    My husband is a native of New Orleans and he prefers sausage cooked on the side (so do I). We've never put tomatoes of any kind in our CAMELLIA red beans. There are variations on red beans of course (some use allspice), but we cook red beans the traditional way, and they're always delicious.

                    1. re: bayoucook

                      We never bother to serve sausage or anything else "on the side." The shreds of ham in the beans are plenty, and my family would even complain if there was "too much ham" in the beans. They said it threw the balance off.
                      Beans and rice are a complete protein (not to mention a very economical meal) so there isn't any need to load this classic dish up with a lot of extra meat, especially since andouille is not only hard to find, but pretty expensive.

                      You must be natives! Few outside of real NOLA folks use allspice which is a "secret ingredient" in a lot of Creole food. That must be part of the Caribbean influence in the City. The je ne sais quoi.

                  2. re: rcspott

                    Have you asked Cafe Zydeco what type of sausage they use? That might help. I use any red based sausage, such as hot links. Any sausage that you cook and the grease comes out to be orange will work.

                  3. I would also try Mexican Chorizo. When you fry it up, it releases a red color. I use it all the time when I make my Bean Soup, and it looks like I added tomatoe paste, but didn't.

                    7 Replies
                    1. re: thecountryrose

                      yikes! way too greasy though, dont you think?

                      I've gotten away with using spanish chorizo, but it takes on a much more latin-creole flava

                      then it becomes my grandmother's cuban red beans and rice...lol

                      1. re: TSQ75

                        yea it is greasy, but you cant beat the flava of chorizo. I do let it drain for about 3 hours tho, What about pepperoni, that might be good and it turns red when you fry. but personally, my thought is if your red beans & rice taste good, dont sweat it. Are you using canned red beans or dry beans that you soak, cause canned beans have the red gravy in them and the dry beans dont.

                      2. re: thecountryrose

                        I think the red color in chorizo comes from achiote. If you heat achiote in oil, it will color the oil without leaving any real flavor.
                        Would doing that and then using the oil for sautéing the vegetables give you the red color without the flavor changes from the chorizo, grease, or tomato?

                        1. re: MakingSense

                          the red in mexican chorizo comes from achiote, from paprika in the spanish chorizo..

                          but that's exactly how to begin a good red sofrito for coloring your spanish- creole dishes, so i would say that's a good idea.

                          achiote seeds heated in oil til they're just popping, will color the oil just enough to color the food a bit.

                          1. re: TSQ75

                            I will have to try that, but would I be able to store the oil for awhile if I were to make a batch of it without spoiling? cause wouldnt you leave the achiote seeds in oil for more color?

                            1. re: thecountryrose

                              I used to do it all the time. Lasted as long as the oil did. Of course once you heat it, oil gets rancid more quickly, so I'm talking about a couple of weeks at most. Cool place or fridge.

                              1. re: thecountryrose

                                does get rancid...its simple enough to make a bit each time you need to though

                        2. Red Beans
                          Serves: 6

                          "In all the ancient homes of New Orleans, and in the colleges and convents, where large numbers of children are sent to be reared to be strong and useful men and women, several times a week there appear on the table either the nicely cooked dish of Red Beans, which are eaten with rice, or the equally wholesome White Beans a la Crème, or Red or White beans boiled with a piece of salt pork or ham."
                          -The Picayune Creole Cookbook 1900


                          • 2 cups large dried kidney beans (Camellia brand if possible)
                          • 6 cups water
                          • 4 strips bacon, cut into inch pieces
                          • 2 cups yellow onion, chopped
                          • 1 cup bell pepper, chopped
                          • ½ cup green onions, chopped
                          • 4 sprigs of parsley, finely chopped
                          • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
                          • 1 large smoked ham hock
                          • 1 pound Andouille sausage, sliced ½ inch thick
                          • ¼ teaspoon dried thyme, ground
                          • ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
                          • ⅛ teaspoon white pepper
                          • ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
                          • 1 teaspoon Tabasco ®
                          • 2 bay leaves

                          Note: To produce a creamy sauce soak beans overnight in 4 cups water or put 2 cups of beans in a pot, cover with 4 cups water, bring to a boil and cook for 2 minutes; remove from the heat, cover the pot and let stand for 1 hour.


                          1. In a black cast iron pot, sauté the bacon until limp then add the onions, bell pepper, green onions, parsley and garlic.
                          2. Cook until onions are clear, about 5 minutes.
                          3. Add the beans, ham hock and ham to the pot and add enough water to make 6 cups.
                          4. Stir.
                          5. Add the seasonings and stir.
                          6. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 2 hours or until beans become tender and have made a thick sauce.
                          7. Stir to prevent scorching on bottom.
                          8. Add additional water to keep beans covered.
                          9. Serve over boiled rice with pickled onions.

                          Boiled Rice

                          Serves: 6

                          With this method of boiling, the rice will come out grain for grain, firm but cooked and free of excess starchy residues. No more gummy rice that sticks together in globs.


                          • 14 cups of water
                          • 2 teaspoons salt
                          • 2 - 4 cups long grain rice


                          1. Fill a 6 quart pot with 14 cups of water. Do not alter the water volume.
                          2. Bring the water to a boil and add 2 teaspoons of salt.
                          3. When the water is boiling rapidly, pour in up to 4 cups of rice. "Up to 4 cups"; you can boil a half-cup or 4 cups, it makes no difference.
                          4. When the water comes back to a boil, reduce the heat but keep the water actively bubbling, and begin to consider your cooking time.
                          5. As the rice cooks, you should continue to stir the rice every 2 or 3 minutes to distribute the heat also you need not cover the pot while the rice is boiling.
                          6. It should take no more than 15 minutes for the rice to be completely, perfectly cooked.
                          7. Taste a few grains of the rice to be sure there are no hard centers.
                          8. When the rice tastes cooked to you, immediately take it off the heat, pour it into a colander and rinse well with hot water.

                          1. Okay, I'm a Cana 'Jun but I've researched this recipe to refine my own and I'll put it up against any ones.

                            First of all, no tomatoes or tomato based products. It just doesn't happen.
                            Secondly, if I can't use a good Cajun sausage I'll opt for a kielbasa or other smokey, garlicky sausage. Add some extra Cajun spice in there while you're sauteing it for a more Cajun like sausage. I've use Spanish chorizo too but it's not the same.
                            I've opted to skip the ham bone and go with a ham hock. I cook it for a couple of hours and then remove it. Shred the meat and add it back in.
                            The final thing is. No roux. I didn't seem many recipes that called for it. The trick is, mash the cooked beans against the wall of the pot and stir the bean paste into the broth. It will thicken very nicely and give it a ton of body.

                            Making Sense is right. Sunday dinner was always ham and Monday was wash day. They needed a way to make dinner on Monday without distracting from the wash. So they'd simmer the beans and leftover ham bone all day and serve over rice for dinner. It's a very simple rustic dish. My version is more of the "Evolved" type but still has it's roots firmly in the tradition.

                            Just my 2c.

                            16 Replies
                              1. re: speyerer

                                Canadian. I guess should've said Can Eh Jun, eh??


                                1. re: Davwud

                                  Many Cajun families had been in the Canadian Province of Nova Scotia where they had settled after being kicked out of France. Starting in 1755, about 7,000 of them were rounded up by New England troops, acting under the authority of the colonial governors of Massachusetts and Nova Scotia and crowded onto transport vessels and transported to other British colonies. Another 10,000 fled into forests and spent years living as refugees. Thousands more were sent back to France, while others waged guerilla resistance. The campaign to"extirpate" the Acadian people lasted until the end of the Seven Years War in 1763 and cost thousands of lives.
                                  Remember Longfellow's "Evangeline"?
                                  My own family settled in Louisiana in 1763 as part of this diaspora.
                                  A great book about the entire Scheme is John Mack Faragher's "A Great and Noble Scheme," which also shows why many of you will find similarities in cooking and foodways in parts of New England and other sections of Canada and the US.
                                  We were all fleeing for our our lives but cooking meals as we went.

                              2. re: Davwud

                                I thought if you put sausage like kielbasa then it would be more like jambalia (sp)?

                                1. re: thecountryrose

                                  The beans and rice are not cooked together like in jambalaya. Please see my recipe above.

                                  1. re: speyerer

                                    my bad, your right. your recipe is just for red beans. I do cook my rice with my beans so that is why I thought that.

                                    1. re: thecountryrose

                                      Rose, you may enjoy this recipe.

                                      Creole Jambalaya


                                      • 2 tbs Butter or Oil
                                      • 1 tbs flour
                                      • ¼ lb ham – cubed
                                      • 1 or 2 bay leaves
                                      • 1 tsp thyme
                                      • 1 tsp parsley
                                      • ½ cup bell pepper – small diced
                                      • ½ cup celery – small diced
                                      • 1- cup onion – small diced
                                      • 1 clove garlic – minced
                                      • 1 lb shrimp – peeled (or 1 lb crawfish tails)
                                      • 2 cups whole tomatoes
                                      • 1-¼ cups of tomato juice (V-8 Juice, Spicy V-8 Juice, or Tabasco Bloody Mary Mix)
                                      • = Salt & Pepper to taste
                                      • 2 cups uncooked Minute Rice


                                      1. Melt butter/heat oil in heavy saucepan over medium heat.
                                      2. Stir in 1st 3 ingredients – simmer 5 minutes, stirring constantly
                                      3. Add the next 4 ingredients – simmer until vegetables are “soft” – stirring constantly to get stuff off the bottom of the pan
                                      4. Add remaining ingredients, except rice and salt & pepper – bring to a boil
                                      5. Press rice into liquid – let stand, covered about 25 minutes while liquid and the flavors are absorbed

                                      Feeds 3 w/seconds – so double the recipe to feed more… ☺

                                      1. re: speyerer

                                        sounds yummy. hubby coming home this weekend and I just bought 3 lbs of fresh shrimp and wondering what to do with it other then fry it all up. Thanks for the different recipe cause the one I use isnt as flavorful as this one, i always end up adding more spices

                                        1. re: thecountryrose

                                          Another Creole home cooking favorite is white beans with shrimp, made like red beans but using canellini (white runner or kidney beans, not navy beans.) Served over rice. Make the beans with just a little bit of ham, add the shrimp at the very end to just let them cook through. Shrimp stock can be used as part of the cooking liquid for the beans.
                                          I've never seen it in a restaurant, only in private homes.

                                          1. re: MakingSense

                                            yum, thanks. may have to make it without him. i am gonna have to dig out all my old cookbooks and check them out again. I am getting hungry.

                                    2. re: thecountryrose

                                      No, it's more like a thick bean soup with sausage, not close to jambalaya. And rice is always cooked on the side.

                                    3. re: Davwud

                                      The ham hock is just the end of a ham bone. They're easily available because they're trimmed off hams to tidy them up for market. If you buy a whole or shank half ham, ask the butcher to saw the bone off the shank end of the ham, and that's your ham hock.
                                      It's the same as the top part of "long" pigs feet - just not smoked.

                                      1. re: MakingSense

                                        The last hock I had weighed in a 4.4 lbs. My eyes almost fell out of my head when I saw it. Call it a smoked ham. Never mind the hock tag.


                                      2. re: Davwud

                                        I just made red beans and rice for the first time the other night. I don't know traditional from a hole in the wall, but they were good! I used tasso ham, which was so flavorful.
                                        I did not have a problem with the beans losing color - they stayed nice and red. Perhaps because I got them at the farmer's market so they were fresh beans? I did what Davwud suggested above, which is to smash some of the beans against the pot to thicken them more.

                                        1. re: ScarletB

                                          I wonder if freshness of the beans has something to do with them keeping the red color? Your fresh beans did and dried Camellia Brand beans always do too.
                                          The Camellia beans are always unusually fresh for dried beans because pretty much the entire city of New Orleans still eats Red Beans and Rice on Monday so the stores really sell through them quickly.
                                          When I've bought other brands, my beans didn't turn out as red, they took longer to cook, and weren't as creamy.

                                      3. Actually, they are right. Do not add in any tomatoes. I based my recommendation on a website recipe which stated Louis Armstrong personally added tomato sauce to his red beans at the end of cooking. I tried this with mine last night and it made it taste more like chili, even though I only used a little bit. the color did change from pink to reddish, but really it started to taste more like chili. More paprika makes sense, if it didn't get all of that out from the andouille during cooking. anyway, sorry about the the tomato suggestion. I did that without trying it myself and now I know.

                                        1. My recipe does call for some red salsa to add color flavor and some heat, also mashing some of the red beans will add color and thickening. It doesn't have to be dark, just season to taste.

                                          1. My recipe:

                                            Saute some chopped onion, bell pepper and garlic in bacon grease. Add 1 lb beans (soaked or not), ham chunks, 1/2 a bottle of Abita Amber, cayenne, marjoram and a bay leaf or 2. Add enough water to cover. Cook until beans are soft - usually about 2-3 hours. Add sausage and cook an hour longer.

                                            I kind of smash my beans a little as they cook, and only add water when necessary - we like the beans to be thick. They are always better the next day.

                                            3 Replies
                                            1. re: mrsfury

                                              sounds yummy too. What is Abita Amber, here in IND I am not famialar with that? Everything that is homemade is always better the next day or three!

                                              1. re: thecountryrose

                                                Abita Amber is a beer made here in Louisiana. You can use another brand for sure just use an amber or light beer but not dark and not Bud.

                                                1. re: mrsfury

                                                  oh, ok, thanks. next time my hubby is down that way, will have to have him get some & import it back to indiana

                                            2. Have to weigh in on the tomato debate. To each his own, but I think probably people who don't like it are just using it incorrectly.

                                              A small amount (say 1/4 cup or less) of tomato paste added during the last 30 minutes of cooking gives a richer flavor and a more vibrant color.

                                              1. I have used both tomato paste or ketchup in my beans and rice, depending on what I had on hand. I use dried beans instead of canned and I mash some of the beans against the side of the crockpot with the back of a spoon to get a creamy texture.

                                                1. I've recognized a couple of NOLA natives here and they are spot on with the recipe. Leave out any ketchup or tomato products, they don't really meld well with the flavors. However, I do cook mine with sausage and have always done it that way. The key to the color, flavor and creamy texture is the cooking time; you'll need to cook them for at least 3-4 hours. You have to remember, this was a Monday dinner dish in New Orleans because the housewives (or servants) were cooking them all day while they did laundry.

                                                  FWIW, here's my recipe:

                                                  Red Beans & Rice, Creole Style
                                                  courtesy of Kevin Lacassin

                                                  There aren’t many food traditions that characterize New Orleans better than Red Beans & Rice on Monday nights. The tradition began in the days before refrigeration, when fisherman took the day off on Sundays and fresh seafood was not available. Creole women did laundry on Mondays and had plenty of time to let a pot of Red Beans simmer all day while they worked. It eventually became a tradition for New Orleanians, not only at dinner tables across the city, but at lunch joints and at local taverns as lagniappe with cold beer and football. You can also make this the easy way, using canned Creole-Style kidney beans made by Blue Runner. By easy, I mean you can cook the dish in as little as an hour or two. However, if you are so inclined, cook the full version on Sunday and warm it up for your family on Monday evening. Serve it with cold Abita beer and hot sauce on the side and your friends or family will thank you. Don’t forget the warm French bread!

                                                  Serves 6-8
                                                  Cooking Time: 4 to 5 hours, but the longer the better

                                                  1 pound smoked SAUSAGE or ANDOUILLE, sliced at a bias
                                                  1 pound smoked HAM hocks, on the bone, preferably in 2 or 3 small chunks (*see notes
                                                  )1 pound red kidney BEANS, soaked overnight in cold water
                                                  2 medium white ONIONS, diced
                                                  1 green BELL PEPPER, diced
                                                  4 ribs CELERY, minced
                                                  ½ bunch GREEN ONIONS, chopped
                                                  2 BAY LEAVES
                                                  Seasonings, to taste: SALT, black PEPPER, CAYENNE PEPPER, THYME, BASIL, OREGANO
                                                  Cayenne HOT SAUCE (Crystal or Louisiana brand), to taste
                                                  3-5 qts. WATER
                                                  3 cups (uncooked) white RICE, prepared according to directions

                                                  1. Begin by preparing your trinity of white onion, green bell pepper and celery, all chopped fine. Also chop your green onions and slice your smoked sausage at a bias.
                                                  2. In a large stockpot, sauté the smoked sausage to render the grease. Remove the sausage from the pot and set aside, it will be added near the end of the cooking process.
                                                  3. Add a ½ stick of butter to the sausage grease and use it to sauté the trinity for about ten minutes, until all vegetables are soft.
                                                  4. To the pot, add ham (on the bone) and beans then pour in enough water to cover the beans, plus another inch. Season with salt (*see notes), pepper, cayenne, oregano, thyme, basil and add the bay leaf.
                                                  5. Let the beans simmer, uncovered for at least three hours, stirring about every twenty minutes. Make sure to cook on a low heat to avoid beans on the bottom of the pot from burning. If the beans look to be getting dry, add more water.
                                                  6. About an hour before you are ready to serve, add the sausage and chopped green onions to the pot and stir thoroughly; taste and season as desired. Remove the ham bones and pull off the meat, then put it all back in the pot, discard the bones.
                                                  7. If beans are not creamy enough, use a large spoon to smash some of the beans against the side of the pot. Mix those in until you get your desired consistency.
                                                  8. Serve beans on a plate or in a bowl with a small scoop of rice. By nature, the beans and rice will be seasoned well, but not spicy, so make available several different hot sauces for your guests to try. My favorites are Crystal and Louisiana Brand hot sauces, but I also enjoy Cajun Power Garlic Hot sauce and the many varieties of Tabasco.

                                                  -- For the easy version, use three 17 oz. cans of Blue Runner Creole Style Red Beans in the place of the uncooked kidney beans. This will let you skip the “soaking” step and speed up the entire process. You can make pretty good red beans and rice in about an hour by using the canned beans.
                                                  -- RE: Adding salt. Ham hocks are salted then smoked and can add a considerable amount of salt to the dish, and may not require any further salt to be added. Be VERY careful not to oversalt; you may already have enough.

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: UptownKevin

                                                    Thanks for the recipe Kevin. Not from NOLA but my wife's mother's family is from there.

                                                    I make mine similar to yours except my wife will not eat pork products so it's smoked turkey sausage. I cooked a bag of dried red beans yesterday in anticipation of making red beans and rice this week. TImely post.

                                                    1. re: UptownKevin

                                                      This was a great guide for me tonight. I had some extra cooked kidney beans on hand from chili last night. No ham hock or sausage.

                                                      But I threw together bacon, green and orange bell pepper, onion, cayenne, toasted paprika, arbol chile, oregano, cilantro, scallion, red beans, brown rice. While not authentic, it was ridiculously good. Lovely heat.

                                                      Sometime soon I intend to try your recipe straight up.

                                                    2. Are you soaking the beans before cooking? Of course most people do, and they lose significant color to the water. But I agree with the poster who said, if it tastes good, who cares?

                                                      1. I am a New Orleans native and I have never used tomato paste in my red beans and rice. I can't find Camelia beans where I live, so I just use whatever brand of dry red kidney beans that I can find. I recall seeing a recipe that called for a little worcestershire sauce for a richer color, but I've never tried it. My method is very simple...Put beans, diced onion, celery and bell pepper in the pot. Cover with 8 cups water, bring to a boil and simmer for about 2 hrs. I add in the sausage later and season to taste with salt, pepper and cayenne and Crystal hot sauce. Enjoy!

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: NAWLINSGAL

                                                          I am not a NOLA native, but I have spent a lot of time working on my recipe to make it tasty, heh.

                                                          I brown off andouille links in some vegetable oil, then pull them out and let them rest (I slice it up later) while I add in the onion/celery/bell pepper. I usually add a bit of garlic if I have some around. I let them soften up, then add the beans, stock , and then some beer. (again, not traditional, but I like the additional flavor)

                                                          I bring it to a boil, let it simmer party covered for an hour or two, mash up enough of the beans to get it ready to thicken, bring back to a boil and then back down to a simmer (it seems to thicken better that way), and then add the sausage back in, along with salt, pepper, cayenne & a bit of chili powder and paprika, and then some Frank's hot sauce. Stir it all together, dump it on some rice, and voila. :D

                                                        2. I would suspect the use of pinto beans which produce a paler cooked bean that Red Kidney beans. They also have a totally different taste. Kidney Beans are a must for this traditional favorite.

                                                          And red (kidney) beans and rice is a peasant dish - no fancy ingredients or seasonsing. Simply beans, water, onion, garlic, possibly thyme and bell pepper and traditionally with ham (or bacon) for seasoning and if available. If using sausage, fry it off at the end. Adding it while cooking will totally overpower the dish.

                                                          As trentyzan and Nawlinsgal suggested, Camillia brand beans are really fresh which produces a very creamy liquor (bean juice). They're generally only available around southern LA, but can be ordered from: http://www.camelliabeans.com/

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: CocoaNut

                                                            I cook the sausage in my beans and it do not over power the dish. I guess it depends on how much you put in and what kind.


                                                          2. Being a Northern girl I didn't realize I was doing this all wrong but we like it anyway. If we have ham at Christmas, I use up some chunks of it for New Year's Eve along with a package of Aidell's Andouille Sausage taken out of the skin and broken into gobs, along with 4 chopped onions, 1-2 chopped sweet red or green peppers, and YES 16 oz of assorted tomato sauce and tomatoes, plus 1 lb dark red kidney beans simmered 30 minutes, along with the bean liquid. Also salt, 3 or 4 bay leaves, plenty of garlic, and some cayenne pepper. I put all this in the Crock Pot (keep the liquid right up to the top as you will want plenty of gravy) overnight and have it with rice. Color is dark red, flavor is intense.

                                                            1. No tomato, brown the sausage.