Red Beans and Rice With Smoked Turkey Recipe

Photograph: Max Falkowitz

The Louisiana meal of red beans and rice is typically made with pork: smoked, salted, roasted, or pickled. Those all work well in this recipe (a pound of sliced and browned andouille sausage would be our choice), but the beans also shine with smoked turkey. If you don't have leftover smoked turkey, a smoked turkey leg is a good substitute.

Why this recipe works:

  • Salting beans while soaking keeps them intact and better seasoned.
  • Smoked turkey adds meaty depth that complements chicken or turkey stock.

Recipe Facts

Active: 30 mins
Total: 11 hrs
Serves: 6 to 8 servings

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For the beans:

  • 1 pound red kidney beans, rinsed and sorted

  • 6 tablespoons kosher salt, plus more for seasoning

  • 4 quarts water

  • 4 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil

  • 1 large onion, finely chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)

  • 1 green bell pepper, finely chopped (about 1 cup)

  • 2 ribs celery, finely chopped (about 1 cup)

  • 6 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 tablespoons)

  • 1 jalapeño pepper, minced (about 2 tablespoons)

  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves

  • 3 bay leaves

  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • 1 pound pulled or chopped smoked turkey, or 1 smoked turkey leg

  • 8 cups homemade or store-bought low-sodium chicken or turkey stock

  • Freshly ground black pepper

For the rice:

  • 5 cups water

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 2 1/2 cups long grain rice


  1. For the beans: In a large pot or container, combine beans, salt, and water and stir until salt dissolves. Cover and let soak for 8 to 12 hours. Drain soaked beans.

  2. Heat oil in a 5-quart Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion, bell pepper, celery, and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until onions are soft and translucent but not browned, about 7 minutes. Add garlic and jalapeño and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 2 minutes longer.

  3. Add thyme, bay leaves, cayenne, stock, smoked turkey, and beans. Stir to combine. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce to a bare simmer. Cook until beans are very soft but not falling apart, 2 to 3 hours. If using smoked turkey leg, remove it now to let cool slightly, then remove skin and pull meat into fine pieces. Remove Dutch oven lid and increase heat to high. Cook beans at a hard simmer, stirring frequently, until broth is reduced to your liking. Add pulled drumstick meat back to pot if using. Season with salt and pepper.

  4. For the rice: In the last half hour of bean-cooking, bring water and butter to a boil over high heat in a heavy-bottomed pot. Stir in rice, reduce to a bare simmer, and cover. Cook until rice is tender and liquid is fully absorbed, about 20 minutes. Serve beans ladled over a pile of rice.

Special equipment

5-quart Dutch oven with a tight, heavy lid

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Nutrition Facts (per serving)
342 Calories
13g Fat
38g Carbs
18g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6 to 8
Amount per serving
Calories 342
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 13g 17%
Saturated Fat 3g 17%
Cholesterol 43mg 14%
Sodium 1439mg 63%
Total Carbohydrate 38g 14%
Dietary Fiber 5g 18%
Total Sugars 5g
Protein 18g
Vitamin C 26mg 128%
Calcium 94mg 7%
Iron 4mg 22%
Potassium 867mg 18%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)