Louisiana is a slice of America that is truly unique compared to all the rest. With heavy influences from France and Spain, along with Africa, Italy, and Germany, it is quite likely the quintessential “melting pot” location of America. As such, their culture – especially their food – is rich and varied.
Gumbo is one of the more popular and well known dishes that originated in Louisiana, but gumbo is more of a brothy stew and typically cooks all day. So, when I got a craving for some real Louisiana flavors and it was already dinner time, I obviously didn’t have the time to create a slow-cooking, savory gumbo. So, I improvised, and incorporated some of the most classic Louisiana flavors into a hearty rice dish that is sure to satisfy the southerner in anyone!
Start by putting 1/2 cup wild grain rice, a heavy 1 cup of water, 1 tsp olive oil, and 1 tsp salt into a medium saucepan. Bring this to a boil and then reduce to a simmer and cook for about 20 minutes or until the water is mostly gone. While the rice is cooking, you can make the rest of the dish.
Slice up about 8-10 inches of your preferred type of smoked sausage. (As I’ve mentioned before, my favorite is kielbasa.) Heat up 1 tbsp of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat and then add the sausage to it, tossing to coat in the olive oil. Allow the sausage to brown for a few minutes, tossing occasionally, and then add 1/2 of a green pepper (or red, yellow, or orange – your preference!) diced, and 1/2 of an onion diced, to the pan. Season with salt, pepper, and thyme.
Toss to combine and then cover and allow to simmer for a few more minutes. When the onions and peppers have gotten soft, add 2 cloves of garlic (minced) to the pan, toss to combine, and allow to cook for another minute or two, then remove from the heat.
Once the water is just about gone from your rice, add another sprinkle of salt, then add pepper, cilantro, and cayenne. (The more cayenne you add, the hotter it will be! I like 1/4 tsp for a nice kick.) Finish it off by stirring in 1 cup of your favorite salsa (or regular diced tomatoes) and allow it to reduce down for a few more minutes.
Combine your rice with the sausage and vegetables and serve immediately!
Ta-da, fabulous Louisiana flavors in under 30 minutes!
Louisiana-Style Smoked Sausage and Rice
Yield: 2 servings
1/2 cup uncooked wild rice
1 heavy cup water
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 cup salsa or diced tomatoes
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp cilantro
1/4 tsp cayenne
8-10 inches smoked sausage, sliced
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 green (or red, orange, or yellow) pepper, diced
1/2 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
Salt, pepper, thyme, to taste
1) Combine rice, water, 1 tsp olive oil, and 1 tsp salt in a medium saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and cook for about 20 minutes, or until water is almost gone.
2) Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat, then add sliced sausage and toss to coat in olive oil. Brown sausage for 2-3 minutes, tossing occasionally, then add onion and pepper to the pan. Toss to combine, cover, and let simmer for another 3-5 minutes.
3) Uncover skillet and add minced garlic, tossing to combine, and cook for another 1-2 minutes, then remove from heat.
4) When rice has almost finished cooking, add 1 cup of salsa or diced tomatoes along with 1/2 tsp pepper, 1/2 tsp cilantro, and 1/4 tsp cayenne. Stir to combine and reduce for 3-5 minutes.
5) Combine your rice with sausage and vegetables and serve immediately.