With Mardi Gras just around the corner I figured it was time to dust off the ol’ beads and bring out the andouille. Now, I haven’t been to New Orleans myself but it’s definitely on my list of places to visit … mostly to eat all of the food I can get my hands on!
None the less, I wanted to do something in the spirit of Mardi Gras while still keeping things light. This is my healthier version of Jambalaya – my tip of the hat to New Orleans!
I cut the fat by substituting this wonderful chicken andouille sausage instead of using traditional andouille sausage (made out of pork and pork fat). I also used brown rice instead of white rice to raise the fiber content.
I thought the dish was delicious with the mingling of spices from the andouille and the fresh shrimp, but if you’re feeling extra inventive you should throw in other lean proteins like chicken breast, turkey sausage, or heck, even some tofu (although not a protein, per se). Just remember that anything labeled “andouille” means that there are a lot of spices (and some heat) in the sausage already. Anything you add outside of that will not contain that well-loved heat that is so characteristic of Cajun food. i.e. taste test and customize!
Here is how you make this surprisingly tasty Jambalaya. This recipe is loosely based on this Pasta Jambalaya recipe and Running Love. Thank you!
First, brown your delicious little sausages.
Then chop your veggies and add those to the pan too. Let those soften a bit before…
…adding your spices, rice and wet ingredients.
Once your rice is cooked, add the shrimp and cook until pink (or until your cooked shrimp is hot). Really easy!
Serve and imagine yourself people watching on a balcony in the French Quarter (that’s what I do).
12 to 16-ounces of chicken andouille sausage, casings removed and sliced into coins (sliced in half again if the coins are large)
4 to 5 scallions, chopped, reserve a couple tablespoons for garnish
1 green bell pepper, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced petite tomatoes, with juice
2 cups low sodium chicken broth (you may need more for simmering)
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 cup brown rice
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon of Cajun seasoning, or to taste
1/2 to 1-pound of uncooked shrimp, cleaned and tails removed (jumbo preferred)
Tabasco, to taste
Lemon wedge, optional
Heat the oil in a very large skillet or large saucepan over medium to medium high heat. Add in your chicken sausage pieces and let them sizzle until they are brown, stirring occasionally. Add the scallions, green pepper, and minced garlic and cook for another 4 or 5 minutes, until the veggies have softened.
Add the tomatoes, chicken broth, Worcestershire sauce, rice, thyme, paprika and 1 teaspoon (or less) of Cajun seasoning (remember, you can always add more later). Bring to a boil then lower the heat to a simmer and cover. Cook for 45 to 60 minutes, or until the rice is cooked. Add more broth if the contents start to look too dry. Stir this mix occasionally so your sauce doesn't stick to your pan.
After the rice is cooked, add the shrimp and cook for a couple more minutes, covered, until the shrimp is pink. Taste test to see if there is enough heat for your liking. If not, add more Cajun seasoning. Remove from heat, garnish and serve with Tabasco for heat and a lemon wedge for brightness.
Need more Mardi Gras ideas? Take your andouille sausage leftovers (if you have any!) and make a hash out of it! Try out this Framed Cooks recipe.