It’s week sixteen (not 17 as I originally posted) of my Sol to Seed Farm CSA share, and in TWO weeks we’re done for the season. I’m getting quite a nice collection of winter squash that I’m using as fall ornaments until I’m ready to cook them. This week’s box included:
It’s been one week since I returned from a short trip to New Mexico where I ate my fill of Northern New Mexican food: green chile rellenos, sopapillas, rice and beans. By the time Wednesday rolled around, I was craving the flavors of Louisiana, on the opposite side of Texas from New Mexico. I had a green bell pepper left over from a previous CSA share and plenty of onions so I had 2 of the 3 ingredients for Louisiana’s “Holy Trinity” – a mixture of sauteed onions, bell peppers and celery – the base for many savory Cajun dishes such as Gumbo and Jambalaya. I had some chorizo from Link Lab Artisan Meats in the freezer but no tasso or andouille sausage, so I made a simple sausage and rice dish and it was delicious and satisfying. This recipe isn’t authentic, but it satisfied a craving nonetheless. It was simple and quick to make using several ingredients from my CSA share and other pantry staples. Nothing fancy here- this is just a good weeknight meal.
Cajun-Inspired Sausage and Rice
- 1 medium onion, peeled and diced
- 1-2 Bell or sweet peppers (green or yellow), halved, seeded, cored and diced
- 2 celery ribs, diced
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 lb. sausage (links or bulk) preferably andouille, tasso or chorizo ( I use Link Lab because they source humanely raised meats from local farms and maintain a small scale, very high quality, USDA inspected facility)
- 1 cup white long grain rice
- 2 cups vegetable or chicken stock
- 1 teaspoon cayenne
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- sea salt and plenty of freshly ground pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley
- Louisiana hot sauce such as Crystal, Red Devil or Tabasco
Heat oil in a large saute pan and add the sausage. Break up the links (if using) with the side of your spoon and keep moving the meat around the pan and cook until browned with some caramelization. Transfer the meat from the pan with a slotted spoon to a paper towel-lined plate and set aside. Add the onions to the pan with the remaining oil and fry for about a minute until translucent. Then add the celery, peppers, garlic and carrots and stir to keep the ingredients from burning and cook until fork tender, about 2-3 minutes. Add the rice then stir to coat and slightly toast the grains. Add the thyme, bay leaf and cayenne pepper and the reserved sausage. Then add the broth, stir once and bring to a boil before lowering the heat and covering for about 25 minutes. Be careful not to scorch the rice.
Fluff the rice with a fork and taste for seasoning before adding salt and plenty of ground black pepper. Remove and discard the bay leaf. Sprinkle chopped parsley over the finished dish and stir to incorporate for color and serve with a green salad. Be sure to keep some good quality Louisiana hot pepper sauce on hand for an extra piquant flavor.
Honestly, I’ve been craving Cajun and Creole food ever since my favorite food truck purveyor Matthew Lewis opened Where Ya At Matt? He has delayed the opening of his new Restaurant Roux all year. Originally it was set to open last spring, then it was August and now it’s set to open this month and we’re still waiting…tick-tock. I also follow food news from Poppy Tooker who just published her new book Louisiana Eats! Poppy has been on the talk show circuit doing cooking demos and making America drool. Enjoy!