cajun red beans & rice
1 pound dried red kidney beans
1 pound spicy smoked pork sausage such as andouille or kielbasa
2 green bell peppers
2 ribs celery
1 large onion
3 cloves garlic
1 bay leaf
1/2 to 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, to taste
salt & freshly ground black pepper
2 cups long-grain rice
place the beans in a medium saucepan, cover with cold water by 2 inches and place over high heat. boil for 2 minutes, then remove from the heat and let soak for 1 hour.
slice the sausage on a sharp diagonal into 1/2-inch lengths. core the peppers and cut them into 1-inch pieces. dice the celery and rough chop the onion and garlic. add the sausage, all of the vegetables, and the bay leaf to a 6-7 quart slow cooker. drain the beans and add them to the cooker. pour in enough water to just cover the ingredients, about 1-1/2 quarts. cook, covered, on the low setting for about 6 hours until the beans are soft and are starting to break apart. with a large spoon, ladle off and discard some of the liquid if the mixture is too runny; stir the beans, smashing some of them against the side of the cooker insert to thicken the liquid.
season to taste with cayenne, plenty of salt, and black pepper. continue to cook, uncovered, on the high setting for 1 hour.
meanwhile, rinse the rice in several changes of cold water, until the water runs clear. place in a 2-quart saucepan with 2 cups cold water and 1 teaspoon salt. bring to a boil over medium heat, then cover the pot and lower the heat to the lowest possible temperature. simmer for 14 minutes. remove from the heat and fluff the rice with a fork. re-cover the pot and let the rice sit for 5 minutes.
spoon the rice onto serving plates and top with the beans and sausage. serve hot.