Popeye’s Red Beans and Rice is one of the restaurant’s most popular side dishes. It pairs well with fried chicken, corn, mashed potatoes, or even by itself in a bowl. Now you can create this same rich Cajun flavor from your own home, and serve it however you like. The recipe we’re sharing below includes ham hocks to give a full flavor to the beans, but the original Popeye’s red beans recipe doesn’t contain any meat. If you’re looking to make a vegetarian version, simply omit the ham hocks and add about 1/4 teaspoon of liquid smoke for that smokey flavor.
This recipe calls for long-grain white rice, but be sure to use high-quality rice. Minute-rice does not work well in this recipe, as it gets clumpy and messy. Be sure when you blend the bean mixture that you only blend it for a few seconds, as you want the liquid to be thick and hearty.
This recipe will yield 10 servings as a side dish. If you’re like me and enjoy a bowl of red beans and rice as a light lunch, it will yield about four or five bowls. I like to garnish mine with cilantro, but it’s not necessary.
Popeye's Red Beans and Rice Recipe
- 3 cans (16-ounce) red kidney beans
- 3/4 pound smoked ham hocks
- 1 1/4 cups water
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp garlic salt
- 1/4 tsp red pepper
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup lard
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 5 cups long-grain white rice, cooked and drained
- First, pour 2 cans of beans (juice and all) into a large saucepan. Add the smoked ham hock and water.
- Then turn the heat on medium-low and stir well to mix all the ingredients. Simmer for about an hour until the meat starts to loosen from the bone.
- Remove the pan from the heat and allow it to cool until the hock is cool enough to be handled.
- Then carefully remove the meat from the bone, and discard the bone. Place the meat, beans, and liquid in a food processor or blender. Add onion powder, garlic salt, red pepper, salt, and lard. Blend on high for a few seconds. The beans should be chopped and the liquid should be thick.
- Drain the third can of beans (discard the liquid), and add the drained beans to the mixture. Process or blend just for a second or two. You want these beans to remain almost whole.
- Then transfer the beans mixture back into the pan and cook slowly over low heat. Stir often to prevent sticking. Cook until the beans are firm, and most of the water has been evaporated, which will be around 15 or 20 minutes.
- Prepare the rice by cooking it according to the directions on the box. Basic directions for rice include boiling water and adding the rice to the water once it begins to boil. Cook the rice until it's tender, then drain well.
- Once the beans and rice are finished cooking, remove them both from the heat. Serve the bean mixture over the cooked rice in a bowl.
- To make this recipe a vegetarian option, simply omit the ham hocks and add about 1/4 teaspoon of liquid smoke.
- Be sure to use high-quality long-grained rice, not Minute rice for this recipe.