Friday, September 7, 2007

Recipe: Cajun-style rice

Here's a quick recipe that I make sometimes when I have to work on-site, on the other side of town. It's delicious and very easy to make.

-3 tsp of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
-Half an onion(although I prefer Shallots), finely diced.
-One Red or Green Bell Pepper, diced.
-2 cloves of Garlic, minced.
-1 package of Andouille Chicken Sausage, chopped on the bias into half inch pieces. This particular kind happens to be GF and you can get it at Trader Joe's.
-4 cups of leftover rice.
-Sea salt and pepper to taste.
-Italian parsley for garnish. A few pinches of freshly chopped will do just fine. I didn't have any this time, but that doesn't mean that you can't use it, right?


I love Cajun food. I've made Dirty Rice countless times and knowing the flavors and ingredients that are in Dirty Rice helped me think of this recipe on the fly when I got home at night with nothing to bring for lunch the following day. So, here we go.

-Do all of your prep work for the onion, garlic and red bell pepper FIRST. Mise en place, baby, mise en place.

-Turn the burner to medium high heat with a large skillet, put the olive oil in and when the oil is hot, add the garlic, red bell peppers and onion. Season very lightly with sea salt. Cook a few minutes until onions start to get some color. The redness of the bell peppers will also start to seep out into your onions and garlic, giving it a nice, reddish-golden color. You don't have to worry about the garlic burning because all of that moisture that are in the peppers will get drawn out and you shouldn't be burning your garlic to a crisp anyways.



-Add the Andouille sausage. Why add the sausage now even if it's already cooked? Well, I want to render the fat out of the sausage into the other ingredients and into the skillet so that the rice can absorb a lot of that flavor. I also want to get some color on the sausage.



-Keep moving everything around so that the sausage does indeed get color. When the sausage is browned to your liking, add the rice. Stir the entire mixture around, making sure that the rice gets completely coated with the juice and brown bits that are on the bottom of the skillet. We actually had leftover Sushi rice(Short grain) that we had made that morning, so the rice was more moist than if I had done it with day-old rice. Cook 7-10 more minutes after adding rice, stirring every few minutes.



-Remove from heat and sprinkle the chopped Parsley on top.

I really liked the texture of the rice like that because it absorbed all of the flavors that were in the skillet. It was really tasty while hot and the rice was even moist when it had been refrigerated overnight.

I also didn't add very much salt or pepper at all because you have to remember that the Andouille sausage is already packed full of spices. Taste when done and adjust seasoning accordingly.




Yes, it sure was tasty.

There's a dinner party we're going to tomorrow night and I nailed down the 2 items that we're going to bring that'll showcase some of Summer's best.

-W

P.S. Don't mind Wes and his fancy chef terms like "render out" and "mise en place."
In his spare time he likes to pretend he's a chef, hahaha and probably just acquired that vocabulary from extensive watching of the food network. I myself never heard of the term mis en place until watching Top Chef. Apparently it is a french term and is pronounced Meez ahn plahs. It means "setting in place" and just means preparing everything before you start cooking.
-J

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