In traditional recipes, long slow cooking breaks down the beans and gives them their creamy texture. I shorten that cooking time by using pre-cooked red beans and pureeing half of them in the food processor. The food processor also shortens the time it takes to chop the vegetables that give New Orleans red beans their characteristic flavor.
Begin heating a large, non-stick pot over medium-high heat as you use the food processor to chop the vegetables:
Cut the onion into quarters and pulse it in the food processor to mince; add it to the heated pan. Cut the pepper into quarters and chop it finely in the processor; add it to the pan. Cut the celery into 2-inch long pieces and chop it and the garlic in the processor; add it to the pan.
Stir the vegetables well and add 2 tablespoons of water. Cook until soft, about 6-10 minutes.
While the vegetables are cooking, rinse the beans well. Put half of them (1 1/2 cans) into the food processor with half of the can of tomatoes. Process until all the beans are coarsely chopped, just short of pureed.
When the vegetables are soft, stir in the blended beans, remaining whole beans, remaining tomatoes, and all seasonings except smoked salt. Cover tightly, reduce heat to very low, and cook for at least 30 minutes. Stir every 5 or 10 minutes and add water as needed to keep beans moist but not soupy. Like regular red beans, these taste better the longer they cook, so consider 30 minutes the bare minimum and cook them longer if you can, adding water as necessary.
Just before serving, sprinkle with smoked salt or a little Liquid Smoke. Stir well, and serve atop rice with more hot sauce on the table.
Nutrition information excludes salt and rice, uses salted red beans.Most of the sodium is from the beans and fire-roasted tomatoes; using unsalted products will reduce the sodium greatly.Without the rice, the beans are zero points on Weight Watchers Freestyle program.