I remember the first time I tried Cajun chicken pasta. I instantly became obsessed. There was something about the spices that completely changed a basic pasta dish. Since then I've explored many other ways to incorporate Cajun spices into a recipe including Cajun blackened fish, Cajun beer battered fried pickles, and Cajun spiced potato wedges. Today, I'm adding another one to the list, Cajun shrimp and sausage skillet. This dish is reminiscent of jambalaya but ready in half the time. The best part? It still tastes like a complex, restaurant quality dish!
Cajun Shrimp and Sausage Skillet
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 4 scallions chopped, white and green ends separated
- 1 ½ cups medium grain rice
- 2 cups chicken broth
Cajun shrimp and sausage skillet
- 2 tablespoons oil divided
- 12 ounces shrimp peeled and deveined
- 6 ounces Andouille sausage sliced
- ½ small red onion chopped
- ½ medium red bell pepper chopped
- 4 garlic cloves minced
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne
- ½ cup white wine
- 1 ½ cups chicken broth
- 1 bunch swiss chard stems removed, chopped
- ½ cup coconut cream
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- ¼ cup chopped parsley
- Make scallion rice. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a medium pot over medium-high heat. Add garlic and chopped white scallion ends and saute until aromatic, about 1 minute. Add rice, stirring to combine. Add chicken broth and bring to a boil. Cover pot, reduce heat to low, and continue to simmer for 15 minutes or until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed. Stir in chopped green scallion ends and season rice with salt. Set aside and keep warm.
- Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large saute pan over high heat. Add shrimp and sear until pink, about 3-4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and remove from heat.
- In the same pan, cook sausage until browned, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Heat another tablespoon in the same pan over medium heat. Add red onion and bell pepper and saute until vegetables are softened, about 4-5 minutes. Add garlic, tomato paste, paprika, oregano, cayenne, and saute for 1 minute or until tomato paste is caramelized.
- Add white wine and deglaze the pan, scraping up any caramelized bits on the bottom of the pan. Simmer until almost all of the wine has evaporated. Add swiss chard and chicken broth and bring to a simmer. Continue to cook until liquid is reduced by half.
- Add back shrimp and sausage along with coconut cream. Season with lemon juice, salt, and pepper and simmer for another minute. Remove from heat and stir in chopped parsley. Serve Cajun shrimp and sausage skillet with scallion rice.
**Helpful tips and common mistakes
Jambalaya is a Cajun and Creole rice dish with shrimp, chicken, sausage, or a combination of all three. To cut the time and make a simpler version, we're going to prepare scallion rice on the side and the Cajun skillet separately.
To make the rice, saute garlic and the white ends of scallions until softened. Add the rice, stirring to combine, then add the chicken broth. Bring the broth to a boil, cover the pot, and lower the heat to a simmer.
Continue to simmer until all of the liquid has evaporated and the rice is fluffy. Season the rice with salt and stir in the chopped green onion until well combined. Keep the rice warm while you prepare the Cajun shrimp and sausage skillet.
You can choose to make plain rice instead or even serve the skillet with pasta.
Now let's move on to the star, the Cajun shrimp and sausage skillet. Heat a large saute pan over high heat and sear the shrimp until pink. We're going to add the shrimp back into the sauce so make sure not to overcook it. Season with salt and pepper and set it aside.
In the same pan, sear the sliced sausage until browned on both sides. Andouille sausage works great with this dish but you can switch it for another sausage if you prefer.
Remove the sausage and set it aside. In the same pan, saute the chopped red onion and bell pepper until softened. Add the seasonings and aromatics including garlic, oregano, paprika, cayenne, and tomato paste. Stir until everything is coated in the spices and let the tomato paste caramelize, deepening the flavors even more.
Don't worry if the tomato paste sticks to the bottom of the pan. Once you add the white wine, you can use a wooden spoon to scrape off those caramelized bits.
Next, add the chicken broth along with swiss chard and bring the liquid to a boil. Continue to simmer the broth until it's reduced by half.
If you can't find swiss chard, you can substitute it with any other leafy green including spinach, collard greens, kale, or mustard greens.
By now the sauce should be smelling aromatic and have a wonderful depth of flavor. Add back the shrimp and sausage to the sauce along with the coconut cream. The coconut cream makes the sauce a bit richer and smooth; you can use heavy cream instead if you prefer. Finally, season with lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
Simmer the skillet for another minute, allowing the proteins to really absorb all of those flavors. Then, remove the pan from heat and garnish with chopped parsley.
Serve the Cajun shrimp and sausage skillet with a bowl of scallion rice and serve with hot sauce on the side if desired.
This dish was straightforward and to the point. It has the right amount of spice and acid, while not feeling heavy. I'll gladly take this shortcut dish over Jambalaya any day of the week!
For more Cajun-inspired recipes check out this Cajun blackened fish!
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