This is Marie, contributing an article about a meal I cooked. Every once in a while I get the subtle hints my husband throws my way (read “constant peppering with e-mails about new recipes”) and make something in a spicier vein than usual. Although I do generally still wind up watching him put half a container of red pepper flakes on the result, I’m not offended; after all, the base recipe has to be mild enough to share with the toddler.
Anyway, his latest effort to prod me in a Cajun direction called for ingredients I didn’t feel like going out to purchase, so I browsed for a bit and settled on a recipe by Emeril. The original version can be found at the Food Network site (8/17: since deleted), and my take is listed below.
12 medium shrimp, peeled, deveined and chopped
4 ounces chicken, diced
1 tablespoon Penzeys brand Cajun seasoning
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/4 cup chopped zucchini
2 tablespoons chopped garlic (from four small cloves)
1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
3 bay leaves
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon hot sauce
3/4 cup rice
3 cups chicken stock
5 ounces Andouille sausage, sliced (2 sausages, aidell’s brand)
Salt and pepper
In a bowl combine shrimp, chicken and Cajun seasoning, and work in seasoning well. In a large saucepan heat oil over high heat with onion, pepper and zucchini, 3 minutes. Add garlic, tomatoes, bay leaves, Worcestershire and hot sauces. Stir in rice and slowly add broth. Reduce heat to medium and cook until rice absorbs liquid and becomes tender, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. When rice is just tender add shrimp and chicken mixture and sausage. Cook until meat is done, about 10 minutes more. Season to taste with salt, pepper and Cajun seasoning.
Total Time: 50 min
Cook: 35 min
I didn’t change much in the recipe. Celery isn’t yummy so I replaced it with zucchini, and the bell pepper was red instead of green. The biggest change was that although I did line up all the ingredients for Emeril’s Cajun spice mix (see the link at the top), I wound up deciding to go with the Penzeys Cajun mix instead. I’ll probably give Emeril’s mix a stab the next time this recipe comes out, but since it has onion and garlic powder and I had fresh onion and garlic right there, that seemed more compelling. Hardly any changes at all, really.
The shrimp purchase gave me a few twinges of guilt, what with having to choose between the ecological effects of farmed shrimp versus the damage done by catching wild stock, but I had already decided that a Cajun recipe couldn’t reasonably be represented if shrimp weren’t given a temporary pass. The local grocery store’s seafood wrangler talked to me about the various aspects and helped me find some that would do for this recipe. The ingredients in the photo, clockwise from top left and spiraling in: chopped tomatoes, chopped red pepper, chicken and shrimp soaking in the Cajun spice, Aidell’s sausage package (I only used two of the four sausages), garlic cloves, long grain rice, bay leaves, chopped onion, and last chopped zucchini in the black bowl.
Aidell’s Andouille is a really good brand, by the way; they use all-natural ingredients, real pork casings, and most of their products don’t even use nitrates. I wish I’d known that when I was pregnant and jonesing for forbidden sausages because of my self-imposed nitrate ban. It was really the only commercially available brand that could be considered for this project. If your store stocks it, definitely give it a try.
This is really a fairly forgiving recipe. It survived constant interruptions by a toddler who thinks he wants to help cook. I added a little more olive oil to help cook the chicken and shrimp, pushing the rice mixture aside to leave some of the bottom of the pan clear and turning up the heat for a short time so the meat could pick up a little bit of a sear. It made a fairly substantial amount of food that easily stretched to leftovers. And despite the shrimp, it reheated well.
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