Monday, February 08, 2010

Slow Cooker Recipe for Louisiana-Style Red Beans and Rice

Louisiana-Style Red Beans and RiceI first went to New Orleans sometime in the early 1990s, attending the National Education Association Representative Assembly, representing my local teacher's association. Of course, I was captivated by the food, and I tried so many things that I'd never eaten before. I went back to New Orleans several more times for meetings, and one dish I always sampled whenever I saw it on the menu was Red Beans and Rice, which I came to realize was one of those dishes that every Louisiana cook has their own version of.

After one of my visits to New Orleans, I started experimenting until I came up with my own version of Louisiana Style Red Beans and Rice, and it's one of those recipes that has evolved through the years. For whatever reason, I woke up on the morning of Superbowl Sunday and decided to make some Red Beans and Rice to take to my brother Mark's Superbowl party, along with other foods I'd already been planning to make. Even if you're a disgruntled Colts fan, there's something comforting about this dish, where long-cooked creamy beans are topped with a scoop of rice, and it's a perfect side dish for so many foods.

I used dried red beans which I cooked in the pressure cooker to make this, but you can also cook the beans on top of the stove, or use canned red beans if you prefer.

If you're cooking beans in the pressure cooker or in a pot on the stove, let them get fairly soft, then drain well. If you use canned beans, I'd rinse them and drain well too.

I usually make this with lean ham, but I couldn't resisit using these Louisiana Hot Sausages I found in the freezer. (Lean ham is definitely more South Beach diet friendly for this recipe.)

Whichever type of meat you use, you need about 3 cups of diced sausage or ham. Cut it into pieces which aren't too much bigger than the cooked beans.

Dice a large onion into small pieces and saute in olive oil for about 5 minutes, until the onion is starting to brown, then add minced garlic and cooked about 1 minute more.

Then add Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning (or other Creole seasoning of your choice), dried thyme, and dried oregano and saute the spices and herbs for 1-2 minutes more. Add the onion mixture to the crockpot.

Then add the cooked beans, diced sausage or ham, chicken stock, Worcestershire sauce, Green Tabasco (or red Tabasco), bay leaves, and a touch of red wine vinegar. Let this cook on high for 4-8 hours, until the beans are dissolved as much as you prefer.

I suppose it's a personal preference, but I like to cook this until the beans are at least 3/4 broken apart and dissolved into the liquid. Serve hot, with a scoop of cooked Uncle Bean's Converted Rice on top of the beans.

Louisiana-Style Red Beans and Rice
(Makes about 6 servings, recipe created by Kalyn with inspiration from many visits to New Orleans through the years.)

I used a 3.5 quart slow cooker to make this, but a slightly smaller 3 quart size would work. This freezes well, so you might want to double the recipe and use a larger crockpot.

1 large onion, diced small
2-3 tsp. olive oil
1 T minced garlic
1 T Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning (or other Creole seasoning of your choice)
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. dried oregano
salt and black pepper to taste (I didn't use salt because the Tony Chachere's seasoning has salt, and I only used a little bit of pepper)
4 cups cooked small red beans (or use 3 cans red beans, rinsed and drained and add 1/2 cup more chicken stock)
3 cups diced lean ham or Louisiana Hot Sausages (dice into pieces about the size of the cooked beans)
3 cups homemade chicken stock or canned chicken broth
1 T Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. Green Tabasco Sauce (or use a smaller amount of red Tobasco)
2-3 bay leaves
1 tsp. red wine vinegar

3 cups cooked white rice for serving (Use Uncle Bean's Converted Rice for South Beach Diet.)

If using dried beans, soak overnight and cook on stove until they are fairly soft, or cook in pressure cooker about 25 minutes. Drain beans. If using canned beans, rinse with cold water until no more foam appears, then drain.

Cut ham or sausage into small pieces, about the size of cooked beans.

Heat olive oil in a heavy frying pan, then saute diced onion about 5 minutes, or until onion starts to brown. Add garlic and saute 1 minute, then add Creole Seasoning, dried thyme, and dried oregano and saute 1-2 minutes more.

Put onion mixture into small crockpot. Add cooked beans and diced ham or sausage. Add stock, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco sauce, bay leaves, and red wine vinegar, and stir to combine.

Cook on high for 4-8 hours, until the beans are dissolved as much as you prefer. I like this best when the beans are at least 3/4 broken apart and dissolved into the liquid. Canned beans are usually softer and will break apart more quickly.

Serve hot, topped with white rice. In New Orleans this is usually served in a bowl filled about 2/3 full of the soupy bean mixture, then topped with a scoop of rice.

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South Beach Suggestions:
With a small serving of beans and using Uncle Bean's Converted Rice, this would be a good side dish for phase 2 or 3 of the South Beach Diet. (You could have a larger serving for phase 3.) Uncle Ben's Converted Rice is par-boiled, which makes it the most low-glycemic type of white rice.


More Recipes with Beans and Rice:
(Recipes from other blogs may not always be South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)
Black Bean and Rice Soup with Lime and Cilantro from Kalyn's Kitchen
Black Bean, Rice, and Cilantro Salad from Kalyn's Kitchen
Real Louisiana Red Beans and Rice from Fat Free Vegan Kitchen
Slow Cooker Cuban Style Black Beans and Rice from Andrea Meyers
Saved by Red Beans and Rice from Homesick Texan
Cannellini Beans and Rice from The Amateur Gourmet
Cuban Red Beans and Rice from The Well Seasoned Cook
(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)

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63 comments:

  1. this recipe looks fab! i love the idea of using ham instead of sausage! that's definitely better for the waistline! i'll have to try that some time and save the sausage for a special treat! thanks for sharing this recipe!

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  2. not only does it sound yummy. It looks yummy too.

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  3. I know that most people will already know this but could you use Brown Rice

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  4. Thanks for the nice feedback on this recipe! Rho, it's traditional to serve it with white rice, but you can certainly use brown rice if you prefer (I think it would be great with brown rice!)

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  5. Since we live in Louisiana, we make this quite often. To create that kind of creamy, "cooked all day" texture, I take an immersion blender to it and just pulse a few times -- just enough to break up some of the beans. We also use brown rice exclusively.

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  6. Lindsey, thanks for that tip about the immersion blender! (Now why didn't I think of that!!) Also good to know that brown rice is okay, even for someone who's really from Louisiana!

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  7. I was at the party and LOVED this dish. Thanks Kalyn!

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  8. I made a vegan version of this not too long ago and loved it. I really want to try it with meat! Thanks for the recipe, looks delicious.

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  9. Thanks so much for posting about this, it looks delish! I read about the converted rice, and found your recipe for mexican stuffed peppers, which ironically I was planning on making tonight!My recipe was almost identical to yours! I was planning on leaving the rice out entirely, but I'm now considering using it thanks to your information. Thanks again for the great blog

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  10. Always on the lookout for slow cooker meals - Im in love with mine at the moment. Great recipe

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  11. This looks great! I have a lot of friends from Louisiana and always wanted to make this! I think I pretty much have everything on hand, including andouille chicken sausages, except the red wine vinegar. Would apple cider, balsamic, or rice vinegar work instead? Thanks!

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  12. I always thought red beans and rice had tomato in it, so I've learned something new here today. No tomato. Also, this dish makes yet another reason I'm thinking I must buy a pressure cooker.

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  13. Louisiana style red beans and rice is one of my favorite bean dishes, love all the spices. We also make it with brown rice. I got an electric pressure cooker from Costco last fall, and have really enjoyed using it. Michael wasn't too sure about it at first until he saw how great the beans turned out, then he was sold.

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  14. I've just gotten an electric pressure cooker, so I'm excited about how quickly you can prepare dried beans. This recipe looks great. It's the kind of dish I love as a main course.

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  15. Thanks Kara! Glad you liked it.

    Joanne, you're welcome.

    Izzy, I've been eating the Uncle Ben's rice for years whenever I have a recipe that calls for white rice, and I've been very happy with it.

    Beth, me too on the slow cooker love.

    ~M, the addition of a tiny bit of red wine vinegar was an idea I got from an online recipe I saw somewhere. I'd use apple cider vinegar if you don't have red wine vinegar.

    Lydia, you MUST buy a pressure cooker! Absolutely.

    Andrea, I'm very curious about the electric pressure cooker. Good to hear that you like it.

    TW, me too. This with a salad would make a great dinner for me. Can't wait to see what you do with your electric pressure cooker, and I hear there's a NEW STOVE at your house too! (I'm getting a new stove too, but you beat me.)

    Ed, yes I think this was the traditional Monday dish in New Orleans!

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  16. I made a slow cooker red beans and rice a few months ago, but it didn't turn out nearly has pretty as yours, it was pretty thin and a little more tannish brown. http://epicuretteinnewyork.blogspot.com/2009/08/really-slow-food.html
    I was kinda still learning how to use a crockpot at that point. Maybe I should take another swing at it.

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  17. This looks fabulous. I will have to give it a try. I also like Amy's recipe on the Chicken Chili. I have one similar to that but I use turkey. I like your blog.
    Keep cooking.

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  18. Delicious! I really , really need to get my slow cooker fixed!

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  19. This is one of my absolute favorite bean dishes. Your recipe is very close to mine and it's terrific!

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  20. I am loving Red Beans and Rice. I have a much more labor intensive (3 days to pickle the pork before even starting on the beans). This is a great recipe for a much faster version

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  21. This looks delish! Thank you for sharing.

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  22. This recipe sounds great, especially if you are going to be at work, you can just put it in the slow cooker and leave it on all day.

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  23. We are having Snowmageddon in Ohio today, and the university where I teach is closed. On my way home from the office there this morning (as they closed while I was there!), I stopped and picked up some red beans, 'cause this recipe sounded so good. While at Kroger, I forgot to buy the Creole Seasoning, so I googled "Creole Seasoning Recipe" and took Emeril Lagasse's recipe and made the seasoning according to his ingredients. You ought to take a sniff in my house right now! I just came inside from shoveling, and I about swooned at the scent of those beans in the slow cooker!

    I'm a brown rice user, too, so I'll have my whole grain on top! I think I might even splurge and serve some of Fanny Farmer's recipe for Rich Corn Cake. Oh, the wintry delights!

    Thanks, Kalyn, for sharing this!

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  24. Very, very delicious, Kalyn. Thanks for bringing it to our Super Bowl party along with the fantastic shrimp....Awesome to have your sister be a great cook!!

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  25. Kalyn, this looks and sounds like a winner for winter! I have made a mental note about the recipe.!

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  26. oh wow, such delicious beans and rice recipe! I have never been to New Orleans but I have heard so much about the food there, that I wish some day I get to experience it.

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  27. Thanks for the nice feedback on this everyone, especially Pam, who had it at the party. It's fun having a whole family of good cooks!

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  28. Louisiana style Red Beans and Rice!! Ya baby they are good. Kayln brought them to our Super Bowl party last sunday and I got to keep some leftovers for the next day. Did I mention that I wish I lived closer so I could be the guinea pig taster for my sister Kalyn. Everything I try is really good, and even more healthy. keep on cookin, and I'll keep on tastin!

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  29. Thanks Mark! I wish you lived closer too. I'd love to have you as a permanent taste-tester for blog recipes.

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  30. Thank-you Kalyn,

    This recipe is wonderful. I cooked it up the night after the Super Bowl before we all went and joined more partying down on Bourbon Street. Did you see any of the coverage? It was truly an amazing party on Super Bowl night and it continues to go on and on.

    I will definitely be cooking this up again before long although next time I might try it with brown rice.

    Brilliant, brilliant blog. I've been reading for a while so thought I would finally say hello and leave a message.

    Best wishes
    Pete

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  31. This sounds delicious! I didn't realize you were another NEA-type person. I think I'll make this for Mardi Gras - or just for any day of the week!

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  32. The rice beans and tasty sausage sounds like a good one!

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  33. Thanks for including us in your recipe!

    Cindy Ardoin
    Food Scientist
    Tony Chachere's

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  34. If you have enough crock pots, you can cook the beans and rice in them, separately. Soak the beans overnight, with a teaspoon of salt per quart of water, if you wish. The salt tenderizes the skin. Then cook them for about 8 hours in the crock pot. This is a combination of ideas from Cook's Illustrated and Julia Child "Cooking at Home With Julia and Jacques". For the rice, 1 1/2 cups brown rice, and 2 1/3 cups boiling water. When I did it, it was an hour and forty minutes on high. I got the proportions from Cook's Illustrated, from an oven baked rice recipe. 375 degrees 60-70 minutes tightly covered, in an 8 inch pan.
    I'll have to try this recipe sometime. It looks good.

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  35. Interesting idea to cook the rice and beans in crockpots. (I definitely have enough crock pots!)

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  36. I love this recipe!! I have tried so many red beans and rice recipes and they don't even compare to this one. I've made this meal twice I'm 10 days, soooo good. Very simple recipe and the closest to that 'new orleans' taste out there. I am a southern girl and was in new orleans about 4 weeks ago and had red beans & rice @ acme oyster house. This recipe is very close in taste! I cut my onions and sausage a little bigger, but that's a personal choice. I don't have green tabasco, so I used that red asian chili sauce (can't remember the name).. Anyway, yeah, this recipe rocks & I can't wait to explore more of this site. I've already shared it with my fb friends :)

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  37. Katie, thanks! I was definitely trying to capture that "New Orleans taste" so I'm glad I was able to come close!

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  38. Kayln, you brought back some wonderful memories for me. I visited New Orleans last year (I live in Australia) and I love the people, the food the atmosphere. I have never experience all these things in one spot before. Thanks for the recipes...
    Gary

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  39. My wife is now in New Orleans with the National Education Association.
    She called last night all excited. She ate at Acme restaurant and had a sampling plate of New Orleans food and enjoyed it immensely. She said she was surprised that it wasn't that spicy. She loved the red beans and rice. Gulf food shortage is now hitting the restaurants. The waiter declined an order because they had no oysters and the waiter commented. "Its starting to happen"
    My wife is a Hodag from Wisconsin

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  40. Craig, how fun for your wife to get to sample some of the New Orleans food!

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  41. Looks delicious...just a tip if you have trouble getting your beans soft. I never could no matter how long I cooked them. Turns out it's because I have "hard" tap water. If you add a little baking soda to the water, it does the trick. Night and day difference. Just thought someone else might have the same problem.

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  42. Anonymous, I've heard about using baking soda, thanks for the tip.

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  43. I have been using your recipes for years and never posted a comment, but this week since I have cooked dinners inspired only by your site (and realized you were a teacher like me), I want to say THANK YOU so much for sharing this blog. Some of my favorite dishes come from your site (including the Hungarian Pot Roast with sour cream gravy...YUM). Last night my husband and I fought with a butternut squash and found every minute of prep was worth the yummy roasted goodness with the Moroccan spices. Speaking of my husband, he would ONLY eat gravy smothered and fried southern food before he met me. (Don't get me wrong, I enjoy it, too, every once in a while). Now he specifically asks for your healthy recipes as if we know you personally! "Why don't you make one of Kalyn's dishes?" Today I am trying your red beans and rice... My dad is from Louisiana, and has always set aside some of the freshly chopped onion to put on top for a little crunch, as well as a little shredded cheese and extra tabasco. Thanks again and keep those recipes comin' :) I am sure you have inspired more people than you know.

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  44. Sarah, thanks so much for the nice comments about my blog. Getting a comment like this really makes my day! Love the idea of putting finely chopped onion and cheese on the red beans and rice too.

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  45. I was wondering whether this could this be made vegetarian... Obviously, I could use vegetable stock for the chicken stock, but what about the 3 cups of ham/sausage? Should I change the amounts for the spices? I don't want to use fake meat or tofu and this recipe already contains beans (which I do eat). Thank you!

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  46. Well you can make a dish with red beans and these spices and serve it with rice, but it will not be Louisiana Red Beans and Rice, because that always contains ham or sausage. I'd probably look for a vegetarian bean recipe rather than try to adapt this one, but if you do try this one I would reduce the spices by at least 1/3.

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  47. Muggle, I went to Food Blog Search and entered "vegetarian red beans and rice" and found this recipe. I know this blogger, so I'm guessing it's a good recipe:
    http://blog.fatfreevegan.com/2006/02/real-louisiana-red-beans-and-rice.html

    (And she calls it "Real Louisiana Red Beans and Rice" so what do I know? I've never seen it without meat, but apparently it can be authentic that way.)

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  48. Thank you, thank you! Also, what other recipes do you recommend that could be frozen for later?

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  49. Muggle I usually mention it in the recipe instructions if a recipe freezes well. If you enter "freezes well" into the search bar, you can find those recipes. In general, most of the soup recipes can be frozen.

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  50. Made this today. My mother is from New Orleans and red beans and rice is her "go to" dish on days when lots of family are descending at different times. Hers can be too bland sometimes. Like the spiciness here, but overdid it. Only had red tabasco, and probably didn't reduce the amount enough. Like another poster I made my own Creole Seasoning using a version of Emeril's online recipe. Does anyone know what the green tabasco to red tabasco ratio might be? Will definitely make again, adjusting the heat down a bit.

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  51. Claire, here's what Wikipedia says about the relative spiciness of the various Tabasco sauces:

    "The original red variety of Tabasco pepper sauce measures 2,500-5,000 SCU on the Scoville scale. The habanero sauce is considerably hotter, rating 7,000-8,000 Scoville units. The chipotle sauce adds chipotle pepper to the original sauce, measuring 2,000-2,500. The garlic variety, which blends milder peppers in with the tabasco peppers, rates 1,200-1,800 Scovilles, and the green pepper (jalapeño) sauce is even milder at 600-800 Scovilles. The Sweet and Spicy sauce is the mildest at only 100-600 Scoville units."

    Based on that, the red sauce is considerably hotter than the green! (I was surprised it was so different, even though I knew the red was a lot hotter.)

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  52. I've been making this with chicken sausage and using garlic powder/onion powder/smoked paprika/cayenne for the seasoning blend. It doesn't really seem like a light summer dish, but I love using my crock pot in the summer so the house doesn't get so hot. Great recipe!

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  53. Julie, that sounds good. I'd love chicken sausage in this. And to me it would sound good any time of year (as long as I'm in the air-conditioned house.)

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  54. Just made this for dinner and it turned out delicious! I used kielbasa since that is what I had in the freezer. This will definately become part of the dinner rotation. I just wish I had made a double batch so we would have had more leftovers.

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  55. Jill, so glad you enjoyed it!

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  56. Just loved this - thank you! I didn't have quite the right amount of hot sausage and had a cooked chicken breast waiting to be used up, so I chopped it fine and added it. It didn't detract from the flavor at all and the slight variation in texture between that, the sausage and the beans turned out quite nicely. I also didn't want to use any rice so I subbed in riced-cauliflower stir fry. Very very good, amazing flavor, and I'll definitely make again. Thanks so much!

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  57. McGirl, so glad you enjoyed it. Your adaptions sound great!

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  58. Olive oil is not a high heat oil. You should never cook with it. Coconut oil is a better option.

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  59. Barb, I don't believe a high smoke point oil is needed for sauteeing onions, and I prefer the flavor of olive oil in a dish like this. However, if you prefer coconut oil, then by all means that's what you should use.

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  60. Hi Kalyn,
    I am excited to try this recipe tonight. I have a quick question-the sausage I bought isn't pre cooked, and I realize doesn't look the hot links on the blog. Should I cook the sausages in advance at all, or can they be diced and put straight into the crockpot to be cooked? I ask because in some slow cooker recipes that I've used, the sausage needs to be cooked first.

    Thanks!
    Vanassa

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Thanks for joining the conversation! I love hearing from readers and even though I can't always reply to every comment, I will always answer specific questions on a recipe as soon as possible. Sometimes I'm answering by iPhone, so my replies may be short!

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