Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Jambalaya with Cajun Roasted Chicken and Sausage

Time again to share the best aspect of Louisiana culture with "all y'all."

I'm so glad the weather's starting to take a turn toward bearable, because I've missed boots and warm comfort foods and light jackets and all that. Also, I do hate to wilt.

We made this delicious jambalaya last weekend because I'd picked up chicken, sausage, and file powder at the farmers' market and I needed to put them to good use. With the help of my illustrious sous-chef Kayla (who likes to dice things while she drinks--a very useful quality I look for in friendships), I was able to enjoy this during my wonderful work-less weekend.

(Side salad: I'm having difficulty making it through the writing of this post without Seinfeld's Newman gushing "JAMBALAYA!"  in my head. Not completely painful, but a bit distracting...)

First I needed to cook the chicken. I preheated my oven to 325 degrees. Then I mixed together Tony Chachere's seasoning, smoked paprika, garlic powder, salt and pepper in a bowl. I rinsed my chicken and patted it dry, then rubbed it with olive oil and the spice mixture.

I put the chicken in my trusty cast-iron skillet and arranged the onion slices around it, then drizzled oil over the pan.

I put the skillet in the oven and let it roast for two hours, re-oiling it halfway through.

Once the chicken was done cooking (it should be at an internal temperature of 180 degrees), I removed the skillet from the oven and  let the chicken rest for ten minutes before cutting into it. As for the broth and onions, I reserved them for the jambalaya.

After the aforementioned ten minutes, I carved into the chicken, slicing the procured meat into bite-sized pieces.

Meanwhile, Kayla arrived and helpfully chopped up all the ingredients that needed chopping and added new playlists to my Spotify (after we went to get amazing corn dip), so obviously she was very good company.

In my Dutch oven, I heated up a tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat and added the sausage slices. I didn't use any seasoning here, because this sausage is to die for and I don't believe in messing with perfection. But if you are dealing with less-than-heavenly sausage, please sprinkle a little cayenne or Tony's in there! Treat. Yo. Self.

I sauteed the sausage until it was cook through, then set it aside with the chicken. I added fresh oil to the Dutch oven, then added in the peppers, onion, celery, and garlic and cooked them about five minutes, till they were translucent.

Then I stirred in the crushed tomatoes, crushed red pepper, freshly ground black pepper, salt, hot sauce, Worcestershire, and file powder. To all this magical, well-seasoned, tomato-iness, I added the meat. I made sure the mixture was well-combined and then let it cook for about ten minutes.

Not the prettiest picture, but take my word that it all ended up more than OK.

Finally it was time to add the rice and the chicken stock (part of which I gleaned from the roast chicken, the rest supplied by store-bought broth), which can be a bit stubborn when it comes to cooking (unlike yours truly, who has never been bull-headed in her life, especially not in the kitchen.)

I brought everything to a boil, then let it simmer (covered) for about 25 - 30 minutes, until the liquid was gone and the rice completely cooked.

Then we scraped the pot clean.

Cajun Roasted Chicken

1 whole chicken, 2 - 3 lbs.
2 teaspoons Tony Chachere's seasoning
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 large onion, thinly sliced
4 tablespoons olive oil


Cajun Roasted Chicken
10 oz. Cajun sausage (such as andouille), sliced
1 large onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
2 celery stalks, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 16-oz can crushed tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
1 teaspoon file powder
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
10 oz. uncooked rice
2 1/2 cups chicken broth (part of which you can get from the cooked chicken)

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Grilled Whole Chicken Stuffed with Sausage, Greens, and Peppers


I went to the farmers' market yesterday and watched a cooking demonstration in which the brilliant, confident chef stuffed up her chicken with a sausage mixture and then grilled the whole bird up. The presentation just made me so happy and inspired that I had to rush home and turn my market bounty into a damn good dinner.

I (or rather my cousin Wade) heated up one side of the grill to medium-high, leaving the other side unheated so we could perpetrate some indirect grilling. This method allows you to semi-slow-cook the fowl beast into tender perfection without burning the outside first.

Then I removed the innards of the bird and rinsed it out, then set it aside.

For the stuffing, I heated up two tablespoons of olive oil in my skillet till shimmering. I tossed on the peppers and sliced sausage and let them sizzle for 3 - 5 minutes.

Then I added the greens and let them wilt (as they are wont to do). I kept adding chopped greens until I'd gotten a fair amount in the mix. I also added a bit of Cajun seasoning (Tony Chachere's if you can get it.)

I took the mixture off heat once all the greens had wilted, the sausage had cooked, and the peppers had grown tender.

I rubbed the chicken with olive oil and oregano.

Then I opened him up and stuffed him!

I probably had too much fun with this part.

For the stuffing, I used the sausage mixture and intermittently added garlic chevre. I packed the stuffing in there tightly.

Then I put it on the grill!

We closed the grill and let it cook for 30-40 minutes on the unlit side of the grill. It was able to get lots of good heat and browning this way.

Then we flipped the bird (unintentional!) and let it cook covered for another 30 minutes.

We took the chicken off the grill and let it rest for ten minutes before carving it.


Grilled Whole Chicken Stuffed with Sausage, Greens, and Peppers
1 whole chicken (mine was a bitty one, just 2 lbs., but I'd recommend 4 or 5 lbs.)
2 - 3 cups sliced Cajun sausage
3 small red and/or yellow sweet peppers, diced
3 handfuls mixed greens, chopped
2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons oregano