Red Beans and Rice is a regular weekly meal in our house. We make a big batch about once a month then break it down and freeze it for quick microwave meals.
We’ve taken our regular red beans and rice recipe and reworked it to reduce the quantity and to make it easy to cook in your dutch oven at your campsite.
We’ve rated this recipe as MODERATE due to having several steps and the need to cook at different temperatures. There is also a bit of active time.
The recipe looks complicated because it has a lot of steps, but really all you’re doing is adding ingredients, stirring, adding chicken broth, stirring until it evaporates, then repeating with the next ingredient.
It is absolutely worth doing this process though. You could just throw all the ingredients in a pot and boil it, but it wouldn’t taste anywhere near as good.
We use a technique in this recipe of reducing the liquid to “au sec”. In the culinary arts, this term refers to reducing the liquid until its almost dry. Au sec means “nearly dry” in French. Makes sense, right?
By doing this with the chicken broth, we are concentrating the flavors in our red beans and rice and caramelizing the ingredients. It adds a level of complexity that the ingredients alone couldn’t add.
One thing that you will need to be careful of is that different brands of chicken broth have different quantities of salt.
When reducing liquids, the water evaporates, but the salt doesn’t. As you reduce more and more liquid, the dish becomes saltier and saltier. In the case of this recipe, it is better to buy low sodium chicken broth and add salt later.
You should be just fine with regular chicken broth, but better safe than sorry. You can always add more salt if there isn’t enough, but you can’t unsalt a dish.
This is why we only add salt at the end of the recipe when we taste, then season with more only if it needs it.
Don’t forget your rice. Although it’s not as good as regular rice, we recommend using parboiled rice, like Minute Rice, at the campsite. All you have to do is bring a pot of water to a boil, throw in the rice, stir, take it off the heat, and wait five minutes.
Explore more dutch oven camping recipes.
The primary reason we make our own Cajun seasoning is that the store bought stuff is loaded with salt. Seasoning with salt and spices should be done separately or you’ll end up over-salting or under spicing.
- 3 tablespoons regular chili powder (McCormick’s Dark is good)
- 2 tablespoons paprika
- 1 tablespoon white pepper
- 1 tablespoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
- 2 teaspoons chipotle chili powder
Just mix it all together and put it into a resealable container.
This recipe can be a bit spicy. If you like, you can adjust the heat down by reducing the amount of cayenne or even substituting additional regular chili powder for the chipotle chili powder.
Dutch Oven Red Beans and Rice
- 1 lb. Smoked sausage – (diced)
- 1 med. Yellow onion – (diced small)
- 1 Bell pepper – (diced small)
- 1 Jalapeno – (seeded and diced small)
- 1 bunch Green onions – (minced)
- 2 Celery ribs – (diced small)
- 1 1/2 tsp. Cajun seasoning – (see above)
- 4 Bay leaves
- 1 tsp. Dried oregano
- 1 tbs. Tomato paste
- 1 tbs. Vegetable oil
- 5 cups Chicken stock – (low sodium is best)
- 2 tbs. Butter
- 6 cloves Garlic – (minced)
- 3 15 oz. cans Red kidney beans – (drained)
- Salt – (to taste)
Before You Leave Home
- Dice sausage into 1/2 inch cubes. Put into a separate zip-top bag or container.
- Dice onion and put into a separate zip-top bag or container.
- Dice bell pepper, jalapeno, green onions, and celery. Combine with cajun seasoning, bay leaves, oregano, and tomato paste. Put into a separate zip-top bag or container.
At the Campsite
- Set up your dutch oven for frying at about 375 degrees (about 14 charcoal briquettes underneath in a 12-inch dutch oven).
- Add oil to your dutch oven and heat until a droplet of water sizzles and pops when dropped in.
- Add sausage and sear, stirring frequently. When sausage starts sticking to the bottom of the dutch oven, add 1/4 cup of chicken stock, stirring to remove stuck-on bits off the bottom of the pot (called deglazing). Cook until the stock is evaporated.
- Transfer sausage to a plate or bowl.
- Add butter to the dutch oven. Once melted, add the onion. Cook for approximately 10 minutes. When it starts to stick, add 1/4 cup of chicken stock. Reduce until the dutch oven is nearly dry again (in the culinary arts, this is called au sec, which means "nearly dry" in French).
- When the dutch oven is nearly dry again, add 1/2 cup of chicken stock. When it's almost gone, add packet you prepared with the bell peppers, jalapeno, green onions, celery, spice mix, bay leaves, oregano, and tomato paste.
- When the dutch oven is almost dry, add 1/4 cup of chicken stock. Reduce until nearly dry again.
- Add garlic and cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly.
- Return the sausage to the dutch oven and add the remaining broth.
- Reduce the amount of charcoal underneath your dutch oven to maintain a low simmer. (7-8 briquettes for a 12-inch dutch oven)
- Cook at a low simmer with the lid slightly ajar for 45 minutes.
- Add beans, cover and simmer for an additional 15 minutes.
- Mash a few beans up against the inside of the dutch oven, stir and simmer for another few minutes.
- Taste for salt. Add more if needed.