Mondays and Wednesdays are long days for Ken. He plays in a youth orchestra which rehearses weekly for two hours every Monday; it takes up to 90 minutes to get there in rush hour. Wednesdays are art classes at a local artist’s home studio.
Since there is no way he can weather 2 hours without dinner, I try to find something quick to make on these days. I don’t do fast or frozen food; I’d rather make him a sandwich than go down the path of preservatives. Meals have also been complicated by the fact Ken just had his upper set of braces placed.
My refrigerator is bare; a little deli meat and cheese, eggs, gorgonzola, some veg and…a pack of andouille sausage! My husband Kurt has been craving some New Orleans food– to the point where he’s suggesting we take another trip down South to eat our way through more restaurants!
I searched online for “recipes with andouille sausage;” most required shrimp, but I found one that was just andouille in a tomato creole sauce. I tweaked the recipe, based on what I had on hand, but the original recipe is from Sandra Lee’s “Semi-homemade Cooking.” I’m not a huge fan of her show or recipes, but this one came out well! Instead of the milder creole flavor, I switched from seasoned salt to a Cajun spice blend. It’s got a lot of kick, so taper the chili flakes or hot sauce if you prefer a milder heat.
Note: The Creole/Cajun trinity consists of equal parts of green pepper and celery and twice as much onions (1:1:2 ratio), so chop enough of each vegetable to get to that ratio. I had about 2 cups of vegetables. My family doesn’t care for green peppers, so I never have them on hand as I do red ones. Use what you like!
Spicy Andouille with Grits (adapted from Sandra Lee)
- 1 small red pepper, diced small
- 4-5 stalks of celery (enough to match the amount of the chopped red pepper), diced small
- 2 medium onions (enough to match the amount of pepper and celery), diced small
- 1 TB chopped garlic
- 3 TB olive oil
- 3 TB AP flour
- salt and pepper
- 1 pack andouille sausage, sliced on the diagonal
- 1 14.5-oz can diced tomatoes (I had Italian seasoned on hand)
- 1 15-oz can tomato sauce
- 1/3 to 1/2 c water
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 tsp hot sauce (e.g., Tabasco)
- 1 tsp Cajun seasoning
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- Cooked Grits, however you like to make them
Dice all your vegetables and mince the garlic.
In a Dutch oven, heat the oil and flour over medium heat, stirring frequently until golden brown. The darker the roux, the stronger the flavor– but don’t burn it!
Once your roux is a beautiful golden nut brown, toss in all the chopped veg (including the garlic) and stir to coat well with the roux.
Cook until the vegetables have softened (the onions will become translucent); this takes about 10 minutes.
While vegetables sweat to their softened state, slice the sausage on the diagonal (about 1/4-inch thick):
When the vegetables are ready, add the tomatoes, sauce, seasonings, and water.
Stir to combine and add the sausages.
Bring the contents to a boil, then cover and lower heat to a simmer. Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. If you want a thicker sauce, partially uncover the pot during the last 10 minutes.
I prepared the grits while the sauce was simmering because I use regular grits and need the full 20 minutes; if you use quick-cooking grits, you’ll cut the time in half.