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Sep 1, 2010 09:33 PM

New Orleans red beans and rice for Shabbat??

I have been trying to duplicate the wonderful red beans and rice we ate at Kosher Cajun in New Orleans. I copied a recipe from someone from Louisiana, bought a kosher version of Louisiana sausage and used a nice fresh bag of dried red beans and onions and it came out tasting like the worst version of refried beans with little pieces of sawdust.

Very expensive sawdust, I might add.

Have any Chowhounds ever managed to make Louisiana style red beans for Shabbat?

Thanks in advance,
So Cal Mother

PS We tried putting hot dogs into cholent once with the same sad result. We hoped it would taste like baked beans and hotdogs and instead it tasted like baked beans and sawdust.

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  1. Were you trying this in a crock pot for lunch, or on the stove for dinner? I would never suggest using rice in a crock pot for shabbat lunch. The rice breaks down too quickly and you're left with burned mush.

    18 Replies
    1. re: avitrek

      It was for lunch. I only did the beans in the crockpot. The rice went on the blech. I have one of those water Un-Blechs, highly recommended!

      1. re: SoCal Mother

        Are they dried beans or fresh beans? Fresh beans should be doable.

        1. re: DeisCane

          Dried beans. When I said fresh I meant that I had a brand new bag, not one that had been sitting around in my kitchen. I have used both canned and also dried red beans in cholent before with no problem. I just couldn't get the Louisiana taste right and the sausage turned into sawdust.

          1. re: SoCal Mother

            I'm a big fan of Emeril's bayou blast, makes a good jambalaya... dud you use neshama sausage?

            1. re: peacepug

              I don't remember. I think we used 999. We can get Neshama but I don't relly like it. I have had this problem both times I tried to put hot dogs in cholent.

              1. re: SoCal Mother

                I'm curious how you've been cooking it. I've uses Neshama sausages in the past and they've worked fine. I haven't used hotdogs, but I have had hotdog cholent which also was fine. Are you maybe cooking it too hot or with too little water?

                1. re: avitrek

                  Well my usual cholent is very hot with a lot of water. That makes everything mushy, which is what we like. When we get it just right there is not much liquid left, but everything is nice and juicy.

                  Our usual is potatoes, flanken, onions, barley and sometimes red beans. I throw that all in a crockpot with cumin and garlic and sometimes a kishka on top and then fill the crockpot with water to the top. We put it on high.

                  So I tried putting dried beans (soaked overnight,) onions and sausage into the crock pot and cooked it the same way.

                  Too hot maybe but not too little water. What made the sausage get so awful? We also once put hot dogs into the standard recipe and they turned into sawdust as well.

                  1. re: SoCal Mother

                    Try putting your crock pot on low. I can't speak to your crock pot, but any crock pot I've tried gets plenty hot on low to cook everything. And when you're talking about it sitting in the pot for 16+ hours you really don't need the extra heat.

                      1. re: SoCal Mother

                        We never use potatoes in our cholent, just beans. Low is the way to go.

                    1. re: SoCal Mother

                      Remember that Hot dogs and non-raw sausage are fully cooked dense foods. They will not stand up too long periods of high heat, thus the sawdust result.

                      If you ever left a hot dog on the bbq too long, it shrivels, wrinkles and tastes dead, the inside retracts from the casing edge and has that sawdust consistency.

                      If you have the ability to get raw kosher sausage, there's a chance it could stand up to all those hours in a crock pot, but not a good idea.

                      With 16 plus hours for cholent, there is no reason to set the crock pot above the lowest setting, especially if using cooked meats (deli).

                      If you desire hot dog style cholent, use the thickest Knockwurst you can find, or kielbasa, it will stand up better to the long cooking. NEVER use packaged hot dogs that are 7 per 12 oz pkg, they will disintegrate/dry out and ruin your cholent.
                      Also, stay away from reduced or low fat versions, turkey or chicken hot dogs the are too len to stand long cooking times.

                      1. re: bagelman01

                        Maybe you should just drop in your hot dogs after breakfast instead of before shabbos starts?

                        1. re: DeisCane

                          Halachically, that would be cooking on Shabbos, which is something most chulent-makers would probably prefer to avoid.

                          1. re: GilaB

                            Thanks, Gila
                            I didn't want to reply as such, as this is a Chowhound, not 'ask the rabbi board.

                            In fact, the cholent could be made without the hot dogs, and if the hot dogs are let to come to room temp, they could be diced and served as a topping to a warm/hot bowl of cholent. As an already cooked product it doesn't present many problems.

                            OTOH---rice does not lend itself to long term cooking in a crockpot

                            1. re: bagelman01

                              Half the point of using hotdogs or sausages is to flavor the rest of the cholent with them. Better to try and adjust heating temperatures instead of adding them at the end.

                            2. re: GilaB

                              If they're already cooked (which is the issue causing the drying out), it's just warming them up, in something that was already on before shabbos began.

                              1. re: DeisCane

                                This is getting to be more of a diversion than is appropriate here, but to quote the Star-K (just the first authority that came up on Googling, but this is a universal idea):
                                What Do We Call Cooking?
                                The Torah's prohibition of cooking is not restricted to placing raw food on a flame and bringing it to a boil. Heating foods to a temperature that is defined in the Talmud's terms as yad soledes bo (approximately 120° F), is enough to constitute cooking. Even where one intends on warming to a degree that is less than yad soledes, it is prohibited to place food to be warmed on or into a heat source that is hotter than yad soledes because one may forget and leave it until it is actually hot.
                                Taken from here:

                2. re: SoCal Mother

                  The sausage turned to sawdust? Oh, I thought you meant the beans did.

          2. Well, I can't speak to the kosher part since I'm not Jewish but, I can speak to the red beans and rice part since I am a RB&R junkie, I'd definitely give you the following advice:

            1. Cook the rice and beans seperately. Red beans are served on top of rice not typically cooked together.
            * So if you are doing the beans in a slow cooker so as to not be cooking on the Sabbath, have the rice already prepared and refrigeraged, add right around the time you add the sausage if that's OK. Or you can simply bring them both to room temp and serve the beans on top of both. Not optimal but it can be done. Or if you have a timer based rice cooker you can set that to have the rice ready at the same time as the beans. If adding the sausage to the beans counts as cooking, then you'd still need to just let them come to room temp and serve the hot rice and beans with them. I'm sure you are far better than I am at working out the logistics of Shabbat cooking.
            2. Add the sausage or meat at the last minute and heat only until hot through. No sausage can take the long heat of the bean cooking. Also traditional for non-kosher red beans is pickled pork so you could definitely substitute another picked kosher meat or corned meat, like a brisket. Small pieces, added, again at the last minute or they should be sturdy, the sausage or meat should have a bit of bite or snap to them.
            3. Be sure you are using plenty of seasoning: salt, thyme, bay, garlic and cayenne pepper - it will "fade" over the long slow cooking.
            4. You will want to add some vineagar if you use suasage to get the "right" flavor especially if you don't use Tabasco.
            5. Tabasco is kosher so you definitely will want to use it as a table seasoning
            6. Don't leave out the "trinity" - onion, bell bepper and celery, it will affect your final taste outcome and again, the flavors will fad so use at least as much as is called for.
            7. Need a recipe, look for a good vegetarian one
            8. For a good creole seasoning blend, google creole seasoning blend, I like this one:
   I think it's kosher and I know Tony Chachere's is not.
            A good seasoning it will also help cajun up your red beans and rice and anything else you want to start experiementing with. Like Chicken creole, Jambalaya with kosher sausage, kosher gumbo made with chicken, turkey or fish instead of shrimp or crawdads.

            Good luck!

            1. Thanks everyone! So the trick is:
              1. Make sure I have the correct spices and use more of them.
              I have a bottle of Crystal, which is what they served at the restaurant.
              2. Don't cook it too high. (Mistake I made last time.)
              3. Put the rice and the sausage/hot dogs on the water blech in the morning instead of trying to cook it all together. (I cooked the sausage in the crockpot last time.)
              4. Bell peppers. (Well it took me a while to get the trinity part...)


              4 Replies
              1. re: SoCal Mother

                remember to ask your competent halachic authority whether one can rely on the water blech....since if you are haredi , you can't....

                1. re: lacosta

                  Whatever you mean by "haredi," it's not like being Sefardi, where there are halachot that apply to the whole group. With a kedeira blech (unblech, water blech, etc.), some authorities permit it and some don't, but to say no "haredi" authorities permit it is ridiculous.

                  1. re: queenscook

                    which haredi posek currently allows it?

                    1. re: lacosta

                      A) "Haredi" is a totally non-halachic, subjective term
                      B) This has nothing to do with kosher "chow" and is out of place here.