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I am preparing to make RB&R in my slow cooker today. It seems easy enough...cut everything up, toss in with beans, broth and spices, turn on, go take a nap. But someone mentioned I might want/need to cook some of the vegetables (onion, green peppers, celery) or brown the sausage (for flavor/texture, I guess) first. I am aware of the chemistry involved in a Maillard reaction so no need to expound on that...

Also, now that I am typing/thinking about it, is there an order/timing involved with adding vegetables? I know that cooking celery (a stem vegetable) too long often leaves it more mushy than other vegetables like carrots and potatoes (e.g. root vegetables).

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You can, indeed, throw everything together in a slow cooker and call it a dish; I've had potluck red-beans-and-rice in Storyville (New Orleans) that was made just like this. However, it's not ideal for flavor.

First, the beans take longer to cook than either the rice or the vegetables, so it makes sense to par-cook them before you add anything else, lest the rice get mushy. Also, you're missing a lot of flavor that way. The best RB&R is made by first frying the sausage to render out its fat, and then browning the vegetables in that fat.

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  • I can see that your link refers to a specific recipe on the foodnetwork but for me it just redirects me to the main site.
    – quarague
    Apr 8 at 8:33
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    Oh, they seem to have taken the recipe down. Odd. Replaced it with an inferior recipe, that still demonstrates the named technique.
    – FuzzyChef
    Apr 8 at 20:47
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I wouldn’t recommend doing this, but not because of the vegetables … because of the beans.

You need to boil red beans for a few minutes to denature the lectin in them, which is mildly toxic. (It will make you sick, but probably won’t kill you)

https://www.foodsafetynews.com/2021/05/how-to-avoid-poisoning-from-red-beans/

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    ...and a slow cooker with the lid on boils, so your point is...?
    – Ecnerwal
    Apr 3 at 17:41
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    @Ecnerwal it might boil, if you have it set to high, and you haven’t overloaded it. It’s not guaranteed to boil, and it may take an hour or longer to come to a boil if the pot is very full with liquid. Many people use slow cookers on ‘low’ because it will give a better result for many meats, and because it allows them to set everything up in the morning before work, then come home and it’s not over cooked.
    – Joe
    Apr 3 at 17:54
  • Also, cooking the beans below a boil increases the toxicity. See cooking.stackexchange.com/a/90850/67
    – Joe
    Apr 3 at 17:57
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    Red beans are not the same as kidney beans. The standard for Red Beans and rice are a small red bean, which has a much lower lectin content than kidney beans and doesn't have the same cooking issues.
    – FuzzyChef
    Apr 3 at 20:46
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    @Joe the post you link doesn't support that statement. The main text repeats it from other sites, but cautions that it's unsupported; the comment discussion concludes that it's untrue. Following the sources in the paper linked in the comments leads to ift.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/…, whose abstract says that cooking beans at 82 C for 160 min deactivates the toxins.
    – rumtscho
    Apr 4 at 10:42

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