Instant Pot Red Beans and Rice

It's the season for comfort food, particularly, steamy foods that you can cradle in a bowl. What do you think of when you hear the term comfort food? Maybe it's a tenderly prepared meal or one that cooks low and slow over the stove.
While everyone has their own definitions of comfort food, red beans and rice transcends as one particular dish in the South that revives you after a long day and fills you with warmth, both figuratively and literally. When we need to inspire those warm, fuzzy feelings in a pinch, we reach for a one-pot recipe that comes together on a weeknight. Instant Pot red beans and rice lets you skip soaking dried beans over night and minimizes the entire cooking to one pot. This method, adapted from Sheri Castle's Instantly Southern (Clarkson Potter, 2018), cuts through eight or more hours of prep and cooking time, and gets a warm plate of red beans and rice on the table in two hours, max. Plus, we love giving it an extra kick with Cajun seasoning from Louisiana chef Isaac Toups and Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon Barrel-Aged Pepper Sauce.

 Instant Pot Red Beans and Rice

Instant Pot Red Beans and rice

2 tablespoons Terra Dolce Farms olive oil

1 pound smoked chicken sausage, sliced into 1-inch-thick rounds

2 medium yellow onions, chopped (about 4 cups)


1 small green bell pepper, cored and chopped (about 1 cup)


2 celery stalks, chopped (about ⅔ cup)


6 large garlic cloves, finely chopped


1 tablespoon dried basil


2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning, such as Louisiana Lightning from Isaac Toups 4-Pack Seasonings

½ teaspoon dried sage


½ teaspoon ground black pepper

3 bay leaves


1 pound dried red beans


Carolina Gold rice, scallions, parsley, and Pappy Van Winkle Pepper Sauce for serving

Directions

  1. In a multicooker set to sauté medium, warm oil. Stir in sausage and cook, stirring often, until browned, about 5 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer sausage to a bowl, leaving fat in pot. Stir in onions, bell pepper, and celery. Cook until mixture begins to soften, about 3 minutes. Stir in garlic, basil, Louisiana Lightning seasoning, sage, black pepper, and bay leaves. Cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in beans and 4 cups water.
  2. Cover and cook on high pressure for 40 minutes. Let stand for natural release for 20 minutes, then quick release remaining pressure. If beans are not tender, set multicooker to sauté medium and simmer (uncovered) until they are, 5 to 10 minutes. Set multicooker to keep warm.
  3. Vigorously stir beans until cooking liquid looks creamy. (It’s fine if you crush some of the beans.) Stir in reserved sausage and let stand for 10 minutes. Discard bay leaves. Adjust seasoning and serve hot over Carolina Gold rice with scallions and parsley, with Pappy Van Winkle Pepper Sauce on the side.

Further reading: Southern Comfort in an Instant.