Treebeard’s Red Beans & Rice

This is a pretty unappetising photo of the best food I ever made. Really, it is tastey. I promise. Skylar went back for seconds.

I lived in Houston for a couple of years, and this recipe is from my favorite restaurant there. This red beans and rice made me miss a place I never liked that much, and get nostalgic for some of the worst times.


  • 1 lb dried red kidney beans
  • 2 quarts water
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, with leaves, chopped
  • 1/2 large bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons thyme
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons oregano
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 lb smoked sausage, cut in 1/2-inch slices*


  1. Sort and wash red beans. In a large soup pot, add 2 qrts cold water and red beans. Let soak overnight. (To speed up the process, you can bring them to a boil, simmer 2 minutes, remove from heat and let stand 1 hour before the next step.) DO NOT DRAIN WATER!
  2. Add onions, celery, and bell pepper to beans and bring to a boil. Cover, and reduce heat to simmer about 1 1/2 hours, or until beans are soft. DO NOT STIR MORE THAN NECESSARY.
  3. Stir in seasonings and sausage. Simmer 30 minutes more.
  4. Meanwhile cook a pot of rice, and serve the beans over the hot cooked rice, garnished with shredded cheddar cheese and chopped green onion.
  5. Note: Don’t stir more than necessary – you don’t want mushy beans. If you want thicker beans, remove the lid during the last 30 minutes of cooking time, or remove 1/2 cups of the beans and mash them before returning to the pot.

*I don’t eat meat, so I left out the sausage. It was still fabulous.



Filed under Cooking, Freezes well

4 responses to “Treebeard’s Red Beans & Rice

  1. Skylar

    It was amazing baby, and even better tonight as leftovers!

  2. Al Herrmann

    So why, exactly, did Eric N. have to tell me about your new blog?????

    He also told me he made this recipe! But he didn’t measure anything, and there was too much water in the beans, so it was a bit too diluted to be that tasty.

    From my days working there, I know that they cut a few of the sausage into 1/2″ pieces, but they also left a lot at four or five inches, and those were the REALLY tasty ones. Other than Italian sausage, I don’t buy sausage because I know I will be horribly disappointed because it won’t be Treebeards sausage. The best sausage ever.

    Mary, you have NO IDEA how excited I am that you are blogging again! You are such a great writer!!!!!!!!!!


  3. Eric

    Hey I was just about to post that I tried this recipe and Al beat me to it! Thanks for posting this Mary, it was good to try out. I added sausage in the leftovers and the flavors came together better for me then. Next time I will try again by measuring and not so much water. And I agree with Al that it is exciting that you’re blogging as you write great stories.

  4. milkymilk

    Hi Guys!

    Thank you for the sweetness!

    Sorry I’ve been such a slacker about posting lately. My mom was in town, and Harper has been having some sleeping issues. I should be pulling my sh*t together soon…


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