Posts Tagged 'Andouille sausage'

Red Beans and Rice

Red beans and rice is the quintessential Louisianan comfort food. Nothing satisfies like steaming bowl of tender flavorful beans over classic white rice.

My uncle makes the best version.  The key is to start with good dried beans.  According to him, the best out there are Camellia Red Kidneys.  It’s the Louisiana brand he has been using his whole life … and the same one my grandmother used when she taught him this recipe oh so many years ago.

Whenever I go to New Orleans, I always pick up a few bags of this iconic dried bean.  I couldn’t imagine making this dish without them.  (If you don’t regularly visit the Big Easy, you can order them on-line.) To be honest though, my preference may be fairly rooted in the nostalgia of using my grandmother’s recipe and I am sure that any good dried red kidney bean would work if you don’t have easy access to the Camellia brand.

The hardest part about this recipe is remembering to soak the beans the night before!  It truly is a simple one to master and destined to become a favorite.


Red Beans and Rice
From Simply Suppers by Jennifer Chandler

1 pound dried red kidney beans, rinsed and sorted over
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup finely diced yellow onion (1 small onion)
1/2 cup seeded and finely diced green bell pepper (1 small pepper)
1/4 cup finely sliced celery (about 1 rib)
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 bay leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 pound smoked ham hock
1/2 pound smoked Andouille sausage, thinly sliced into rounds
10 cups water
6 cups cooked white rice, warm

Place the beans in a large bowl or pot and cover with water by 2 inches. Let soak for 8 hours or overnight. Drain and set aside.

In a large stockpot or Dutch oven, warm the oil until a few droplets of water sizzle when carefully sprinkled in the pot. Add the onion, bell pepper, celery, and garlic and cook until the vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the parsley, oregano, thyme, and bay leaves. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the ham hock and sausage and cook, stirring, to brown the ham hocks and sausage, about 4 minutes. Add the beans and water.

Over high heat, bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the beans are tender, about 1 1/2 hours. Add additional water while cooking if necessary.

Remove the ham hock from the pot and pull the meat from the bones. Roughly chop the meat and return it back to the pot of beans. Adjust seasonings as needed. Discard the bay leaves. Spoon over white rice to serve.

Serves 6.

Cooking Tip: Add Tabasco® or your favorite hot sauce for a little heat.

Do-Ahead: Cooked red beans store very well in the refrigerator. Some even say they taste better the second day!

Crawfish Boil

Peel ‘um, Eat ‘um and Suck the Heads!

Crawfish is probably the one ingredient that most Americans associate with Cajun cooking. Once deemed a poor man’s food from the swamp waters of Southern Louisiana, these little lobster-like crustaceans were a treat that local fisherman enjoyed only at home.  It wasn’t until they were specially featured at the Breaux Bridge Centennial Celebration in the early 1960s that crawfish gained widespread social acceptance. Once the world discovered the sweet, tasty meat of the so nicknamed “mudbug,” they started showing up not only in backyard boiling pots but also on restaurant tables.  Due to their rise in popularity, crawfish are now commercially farmed throughout the South.

Crawfish boils where guests “peel ‘um, eat ‘um and suck the heads” are one of the most popular ways to enjoy this Cajun treat. Live crawfish are boiled in a spicy mixture of garlic, onions, corn cobs, new potatoes and the all important cayenne pepper. The finished product is dumped on a platter or a table covered with newspaper and guests eat the tasty meat of the crawfish tails and then suck the spicy juices from the head.

Crawfish season runs roughly from Mardi Gras (mid-February) through June.  Call your local seafood wholesaler or ask your grocer’s seafood manager to order it for you in advance.

Don’t let crawfish season pass you by without “sucking the head and eating the tail” of at least one (or in my case several dozen) mudbugs!


Crawfish Boil

Serves 15 to 20

30 pounds live crawfish (one sack)
2 cups salt for purging
2 (3 oz.) boxes crab boil seasoning
10 small onions, peeled and halved
2 pounds sliced Andouille sausage
5 pounds small red or new potatoes, unpeeled
4 heads garlic, sliced in half
10 ears of fresh corn-on-the-cob, shucked and broken in halves 

To purge the crawfish, place them in a large plastic tub or a large ice chest and rinse them in enough changes of water for the water to run reasonably clear. Then add more water to cover the crawfish and add 2 cups of salt. Stir for 3 minutes, then rinse crawfish. Keep the cleaned and drained crawfish uncovered until ready to cook.

Fill a large 18 to 20 gallon pot three-quarters full.  Add the crab boil seasoning. Cover the pot and bring the water to a boil over high heat. Boil 2 to 3 minutes to allow the spices to mix well.

Using a large wire basket that fits into the pot, add the onions, sausage, potatoes, garlic, and corn. Maintain a boil and cook 10 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Add the crawfish to the wire basket, stirring them a bit.  Cook an additional 7 to 10 minutes, being careful not to overcook the crawfish. Remove the wire basket from pot.

To serve, line a table with newspaper. Lift the basket from the stock and drain. Dump the basket ingredients directly on newspaper.

Note: Be sure to have plenty of paper towels and beer on hand!

Cooking Tip: Leftover crawfish can be peeled and the meat frozen to be later used in dishes such as Crawfish Etouffee, Crawfish Pies, and Seafood Gumbo.

Photo by Natalie Root Photography. Styled by Jennifer Chandler.

Chicken, Shrimp, and Sausage Jambalaya

Serves 6 to 8

3 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound Andouille sausage, diced
1 large yellow onion, finely diced
1 green bell pepper, finely diced
2 ribs of celery, finely diced
6 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme
3 bay leaves
1 15-ounce can tomato sauce
4 cups chicken stock
3 cups white rice
¼ cup chopped parsley
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and de-veined

Season the chicken with salt and pepper. In a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium–high heat, warm the oil until a few droplets of water sizzle in the pot.  Sauté the chicken, stirring occasionally, until nicely browned, about 5 minutes.  Transfer the chicken to a plate and then, in the same pot, sauté the sausage until browned.   Transfer the sausage to the plate with the chicken.  Drain all but about 1 tablespoon of fat from the pot.

To the pot, add the onion, bell pepper and celery and sauté until soft, about 10 minutes. (Stir often so that everything cooks evenly.) Add the garlic, oregano, thyme and bay leaves and sauté until the mixture is cooked down, about 5 minutes more. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

While the vegetable mixture is cooking, combine the tomato sauce and chicken stock in a separate pot and bring to a simmer.

Add the rice to the vegetable mixture and sauté for about 3 minutes. Return the meats to the pot and stir to combine.  Continuously stirring to combine, slowly pour the tomato and stock mixture into the jambalaya.  Stir in the chopped parsley.

Bring the jambalaya to a boil, cover and simmer over medium heat for 30 minutes, or until the rice is tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed. Turn off the heat and fold in the shrimp.  Let everything continue to cook in the hot covered pot for an additional 10 minutes.  Serve warm. 

Cooking Tip: Andouille sausage is a smoked, spicy pork sausage that is popular in Cajun recipes such as gumbo and jambalaya.  If you can’t easily find it in you local grocery, Chorizo is an acceptable substitute.

Jennifer Chandler

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