Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Cajun Stew

I was really at a loss for what to call this dish, I know what it is not (a jambalaya) but stew comes the closest to what it really is. I came up with this one all because of some sausage I tasted at a demo table at a grocery store several months ago. I needed to just pick up a couple of things and the parking lot at the store I normally go to was a zoo so I went to the store down the street that I don't go to very often. As I was walking through there was a very nice lady offering up samples of a smoked sausage from a company that I was not familiar with. I tried all the varieties and decided to take a package of the cajun spiced one home with me. Now I needed to figure out how to serve. I thought about it a couple of days and decided I wanted to play around with it a bit.

Since I live a ways from the nearest grocery store I always have stuff on hand in the freezer and pantry. When you live out here you don't run to the store at the last minute to pick up something for dinner. There is also no delivery any where near here. I started to think about what I had on hand. I knew there was some chicken breasts in the freezer (these are always in my freezer) and I had picked up some frozen shrimp a few days before. Hummmm.....

I mulled the choices over for a few days and decided to combine the sausages with both of the above meats. I knew I wanted to go cajun style so that meant onion, celery and green pepper. I had all of these on hand so now dinner was coming together. I wanted the chicken and shrimp to stand up to the sausage so I decided to coat these two items with some of my homemade cajun seasoning blend (I'll add that recipe at the end of this post). I knew it wouldn't take much of the seasoning, a little goes along way but it is so good on almost all meats. I had just picked up a bunch of cans of diced tomatoes and I like a tomato base to this kind of dish so that went on my mental list of ingredients. My fresh thyme was doing well at that time too and since there's dry thyme in my seasoning blend I thought that would be a good addition too (I like to add some fresh herbs in wherever I can)

The rest of the ingredients came about as I tasted the dish as I made it the first time.

Now all that being said the day I recorded this I couldn't get the cajun sausage and used some smoked sausage that was labeled Spicy Italian. It worked just as well. If you want to cut back on the spiciness of the dish use a smoked Polish type sausage. Really any variety of pre-cooked (smoked) sausage will work just fine.

We really love this one and it is really easy to make in a larger batch to feed a crowd. Since the different elements are cooked separately and come together at the end just increase it to fill up your crew. The recipe as written is plenty to fill up my son and myself and have plenty of leftovers for lunch.

On the subject of servings and more importantly how many servings my recipes make. That is a really tough question since I am trying to fill up a growing teenage boy. I swear at this age (14) they can eat enough for an army and still pop up for a snack 5 minutes later. He is currently 6' tall and still growing. So how many normal people will this feed?? You will have to be the judge of that one.

Cajun Stew

½ lb large shrimp (peeled, deveined and thawed if frozen)
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast cut into bite size pieces
1 Tablespoon Cajun Seasoning blend
½ lb spicy sausage Cajun style or spicy Italian smoked sausage
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large onion, sliced
1 green pepper sliced
3 ribs celery sliced
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
1 (16 oz) can diced tomatoes
a splash of white wine (optional)
3 Tablespoons of a grainy mustard
1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar

Cajun Seasoning Blend

2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 Tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1 ½ teaspoons dried oregano
1 ½ teaspoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon instant minced onion
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon read pepper flakes

combine and store in a jar in a dark place. 


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