Creating recipes isn't a pastime—it's a passion. And a lot of fun.

The rules are few: Use 99% fresh ingredients (or thereabouts); make the dish simple but flavorful; make the dish flavorful but simple; be creative, not silly.

With this blog, I want to share new recipes, along with tips on ingredients and preparation, and, hopefully, show new cooks (and non-cooks) the pleasure in setting the table with a delicious homemade meal. The Briny Lemon is about fresh, simple, flavorful ingredients and easy cooking methods that help you bring the best to your family table. Your comments are welcome!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Cajun Andouille Skillet with Red Beans and Rice

Cajun cooking is a classic example of flavorful simplicity at its finest. A soulful blend of French Canadian, African, and Native American gives this cuisine a rich, eclectic flair that turns basic ingredients into warm, inviting dinners—simple to prepare and easy to enjoy.

Common Cajun ingredients include rice, beans, peppers, celery, onion, okra, seafood, and sausage—particularly that Bayou staple, andouille. This smoked pork sausage is seasoned with garlic, cayenne, and other spices and is used in a variety of southern Louisiana soups and stews, as well as beans and rice dishes, as here.

Andouille Sausage
Some folks mistakenly believe that Cajun food is throat-scorching hot, but that’s not the case. Yes, chiles and hot sauce abound, but for the sake of flavor, not heat. I included jalapenos in this dish to give it a little spice, but the other mild, savory, and earthy ingredients prevent the peppers from dominating the taste.

Do yourself (and your guests) a favor and make the red beans from scratch. It takes a bit of time but very little effort—and the taste is so worth it. If you can’t find dry red (chili) beans, substitute red kidney beans.

Red Chili Beans
Note: I cooked the andouille and vegetables in a cast-iron skillet on a charcoal grill, then stirred in the cooked beans and rice at the end. This isn’t necessary for the recipe—I just like to cook outdoors every chance I get. The dish will turn out just fine on your kitchen range, promise.

For another andouille recipe, check out Spicy Andouille and Shrimp with Okra and Chard. For other Cajun-style dishes, see Cajun Shrimp Cocktail and Cajun Fried Catfish with Chile-Tartar Sauce.

Serves 6


For the Red Beans
  • 1 cup dry red chili beans
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp Tabasco
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

For the Andouille Skillet
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lb andouille sausages, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch rounds
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 jalapeno chiles, thinly sliced crosswise
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 4 (packed) cups chopped kale
  • 1/2 cup beer
  • 2 cups cooked white rice
  • Tabasco, for serving (optional)

Sliced Andouille
Prepared Vegetables

For the Red Beans
  1. Place the beans in a saucepan and cover with water by about 1 inch. Bring to a boil and boil for 1 minute. Remove from the heat, cover, and let stand 1 hour.
  2. Drain and rinse the beans. Reheat the pan over medium heat and add the oil. Add the garlic and sauté 2 minutes.
  3. Return the beans to the pan and add the broth, cumin, and Tabasco. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook slowly until tender, about 1-1/4 hours. (If the beans are slightly soupy, remove them with a slotted spoon.)

Beans Beginning to Soak 
Soaked Beans 
Cooked Beans
For the Andouille Skillet
  1. Heat a large (preferably cast-iron) skillet over medium heat (or light a grill for medium heat) and add the olive oil. Add the andouille and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until just cooked through and beginning to brown, 9-10 minutes. Use tongs or a slotted spoon to transfer the sausage to a plate.
  2. Add the garlic, jalapenos, bell pepper, and onion to the oil remaining in the skillet. Cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables begin to soften, 4-5 minutes.
  3. Add the kale and beer and season with salt and pepper. Cook until the kale is tender and wilted and most of the liquid is absorbed, 3 minutes.
  4. Return the andouille to the skillet and stir to combine. Add the cooked red beans and rice and stir until hot throughout, 3-4 minutes. 

Andouille Beginning to Cook
Cooked Andouille 
Vegetables Beginning to Cook
Cooked Vegetables 
Kale and Beer Added
Cooked Kale Mixture
Beans and Rice Added
Divide the skillet mixture among 6 plates and pass Tabasco at the table, if desired.

Cajun Andouille Skillet with Red Beans and Rice

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