Cajun Chicken & Andouille Sausage Pasta
Disclaimer: I’ve never been to Louisiana. I am not French, Creole, Cajun or even the slightest bit southern. “BAM!” sounds ridiculous coming from my mouth. The only qualification I have for preparing a Cajun recipe is that I like spicy food. That being said, this recipe for “Cajun Chicken & Andouille Sausage Pasta” makes my family happy and therefore I am sharing it with you.
advice from my favorite cajun
If I told you my cousin married a man from Louisiana (born in New Orleans and raised in Lafayette), would that help? It does when he clarifies a few things for this midwest farmer’s daughter. I asked him what he would want people to know about Cajun food:
- Cajun and creole are not the same thing. New Orleans is creole – much more Spanish and Haitian influence and more tomatoes.
- “Cajun” is a phonetic derivative of the French word “acadian”. Acadiana is the region in south central Louisiana where you find true Cajun food – all of which is based on classical French cuisine and adapted to what could be grown very cheaply as the people were poor.
- Food and family are the absolute heart of Acadiana – so we pour all of our love for God and each other into our dishes.
I think my cousin married well … don’t you??
cajun + chicken + Pasta
Pasta is not the first thing I think of when it comes to Cajun/Creole food. Rice might be more authentic and could certainly be adapted into this recipe. As is the case with so many recipes, this one seems to be a melting-pot version: taking elements from a variety of cultures (or what’s available in the pantry) and making something different.
Andouille is a French sausage that was brought to Louisiana, as so many wonderful foods are, by immigrants. It is a spicy sausage but I have quickly learned that heat levels vary greatly among different brands. The one used for this post was disappointingly mild … which might be perfect for you. My best advice is to ask and try. Before adding all the cooked sausage to the dish, try it. If it’s too spicy, don’t add it all. If it’s not spicy enough, consider adding more cayenne pepper or Tabasco sauce. Make notes on the brands you like or don’t like on the recipe so it will turn out perfect next time.
There are many Cajun seasoning blends on the store shelf and, like the Andouille, they vary in heat levels too. It is not difficult to make your own blend and it is always a good idea to look for a recipe by someone you trust. In this case, I’d go to Emeril Lagasse. Here is his recipe for Creole Seasoning. Yes, it’s “creole” instead of “cajun”. There is no intent to mislead or misrepresent. It will be delicious.
Just say “BAM!” when you add it and all will be well.
Cajun Chicken and Andouille Pasta
- 3 tablespoons olive oil divided
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1/2 pound Andouille Sausage cut into 1/2-inch rounds or semi-circles
- 2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning divided
- 1/2 cup diced onion
- 1/2 cup diced green/red pepper
- 1/2 cup diced celery
- 2-3 cloves garlic minced
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme or 3-4 sprigs of fresh
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/2 teaspoon celery salt
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
- 3-4 drops Tabasco sauce
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1 15-ounce can petite diced tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 cups chicken stock/broth
- 8 ounces fettuccini, linguini or penne pasta
- 1/3 cup half-n-half
- 1/2 cup diced green onions
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of Cajun seasoning over diced chicken pieces and place half of the chicken in the pan (do not crowd). Brown chicken on all sides, remove from pan and repeat (adding last tablespoon of olive oil to pan) with the remaining chicken.
- After removing all the chicken pieces, sauté sausage pieces 2-3 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from pan.
- Sauté onion, peppers and celery in the last tablespoon of olive oil for 3-4 minutes; add garlic and continue cooking for another minute, stirring constantly.
- Add thyme, cayenne, black pepper, basil, 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning, celery salt and bay leaf; stir until fragrant (about one minute).
- Stir in Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco sauce and white wine. Simmer for 5 minutes to cook out the alcohol from the wine, stirring frequently to release the browned "bits" of chicken and sausage from the bottom of the pan.
- Add sugar, tomatoes and chicken stock/broth; simmer for 30-45 minutes, or until liquid has reduced by at least half.
- While sauce is simmering, cook pasta according to package directions. Do not overcook as pasta will continue cooking when added to the sauce.
- When the sauce has reduced, remove and discard bay leaf (and fresh thyme stems if using), stir in half-n-half and then the chicken and sausage and return to a simmer. Make sure chicken is fully cooked.
- Add pasta to the sauce and meat and toss until pasta is coated. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup of the Parmesan cheese and 1/4 cup of the green onions.
- Serve with remaining Parmesan cheese and green onions.