On gray rainy days in New York (esp. at the beginning of so-called
“Summer”), there’s nothing better than staying home and cooking up a big pot of comfort food. It seems to make the rain almost pleasant to listen to and watch, knowing that you’re tucked up indoors away from the rest of the world, cooking something cozy and delicious.
One of my favorite things to make is spicy Cajun and Creole food (New Orleans is one of my fav cities ever..the #FOOD though!) and I had grand visions of creating a kickass recipe this week for my blog. And considering it’s going to be a rainy Memorial Day weekend, why not make a big pot of something wonderful to stay indoors and savor while I’m at it?
I had some Aidell’s Andouille Sausage on hand and tons of bell peppers, garlic, onions and tomatoes in the pantry so I decided to make a big pot of Jambalaya for my afternoon project. I also had some Flour City Pasta ‘Bon Vivant Orzo’ I’ve been dying to try, so I decided to whip up a twist on ordinary Jambalaya using that instead of rice. The orzo is multi-colored small pasta that looks like rice, with wild mushroom, saffron, spinach and cayenne – and I thought it would add some more layers of flavor to the dish.
First I cooked the sausage until lightly browned in a big Dutch oven with a little olive oil. Then I added the vegetables and sautéed everything together with some spicy Creole seasoning (Tony Chacere’s is the bomb!). I also threw in some Kroger brand Zesty Seasoning Blend which is a savory blend of herbs and spices like onion, black pepper, chili pepper, parsley, oregano, basil, savory, marjoram, bay, thyme, rosemary, garlic and cumin and added a dash of hot paprika for an extra kick of spiciness and flavor. You can also substitute some dried thyme and oregano or whatever dried herbs you like instead if you can’t find something similar.
Then I added the broth and tomatoes and orzo and brought everything to a boil, and let it all simmer for about 10 minutes or so until the orzo was cooked through. The pasta will soak up the liquids and get thicker the longer it sits, so be careful not to overcook it or it will get mushy. If you’re using rice instead, let the ingredients simmer for longer, about 20 minutes.
Once it all comes together with a consistency you like, serve it with some chopped green onions and fresh parsley with a dash of hot sauce (traditional Frank’s RedHot or Crystal are my favs) and freshly ground black pepper for an extra kick.
All I know is I have a long holiday weekend to savor my delicious Jambalaya, along with lots of naps and Netflix.
Let it rain. J
This Sausage Orzo Jambalaya is a twist on traditional Creole Jambalaya using multi-colored orzo instead of rice, with the addition of some corn. It has a medium-spice heat to it with lots of veggies including red, yellow, orange and green peppers, onions, garlic, tomatoes - a savory, heartwarming dish for any occasion.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 pounds Andouille sausage cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 ½ cups onion, chopped
- 1 ½ cups bell peppers, chopped (red, yellow, orange, green)
- 1 cup yellow corn kernels
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon Creole seasoning (Tony Chacere’s)
- 2 teaspoons Zesty Seasoning Blend (Kroger)- optional
- 1 teaspoon hot paprika
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
- 2 cups orzo
- Sliced scallions, for garnish
- Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
- Hot sauce, for garnish (optional)
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Heat oil over medium-high in a large Dutch oven or pot. Add the sausage and cook for about 8 minutes until browned on all sides about 8 minutes. Remove from pot and set aside.
- Add the onions, peppers, corn, garlic and bay leaves along with the herbs and spices and saute over medium-high for a few minutes. Add the broth and diced tomatoes and bring to a boil.
- Stir in the orzo and reduce heat to a simmer and let cook for about 10 minutes until the orzo is cooked through and soft.
- Garnish with sliced scallions and chopped fresh parsley and a dash of hot sauce and freshly ground black pepper, to taste for an extra kick.
Note: you can also substitute traditional white rice for the orzo, just cook it in the pot longer, about 20 minutes instead of 10 minutes.
You can also add chicken or shrimp to the recipe, swapping out 1 pound for the andouille sausage.
Recipe adapted from Southern Living Magazine.