Instant Pot: Cajun Red Beans & Rice

A popular saying at our house is, 'It isn't a meal unless there's rice.' I'm not sure how it came about but because we're such a rice loving family, we're thankful that there's always some kind of rice dish we can incorporate into our meals. For our Low Country Boil that we had recently, the appropriate rice dish to serve would be this Cajun Red Beans & Rice. Smoked sausage, red beans and the holy 'trinity' of onions, peppers and celery turn plain old rice into a flavorful side dish that can even work well as a main dish too...

When making this dish, I was especially excited to have a reason to purchase a ham hock. This isn't a common ingredient in my kitchen but when I do use it, I know that it will impart some serious flavor in the dish I'm making it in. This recipe was no exception. We really enjoyed this dish because of the flavor it had. Aside from the sausage and the 'holy trinity' of onions, bell peppers and celery, the ham hock gave this a slight smokiness and depth of flavor. You can certainly make the dish without it (if it's an ingredient not commonly found at your local grocery store or butcher) but if omitted, you'll miss out on that special something that makes this dish so delicious.

Cajun Red Beans & Rice
recipe adapted from Closet Cooking

2 tablespoons oil
1/2 pound beef smoked sausage, diced
1 cup onion, diced
1/2 cup celery, diced
1/2 cup green pepper, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups chicken stock
2 (19 ounce) cans red beans (rinsed and drained)
1 ham hock
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 bay leaves
salt and pepper to taste
4 cups cooked rice

In your Instant Pot:

Plug in the IP with insert set in place.

Press SAUTE and add oil and sausage, saute for 3-5 minutes. 

Add the onions, celery and green pepper to the pan and cook until tender, about 7-10 minutes.

Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes.

Add the stock, beans, ham hock, paprika, oregano, thyme, bay leaves, salt and pepper.

Secure the lid of the IP and ensure the valve is set to SEALING.

Press MANUAL and adjust the time to 45 minutes on HIGH pressure.

The display will reflect ON while the IP comes to pressure. Allow a few minutes for your IP to come to pressure.

Once at pressure, the display will reflect 45 (the number of minutes you initially set) and will begin to countdown to 0 minutes.

When the IP beeps after pressure cooking for 45 minutes, allow your IP to naturally release pressure - about 30 minutes. While naturally releasing pressure (also known as NPR or NR), the display will reflect numbers counting up from 1. The numbers indicate how many minutes the IP has stopped cooking since it beeped (or how many minutes it has been naturally releasing pressure).  No need to touch your IP while it naturally releases pressure. The pin at the top of your IP will drop when all pressure has been released and it's safe to open.

Open up your IP when the pin has dropped (allow a few minutes for this to happen).

Remove the ham hock, pull the meat from it, cut it into bite sized pieces and fold it into the cooked rice. Serve hot.

Add the rice to fully combine and serve.

For a freezer meal: Freeze the rice and the red bean/ham hock mixture separately and then warm up & combine when you're ready to serve. You can also wait to make the rice when you're ready to serve rather than freezing.