Chicken & Sausage Jambalaya with Cauliflower “Rice”

by Shawnda on February 13, 2015

in Cajun,Cauliflower,Chicken & Poultry,Mardi Gras,Pork

Chicken & Sausage Jambalaya with Cauliflower

Let the good times roll, y’all!

It’s not Fat Tuesday yet but don’t let that stop you. I sure as heck didn’t let it stop me from whipping up a monster pot of chicken and sausage jambalaya. I found it to be the perfect opportunity to try out cauliflower “rice” on the family.

Their verdict? Well, they did let me live to share the recipe. Soo…

Mom: MMMMmmmm
Jason: It’s a little different. And it doesn’t taste much like cauliflower. [That is a win from him.]
Landry: I NEED SOME MILK! [I’ll return my Mother of the Year trophy, stat.]

I never know where to draw the line with her. Because this is the same little girl who took snagged a serrano pepper straight off the plant and took a bite out of it and had absolutely no reaction. None. ZERO.

Chicken & Sausage Jambalaya with Cauliflower

So cauliflower rice is not rice at all. It’s fresh cauliflower florets that have taken a ~15 second low-speed spin through the food processor so that the size and appearance looks rice-ish. But the flavor? All cauliflower.

I happen to adore cauliflower (Exhibits A and B. And C.). I can actually remember the first time I ever ate raw cauliflower: it was the summer after my freshman year in high school (because cauliflower didn’t come in a can), and it was served like we serve every other veggie down here in Texas: with half a squeeze bottle of ranch dressing.

Raw cauliflower can be pretty strong and cooking it will really help reign-in the flavor. And cooking it in a big pot with caramelized vegetables, sausage, chicken, garlic, and bay leaves? The cauliflower is mostly masked by the stronger flavors of the jambalaya.

Chicken & Sausage Jambalaya with Cauliflower

The one real difference between the original recipe and the cauliflower version is the amount of liquid you’ll use at the end of the recipe. The original recipe adds a bunch of chicken stock and water, which the rice would then absorb. With the cauliflower, you’ll only add as much chicken stock as you need to reach the consistency you’re looking for. Where I’m from, the jambalaya isn’t overly soupy so I tried to add as little as possible but as you can see, I did have some standing liquid.

Enjoy it. We sure did. It is a little different but it is every bit as delicious as a more traditional rice version.

Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya with Cauliflower "Rice"

Hearty chicken and sausage jambalaya made with cauliflower "rice."

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup olive or your cooking oil of choice
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 2 green bell peppers, chopped
  • 1 bunch chopped green onions, dark green parts reserved for garnish
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Black pepper
  • 1 tsp ground cayenne/red pepper
  • 1lb smoked sausage, cut into 1/4 inch slices
  • 1 tsp Tony Chachere Original Creole Seasoning*
  • 1 1/2lb chicken, cut into 1-in cubes
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 medium cauliflower head, sliced into florets (will make 3-4 rounded cups of "rice")
  • 1-2 cups chicken stock
  • *Tony's has salt, pepper, cayenne, garlic, onion, and at least oregano. If you can't find it, season the chicken with at least salt and pepper before adding it.

Instructions

  1. Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat.
  2. Add the onions, bell peppers, garlic, white and light green parts of the bunch of green onions, salt, and cayenne. Stirring often and keeping the lid ajar, brown the vegetables for about 20 minutes.
  3. Scrape the bottom and sides to loosen any browned particles. Add the sausage and cook, stirring often and keeping the lid ajar for 10 to 15 minutes, scraping the bottom and sides to loosen any browned particles.
  4. Season the chicken with Tony Chachere's.
  5. Add the chicken and the bay leaves to the pot. Brown the chicken for 8 to 10 minutes, scrapping the bottom of the pot to loosen any browned particles.
  6. While the chicken is cooking, add the florets to the bowl of a food processor. Chop on low for 15-20 seconds, until the cauliflower is small and resembles rice.
  7. Add the cauliflower and 1 cup chicken stock.
  8. Cook and cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring a few times, until all of the cauliflower has softened. If necessary, add additional chicken stock (I tried to add as little as possible so I wouldn't have a ton of standing liquid).
  9. Remove the pot from the heat and let stand, covered for 2 to 3 minutes.
  10. Remove the bay leaves. Stir in the dark green onions and serve.

Notes

Yields: 8 servings

Adapted from Chicken & Sausage Jambalaya

Estimated time: 1 hour

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Macaroni and Brie with Bacon and Peas

As much time as I’ve spent there over the last couple of years with my mom, you’d think I wouldn’t be so surprised. But I still am. How a hospital, a place with a core business model of healing and wellness, can have such awfully unhealthy food is beyond me.

I spent a week eating from bags, boxes, and coin-operated machines. And unless we’re counting Polynesian sauce as a vegetable, there were some days that I’m certain nothing I took a bite of ever grew in any ground.

But as we’re again returning to some sense of normalcy around here, heavy one house guest (hi mom!), I have returned to zoodling everything in sight and making magical melty cheese sauces. And for those who refuse to jump on my still-a-one-girl zoodle bandwagon, they get pasta with their magical melty cheese sauces. Real pasta.

Macaroni and Brie with Bacon and Peas

I mentioned before how I’ve been playing with sodium citrate for a few weeks. I took a house favorite, Bacon & Pea Macaroni and Cheese, and gave it a makeover with some creamy brie. The original recipe uses fat-free Greek yogurt, pasta water, and easy-melting cheeses to achieve a nice and creamy sauce.

But today’s recipe? It uses brie, milk, and a 1/2 tsp of that sodium citrate to achieve melty perfection. It’s macaroni and cheese with brie.

Macaroni & Brie with Bacon and Peas

Macaroni and Brie. Or at least it would have been if I’d had macaroni and brie. So Bowties & Brie it is! (And I’ll show you the Zoodles & Brie version soon.)

Creamy Brie, Bacon, and Pea Pasta

Make a creamy stovetop macaroni cheese sauce with brie, milk, and a little sodium citrate.

Ingredients

  • 12 oz pasta
  • 8 oz frozen peas
  • 8 oz wheel of brie
  • 5 slices of bacon
  • 1/2 tsp sodium citrate
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Instructions

  1. Boil pasta in salted water according to package directions. In the last two minutes of cooking, you'll add the peas to heat through.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, crisp up the bacon (I did it in the microwave) and prepare the brie.
  3. Use a spoon to scrape the white off the brie and then use a vegetable peeler to go around the edge of the wheel to remove the hardened rind.
  4. Cut the wheel in 8 wedges and use the peeler to make a quick pass over the top and bottom surfaces (don't try too hard, doesn't need to be perfect - you just want to minimize the hard portions).
  5. Cut the wedges into cubes.
  6. Drain the pasta and peas.
  7. Return the empty pot to the cooktop over medium heat, add the milk and sodium citrate, and stir to mix.
  8. Add the brie and stir occasionally at first, more frequently when it starts to melt.
  9. When the sauce is smooth, add the pasta and peas to the pot. Season with salt and pepper.
  10. If eating immediately, crumble the bacon into the pot. If not (and to prepare for leftovers), crumble the bacon over when serving so it doesn't get mushy.

Notes

Yields: 4 servings

Source: Confections of a Foodie Bride

Estimated time: 30 minutes

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Brie and Caramelized Onion Queso

by Shawnda on February 1, 2015

in Appetizers,Brie

Brie and Caramelized Onion Queso

Yeah, that’s right. I made queso out of brie. (Because a girl can only watch so many hours of Big Game Pre-Game Nonsense.)

Brie. And caramelized onions. And a little milk. And 1/2 teaspoon of a secret ingredient that will let you turn just about any cheese into a smooth, melty cheese sauce: sodium citrate.

I’ve also made excellent chile con queso using real cheeses (no processed cheezes at all), macaroni and cheese, and a nacho sauce out of a cheese you’d never think to make nachos with… but those – those are for another day. Today, we’re talking brie.

Brie and Caramelized Onion Queso

So that sodium citrate – I spied it on the Huffington Post a couple months ago. It basically allows cheese to dreamily melt without separating into a clumpy, oily mess. Add some to a little milk, add your cubed or shredded cheese, and then dig out your stretchy-waisted pants. Because your going to need them.

Brie and Caramelized Onion Queso

The sweetness of the caramelized onions and the richness of the brie are a match made in queso heaven.

Brie and Caramelized Onion Queso

A cheesy queso dip made from brie, caramelized onions, and a secret ingredient: sodium citrate.

Ingredients

  • Olive oil
  • 1/2 cup caramelized onions (yield from 1/2 large white onion)*
  • 8 oz wheel brie
  • 1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp milk
  • 1/2 tsp sodium citrate

Instructions

  1. To caramelize the onions, heat a drizzle of olive oil in a large nonstick pan over medium high heat.
  2. Add the onions and cook covered for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add 1/2 cup water to the onions and stir well, covering and cooking for another 10 minutes.
  4. Add 1/2 cup more water to the onions and stir, cover and cook for another 10 minutes.
  5. Remove lid and cook another 5-10 minutes, reducing heat if necessary, until desired color is reached (I usually call it around 30-35 minutes).
  6. While the onions are cooking, take a spoon and scrape the white rind off the brie.
  7. Cut the brie into 4 wedges. Take a vegetable peeler and make one pass over the scraped surfaces to remove the thin rind.
  8. Cut the brie into small cubes.
  9. Transfer the onions to a small bowl and rinse out the pan.
  10. Heat milk in the pan over medium heat and add the sodium citrate, stirring to dissolve.
  11. Add the brie and stir occasionally at first, and then more frequently as it slowly melts.
  12. When the brie has melted, add 1/2 cup of caramelized onions to the queso and stir.
  13. Serve hot/warm.

Notes

Yields: 1+ cup

Source: Confections of a Foodie Bride

Estimated time: 45 minutes

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