Cajun Red Beans and Rice with Pepper-jack Cornbread

Cajun Red Beans and Rice with Pepper-jack Cornbread

I love red beans and rice. Strangely enough, what got me hooked on this wasn’t some fancy restaurant in Louisiana. It was Bojangles Chicken and Biscuits, a fast food restaurant. I don’t eat fast food anymore but if I did it would be at Bojangles. Their spicy fried chicken and their biscuits are awesome but what I really love is their sides. Back in the day, I would get a side of red beans and a side of their dirty rice (has chunks of spicy sausage) and I would mix them together. I’m telling you it is delicious. Not healthy by any means but delicious and that was the inspiration.

Comments on the Dish

You don’t need the shrimp. They were a safety precaution because my wife was afraid “just beans” wouldn’t be filling enough. I used canned beans. You can soak your own if you like, it would probably be better, but I’ve been there and done that. Also, I never made cornbread from a mix but my wife loves Jiffy. It is a little to sweet for me but she likes it and it is super easy. I recommend using 2 eggs (the recipe calls for one), which makes the muffins much more moist. I also use buttermilk instead of milk.

This one is going into the regular rotation. Tasty, fast and was great as leftovers. I recommend trying it. If you don’t eat meat, leave the andouille and shrimp out and add a little more seasoning.

 

Ingredients

  • 1 pound fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2 andouille sausage links (or 3 if you like), diced into 1/5 inch pieces
  • 2 cans red beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 small white onion, chopped
  • 1 small bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 celery stems, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (I always prefer San Marzano if you can find them)
  • 2 cups unsalted chicken stock
  • Cajun or Creole seasoning (I prefer Tony Chachere’s Original Creole Seasoning)
  • 1 package of long-grain, brown rice
  • 2-3 tablespoons fresh oregano, chopped
  • Crushed red pepper flake
  • 1 box Jiffy cornbread mix (don’t judge, my wife loves it)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup Buttermilk
  • 1.5 cup shredded pepper-jack cheese
Directions

  1. First the cornbread mix. Add the ingredients of the Jiffy packet, the 2 eggs, 3/4 of the pepper-jack cheese and buttermilk to a mixing bowl and fold together. Don’t over mix. Set aside.
  2. Heat a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat and add the andouille. Cook until browned and rendered, then remove. Next and the Holy Trinity (onion, bell pepper and celery) and cook until almost transparent and the add the garlic, Cajun seasoning and crushed red pepper (to taste). Continue cooking a few minutes until the garlic is fragrant. Add the tomato and 1/4 of the red beans. Using a spoon or masher, mash the beans. Mash them good. Add the remaining red beans, anouille and oregano and stir to combine. Add the chicken stock and reduce the heat to a simmer. Stir occasionally and add more liquid if needed. If you like it thicker, use less liquid. Taste and re-season if needed with salt.
  3. Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees F.
  4. Spray a muffin tin and fill each up about half way with the cornbread mixture. Top with the remaining cheese. Bake until the tops are brown.
  5. Cook the rice per the package, except I replaced half the water with chicken stock. I didn’t use the instant rice so it took 20 minutes.
  6. Heat a medium skillet over medium heat. Toss the shrimp in Cajun seasoning and saute until they start to curl and turn opaque. Don’t over cook.
  7. To plate, put the rice down, add your beans and rice and top with shrimp. It would have looked better if I would have had some parsley but oh well. Enjoy!
Cajun Red Beans and Rice with Pepper-jack Cornbread

Quick Shrimp and Andouille Gumbo with Brown Rice

quick shrimp and andouille gumbo

We love gumbo, who doesn’t? This one is easy enough to make on a week night.

I’ve made so many versions of this, some take hours, but I’ll be honest this one is my favorite. Super-fast, rich, spicy and very satisfying, I recommend this one folks. I use San Marzano tomatoes, the smoked paprika and clam juice to add some depth. The fresh oregano and thyme also make a huge difference in this version. I think if this was one of those gumbos that simmered for hours I wouldn’t suggest the fresh herbs, but in this one it really works. Finally, the Filé powder and parsley finishes it off. You can find the Filé powder in most grocery stores now, it is delicious. I served this up with some cornbread, but crusty bread would do as well. Enjoy.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 large Andouille link, cut length-wise then across into ¼ slices
  • 1 large can San Marzano whole peeled tomatoes
  • 1 pound fresh okra (or frozen if you must), cut in half inch pieces
  • 2 ribs of celery, chopped
  • 1 large bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 cups no salt chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons clam juice
  • Cayenne pepper, to taste
  • Creole seasoning (Tony Chachere’s is my preference), to taste
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 3 tablespoons, oil (I used a mix of canola and olive)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon smoke paprika
  • 4 sprigs fresh oregano
  • 8 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 cup brown rice
  • Flat leaf parsley and Filé powder to garnish
Directions

  1. Heat a large pot over medium heat and add oil. Whisk in flour and continue whisking until the roux turns dark tan (or brown if you dare).
  2. Reduce heat to medium low and add onion, celery and bell pepper. Cook until softened. Add okra and cook for another minute.
  3. Remove three or four (depending on their size) of the whole peeled San Marzano tomatoes and crush them into the pot with your hand. Reserve the rest of the tomatoes for something else (pasta sauce).
  4. Now add the bay leaves, paprika, oregano and thyme. Cover and cook for another few minutes.
  5. Add stock and Andouille, bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.
  6. With about 3 to 4 minutes left, add your shrimp. I took the gumbo off the heat and just let the shrimp cook slowly. Don’t overcook the shrimp.
  7. Meanwhile, prepare rice according to the instruction on the package. I used brown rice that took 15 minutes.
  8. To serve, mound the rice in the middle of a large bowl, pour the gumbo around the rice, top with fresh parsley and Filé powder. Enjoy.
Quick Shrimp and Andouille Gumbo with Brown Rice

Okra, Shrimp and Andouille Over Rice.

Independent Seafood in Georgetown, SC - Fresh ShrimpIn July we spent a week on Pawleys Island, South Carolina. On this vacation we ate out every night except one. Wednesday, we had visited the Pawleys Island Farmers Market and the Independent Seafood Market (Georgetown). These trips left us with a pound of shrimp about as fresh as you can get and a pound of fresh okra. What the heck am I supposed to do with THAT?

I remembered once having a Gullah/African type meal with tomatoes shrimp and okra but I couldn’t find the recipe anywhere. Sooooo…as usual I winged it. I find when you use fresh ingredients and add spice, pork fat and beer, you’ll usually end up with something pretty eatable. I came up with okra, shrimp and andouille sausage over white rice. If I do say so myself, this worked out quite well. I served it with some roasted corn on the cob.

Sorry I don’t have a photo.

 

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 pound fresh okra
  • 1 pound fresh shrimp
  • 1 large onoin, coarsely chopped
  • 1 large can whole, peeled San Marzano tomatoes
  • Crushed red pepper flake
  • 1-2 large andouille sausage (or more if you want, you could also use chorizo or hot Italian sausage)
  • 1 beer (don’t use light beer, and preferably use a local micro-brew, just cuz’)
  • Olive oil
  • 1 lemon
  • fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • White rice, I just used instant
DIRECTIONS

  1. Heat large pot over medium-high heat and add enough olive oil to coat the bottom.
  2. Cut the andouille in bite size pieces and add to the pot. Cook until brown and crispy on all sides and most of the fat is rendered out. Remove andouille and reserve for later.
  3. Add onions and sauté until tender and translucent. Add crushed red pepper flakes and season with a little salt.
  4. Pour the sauce from the tomatoes in with the onions the add the tomatoes one by one crushing them with your hand. Carefully they will spray all over you if you don’t take care.
  5. Cook the tomato onion mixed for a few minutes on medium heat. Re-season with a little salt and pepper.
  6. Add a whole beer to the mixture and add back the andouille. Let simmer. If you need more liquid add more beer, water or a stock would be fine.
  7. Go ahead make your rice following the directions on the box.
  8. Add the shrimp to the pot. Watch the shrimp carefully so you don’t over cook, they will cook very quickly. Mix in the parsley.
  9. To serve, place the stew in a large bowl, place the rice in the middle in a scoop and squeeze a little lemon over it. You could also dust the top with a few leaves of parsley. Enjoy!
Okra, Shrimp and Andouille Over Rice.