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Jan 9, 2012 01:46 PM

HELP! Red Beans and Rice - Kidney Beans or Red Beans??

This argument seems to be all over the place. I wouldn't dream of using Red Kidney Beans and frankly that recipe from 1900 has Tabasco and I don't recall my g-ma using Tabasco (Louisiana Hot Sauce maybe). So that's suspect on its own. I use small red beans (some now refer to them as adzuki) because once soaked, they turn pink and these beans are what become the creamy and smooth red beans we know in traditional red beans and rice. Kidney beans may be used because they're found more easily, but they don't cook the same creamy consistency as small red beans and they don't stand-up to long boiling time but once you've had them, you won't have anything else.

Try both and choose the one that works best, but frankly, I am sticking with my small red beans.

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  1. As would I, being a prescreptivist and all. :) I like the small red beans, whatever the name, in mine. Kidney beans are somehow grainier.

    1. I like kidney beans the least of all beans as I don't find them flavorful, so I use small red beans, or when really not concerned with authenticity, pintos.

      2 Replies
      1. re: magiesmom

        I agree with both of you. Small red beans cream up and become what many know is the true authentic red beans and rice. I think it's an arguement of the ages, just like whether miracle whip goes into southern-style (e.g. not german style) potato salad (to shut up the masses I mix mayo and MW and it comes out just grand).

        1. re: magiesmom

          Yes, me three. I haven't spent time analyzing why but kidneys are never my first choice. I'll eat 'em on salad bar or in some else's chili but don't use them at home.

          For red beans and rice, definitely the small red beans.

        2. Definitely the small red beans you find in the spanish section of the store. My mom was raised in Honduras and we could not get the right beans up here, Mid Atlantic, for years. Now they are widely available, and the difference in taste and texture is discernible. I took some out to Indiana where my 90 yr old mother is, and we made red beans and rice, and fried plantains for her. She was delighted. I'm so glad we don't have to use the black turtle beans anymore.

            1. If you are trying to make Louisiana style red beans and rice, its definitely kidney beans. Ive never seen anyone use anything else in New Orleans.

              5 Replies
              1. re: twyst

                We are in Wisconsin and my wife makes red beans and rice about three times a month...trying to instill in her that it should always be Monday...but she refuses to bend to tradition.

                All that said, when I bought her a gag gift of 20# of Camelia brand red beans...the results were dramatically improved over her use of "small kidney beans".

                I had HEARD that Camelia was the way to go, was skeptical...should NOT have been skeptical.

                1. re: Monch

                  Yep. Camelia Red Kidney beans are definitely where its at.

                  As for her not cooking them on monday's, keep working on her and hopefully she will give in. Its such a great tradition!

                  1. re: twyst

                    Camellia here also. I've had other beans, but for New Orleans red beans and rice, it needs to be Camellia brand. They are the creamiest without a doubt. We have to bring them back to NC when we visit the Gulf Coast (home). We always eat our red beans on Monday. Of course, if there's leftovers, I'll eat them later in the week too.

                    1. re: rouxqueen

                      Nice to see the radification.

                      You should have seen my wife's eyes when she opened this 20# box that had been under the Christmas tree for days!

                      Two things saved me from dire scorn:
                      1) The jewelry that FOLLOWED the beans
                      2) The noticable improvement in her RB&R!

                    2. re: twyst

                      For the record, I have her at about 80%.

                      We even have a little hand-painted wall-hanging that we purchased on Magazine:

                      A depiction of one red bean:
                      "This is a bean; It is a red one; We eat them on Mondays; Thank You"

                      She saw it and had to have it.

                      Whenever we have non-Monday beans, I rave about the flavor AND tap the wall hanging.