This Cajun Sausage-Rice Skillet is a one-pan wonder of spicy rice in a tomato and vegetable-filled sauce with delicious Andouille sausage. At just under an hour from start to finish—with lots of meal prep that can be done in advance—this is a favorite go-to for busy weeknights.
The origins of Cajun Sausage-Rice Skillet
This meal came about when I went to visit my parents recently. I called ahead to see what produce they had on hand: a green bell pepper, onions, and scallions, they told me. They always had pantry staples like rice, pasta, and tomato sauce, I knew, so I devised a plan and stopped at the grocery. That selection of produce was already leaning Cajun, I figured, so I picked up some Andouille sausage, white wine, garlic, and a bunch of parsley.
Let me back up for just a second. My momma has gotten a bit frail in recent years and she’s never enjoyed cooking anyway. My sister and I live about 25 minutes away, so to take some of the load off Momma’s shoulders while also enjoying a nice visit with the ‘rents, Sis and I have each been stopping by once a week to bring them a couple of meals and/or cook some meals with what they have on hand.
I’ve taken to calling it Chopped: Mom & Dad’s Fridge.
I nearly always use a one-pot strategy when I visit, although I did also enlist Mom’s slow-cooker the other day when I realized that she had a chuck roast that needed to be cooked FIVE MINUTES AGO.
Making the Cajun Sausage-Rice Skillet
So, back to my Cajun creation. I’ve also made a Cajun pasta dish (recipe coming soon!), but I decided to go the rice route this time. Although the general rule is 2 parts liquid to 1 part rice, I like a saucier dish. For the wet ingredients, I decided upon a cup of chicken broth, a 15-oz. can of tomato sauce, and a 15-oz. can of fire-roasted, diced tomatoes (drained). I started out by browning the sausages all over (they’re cooked already, but the browning adds another layer of flavor). While the sausages worked, I sliced and diced all my veggies. I decided to keep the sausages back for part of the bake, so they’d keep their snap rather than becoming soggy.
After removing the sausages, I added my onion and garlic, and then—after a few minutes—I added in the rice to give it a sauté before adding my wet ingredients. When the rice started getting fragrant, I added a couple of bay leaves and some spicy seasoning: I just use a very slight variation of Emeril’s Creole recipe (I cut the salt and oregano in half and increase the amount of thyme), but feel free to use your favorite Cajun or Creole blend. I added even more dried thyme leaves because I love that flavor in Cajun food.
About the spice level. The hubster and I love crazy-hot dishes. We add sliced jalapeños to our already hot dishes and tend to douse things in hot sauce. If you are not similarly inclined, I suggest starting out with only 1 tbsp. of the seasoning mix—and definitely taste before you pile on the jalapeños and hot sauce.
However, if you or your family think of mustard as being hot, cut the spice in half again.
After sautéeing the spices for a minute or so, I raised the heat to high and added the white wine, stirring until it had reduced to almost nothing. After that, I stirred in my wet ingredients and the diced green bell pepper, covered the skillet, and put it in a 375° oven for 3o minutes. After that, the liquid was mostly soaked up into the rice. I added my sausage—which I had cut into rings—back to the skillet. After 10 additional minutes in the oven, my masterpiece was ready to go.
To serve, I liberally scattered sliced scallions and parsley on top and sprinkled with hot sauce. The ‘rents (and my sister) loved it. After I made Cajun Sausage-Rice Skillet one week later to rave reviews from the hubster, I knew I had a keeper. I hope your fam loves it too!
A quick note before I go: there is usually a layer of crispy, caramelized rice at the bottom of the skillet. Don’t be put off by this! Although not everyone will be a fan of this crunchy layer at the bottom, for some it will be the most treasured part of the dish. It’s similar in concept to the prized socarrat at the bottom of a great pan of paella in Spanish cooking. The hubster and I like to pick at these bits while making gratuitous “nom, nom” sounds.
- 1 lb. Andouille sausage
- 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup white rice
- 1 cup chicken stock or broth
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 14 oz. canned tomato sauce
- 14 oz. canned, diced, fire-roasted tomatoes, drained
- 1 green bell pepper, chopped
- 1 Vidalia onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tbsp. Creole or Cajun seasoning (or see notes)
- 1 tsp. dried thyme leaves
- 1/4 tsp. salt, or to taste
- 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
- 4 scallions, thinly sliced, for serving
- 1/2 cup Italian parsley, chopped, for serving
- 3 jalapeños, seeded and thinly sliced into half-rings (optional)
- your favorite hot sauce optional
Preheat oven to 375°.
Add the olive oil to a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the sausage and brown on all sides in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Remove to a plate.
Add the onion and garlic to the same skillet (don't wipe out) and reduce heat to medium. Sauté for 5 minutes. Add the rice; sauté until fragrant and translucent, but not at all brown, about 2 minutes. Turn the heat to high. Add the herbs and spices; sauté for an additional minute.
Pour in the wine, stirring well and allowing the liquid to reduce to almost nothing. Add the chicken broth, tomato sauce, green pepper, and diced tomatoes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper; stir to combine.*
Cover the skillet and place in the oven. Bake, undisturbed, for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, slice the sausages, cutting on the bias to make oblong coins.
After 30 minutes, remove the lid from the skillet and scatter the sausage coins over the top. Cook for an additional 10 minutes (uncovered), or until rice is tender.
Remove skillet from the oven and gently fluff the rice with a rice paddle or fork.**
Sprinkle liberally with scallions and parsley. Serve with a few dashes of your favorite hot sauce.
WORK AHEAD: you can chop and mince the vegetables and herbs up to one day in advance.
EMERIL'S EVER-SO-SLIGHTLY ADAPTED CAJUN SEASONING:
1 1/4 tbsp. paprika
1/2 tbsp. salt
1 tbsp. garlic powder
1/2 tbsp. black pepper
1/2 tbsp. onion powder
1/2 tbsp. cayenne pepper
1/4 tbsp. dried leaf oregano.
3/4 tbsp. dried thyme.
*The dish will be extremely soupy at this point, but that's okay: the rice will absorb most of the liquid, leaving behind a veggie-filled tomato sauce and fluffy rice.
**There will likely be layer of crispy rice at the bottom of the pan. I like to set these crispy bits aside for those who like them (a.k.a. the hubster and me).
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