I was clearing the masses of emails out of my personal account recently and noted a foodie email with recipes for Mardi Gras. Mardi Gras already? Really? Not that we ever really have done much to celebrate the holiday, it still was completely off my radar this year. I have been to New Orleans a couple of times, and outside of the seafood, I really enjoy the intense flavors in the food.
Given that much of the authentic Cajun food contains seafood, making non-seafood versions at home is usually my best bet. This recipe comes from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe. It starts with some traditional Cajun ingredients – celery, bell peppers, onion, and garlic, and ends up as a homey, filling, fairly healthy skillet meal. We have a local grocery store that makes their own chicken and pork sausages, so I swapped in crumbled spicy chicken sausage for the sliced sausages. Don’t got light on the Cajun seasoning either. Maybe it is just because we are completely obsessed with it, but I think the Cajun seasoning completely brings this dish together. I added just a little more than called for in the recipe, although it can be varied according to your preference for level of spiciness. Enjoy!
Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya
Adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe
1 lb. spicy chicken sausage, removed from casing, crumbled, and browned (can also use sliced sausage)
1 lb. chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 Tbsp. flour
2 Tbsp. butter
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 ribs celery, chopped
1 medium red or green bell pepper, chopped
1 tsp. dried basil
1/4 tsp. Cajun seasoning (can adjust amounts up or down as desired)
1 (10 oz) can hot diced tomatoes with green chiles (can use mild), undrained
1/2 tsp. sugar
1-1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 cups prepared brown rice
In a large, high-sided skillet or stockpot, cook the sausage and chicken over medium heat until cooked through. Set the meat aside and drain the fat from the skillet if necessary. Melt the butter in the same pot. Stir in the flour and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until the flour starts to brown, about 1 minute. Add the vegetables, basil, Cajun seasoning, diced tomatoes with green chiles, and sugar. Stir well. Bring the mixture to a simmer over low to medium-low heat and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally until the vegetables are slightly tender. Add the sausage and chicken back to the pot, cook for another 10 minutes, stirring as needed. Add the chicken broth and simmer for about 5 additional minutes. Stir in the rice. Can continue to cook for a few minutes to obtain desired texture, if desired.