Last week, my husband and I attended American Mensa’s Annual Gathering. It was actually our first one since 2006, and it was great to see so many friends – some that we hadn’t seen since that last AG, others that we’d only known online. A great time was had by all!
They say that if you’re able to function after an AG, you didn’t do it right. Well, I’m pleased (?) to report that apparently we “did it right”. After a week of walking from one end of our hotel complex (Reno) to the other constantly, crap food, late nights, and repeated attempts to beat our livers (and brain cells!) into submission, we returned home on Monday… almost completely nonfunctional. I’m sure that either of us could very happily sleep for a week. IT WAS GREAT!
That said, even after such an insane time, at the end of a long day of travel… I couldn’t wait to get back in my kitchen. We needed REAL food, and I needed to be in control of it again. That first night back, I only really had the wherewithal to come up with a cheese pesto gluten free mac n cheese.
… but I was already brewing ideas for the coming days. This recipe is one that I was particularly excited to see through to fruition.
I love Cajun food. I love the flavors, the heat, I love using “the holy trinity” (peppers, onions, celery) to start pretty much anything I can… love it. It’s also pretty much the ideal comfort food, IMHO… which was a good part of why – when it came time to DO something for others in the tornado zone, I had to make a massive batch of my Jambalaya. Yum!
So, as I did some quick grocery shopping for grillables and came upon “Andouille” sausages (really just brats with Cajun seasoning), the wheels started turning. What if I made skewers from the base ingredients of jambalaya – chicken, sausage, peppers, celery, and onions (skipping shrimp, as I was feeling poor after the trip!) – and a marinade based on the seasonings I use in my jambalaya? I could serve it on a bed of… well, not actual dirty rice, that’s too involved for a “quick” meal … but a “quick” dirty rice? YES!
Oh, this really hit the spot. It was quick and easy, and came together fabulously! The marinade was perfect, and grilled celery – a first for us – was sweet and delicious.
Hope you enjoy it as much as we did.
PS: While I was threading everything onto skewers, I realized that this could be considered “deconstructed jambalaya”. Uuugh. Not my intent, so I want to profess my innocence! I was NOT aiming for “ridiculous and trendy” when I created this recipe! LOL!
2 lbs chicken breast, trimmed and cut into 1″ cubes
1-2 lbs Andouille sausage (we used raw “brat” style, not the real thing!), boiled til cooked through.
2 green peppers, cut into 1″ squares
1 onion, sliced
3 ribs of celery, sliced into 1- 1.5″ lengths
1/3 c. olive oil
2 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp tomato paste
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1/2 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp each oregano, sage, thyme, salt
“Quick & Dirty” Rice:
1 link “andouille” brat/sausage, shredded
1/2 small onion, chopped
1/2 small bell pepper, finely chopped
2 ribs celery, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, pressed
4 cups chicken broth
1 tbsp tomato paste
1/4 tsp each cayenne pepper, black pepper, oregano, and sage
2 cups rice
Place prepared skewer ingredients into a large bowl.
Whisk together all marinade ingredients. Pour over skewer ingredients, toss to coat everything. Cover with plastic wrap, chill in the fridge for 1+ hours (up to a day).
Stir together all “quick and dirty rice” ingredients well, making sure to break up raw sausage into very,very small pieces. (The boiling will cook them, spreading the flavor throughout the rice). Cook in a rice cooker until done.
While rice is cooking, heat the grill and thread skewer ingredients onto metal grill skewers.
Grill skewers until done – the time will vary depending on your grill. We grilled over medium heat, about 4-5 minutes per side.