Homer Simpson said it best: “Mmmm, sausage.”
Homer-erotic subtext aside (sorry, couldn’t resist the puns), I think the world would be a happier place if we ate more sausage. Certainly, it is an ingredient I adore and based on the popularity of my Tagine with Merguez Sausage and Winter Vegetables, one of my first posts, sausage is also loved by many visiting these pages. So, it is time to add another recipe.
The inspiration for this came when I spied fresh chorizo sausage at the local grocery and I bought them on a bit of whim. And, before I finished shopping, my purchase had taken shape in my head as the recipe that follows. When I lived in Poland, I devised a “lazy” jambalaya dish using a fresh garlic sausage I often bought … and so I got thinking, could I do something similar, but without white rice? So when I got home, I looked at by bag of quinoa — we had a moment — and I asked: “Are you game?”
In truth, I wasn’t sure what to call this. Sausage and Quinoa didn’t have much of ring. I know purists are going to smack me for calling this a jambalaya since it doesn’t follow the strict technique or have all the right ingredients, but, the fact is, the flavours were bang-on, so let the re-invention continue. Beyond the warm flavours of this dish, what made it a real keeper was that it was less than 60 minutes, start to finish, one pot, and perfect for a weeknight dinner.
Cooking notes: Just remember, there are lots of different chorizo in the world. The Spanish version is generally dry-cured, and while delicious, is more flavourful and won’t work in this dish … so make sure you look for the ‘fresh’ sausage that requires cooking. And the kale, you ask? Who eats kale? Trust me, not only won’t you ‘notice’ this ingredient as kale (Anne swore it was basil), it adds incredible nutritional value and, along with the quinoa, makes this a complete meal.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes
Total time: 60 minutes
Chorizo and Quinoa Jambalaya
- 1 lb (450g) fresh chorizo sausage, cut into 1-inch (2-cm) chunks
- 1 tablespoon (15mL) olive oil
- 1 teaspoon (5mL) paprika
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1½ cups (1 large) onion, diced
- 1 red/yellow/orange bell pepper, julienne
→ For greater effect, use an assortment of colours
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary
- 1½ cups (375mL) chicken stock
- 2 cups (500mL) tomato sauce
- 1 cup kale, chiffonade
- 1¾ cups quinoa, washed and drained
- chili flakes/paste (to taste and optional)
- salt and pepper (to taste)
- 1 teaspoon sugar (optional, depending on bitterness of tomato sauce)
- 1/4 cup cilantro leaves, chopped for garnish
- Place a large pan (that has a lid) or Dutch oven over medium heat and add oil. Add onions and sauté for 5 minutes until translucent and lightly golden.
Add the bell peppers and continue to sauté for another 2-3 minutes.
Add the sausage and continue to cook over medium heat for another 5 minutes, until lightly browned.
Stir in the rosemary, garlic, and paprika and fry for another minute.
- Rinse the quinoa under water and drain well…
… then add quinoa and kale to the sausage mixture.
Add the chicken stock and deglaze the pan and then stir in the tomato sauce.
Add optional chili flakes and taste for salt, overall spiciness, and, if bitter, add a teaspoon or so of sugar.
- Cover and reduce heat to low and simmer for 20-25 minutes until much (but not all) of liquid has been absorbed. Quinoa will have ‘uncurled’ and be almost cooked and there will still be a ‘sauce’ in the pan. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, for 10 minutes.
Lightly fluff with a fork and check for seasoning. Plate it and garnish with fresh cilantro and serve.
Beer Pairing: Any Double/Imperial IPA (e.g. Joseph Bellarmin, 10 Bitter Years, Hopkins, or Twice as Mad Tom)
Wine Pairing: Any full-bodied Spanish wine with loads of tempranillo.
I was immediately intrigued by this dish — a perfect remedy to cope with the past several days of -20C. As suspected, fresh chorizo was not to be found at the local grocer. Undaunted, I opted for fresh organic hot Italian sausage. The onions and peppers were sautéed and the sausage was browning nicely. In goes garlic and chopped rosemary and ….. what???? no paprika!! It seems the “occasional-helper-in-the kitchen” neglected to mention he used it all up when mixing spices for the fresh lamb I substituted for the Merguez sausage in your Tagine recipe…there’s a theme here but I digress. Deep breath…. I suspected this dish isn’t to be spicy, but what the heck….the wind is blowing and it’s still -20 a little warmth won’t hurt! So, a pinch of cayenne and a dash of chili flakes. It was delicious! A bit spicier than you might have intended but it warmed our souls and our toes!
Hi Joy — thank you so much for sharing your experience (and adventure) with the making this dish. I’m so glad it worked out for you and that it’s bringing warmth to your stomach … and toes. I can so relate to your woes from helping elves in the kitchen. Must be a solution to that in the future. Perhaps locks on the cupboards or a biometric scan before people enter and leave. 🙂
And you’re right, the dish isn’t intended to be spicy, but everyone can control that as you did by choosing spicier (or milder) sausage and adding some extra chiles. Sounds great.
I will be doing this one for sure, Dale! (And I put kale in everything – well almost….).
Nice variation for sure. Oh, and by the way, it’s your recipe, you can call it whatever you want! 😉
Thank you Dale … and thank you for the words of encouragement. You’re so right. I keep having flashbacks to scenes from TopChef when judges like Tom Colicchio go up one side and down the other of chef’s who have the “nerve” to give their dishes classic names and then fail to be authentic. But hey, this isn’t Tom’s kitchen so, I say, let the proletariat rise up and rule his/her own domain.
Of course you watch Top Chef… 🙂
Will you be watching Masterchef Canada? I applied, you know! Never even got a call back. Oh well….
I actually haven’t watched much of Top Chef for awhile and I gave Masterchef a try for a few episodes before I gave up. I just couldn’t take any more of Ramsay and my time just consumed elsewhere …. Now, I just seem to follow the results in the media. 🙂
Ahhh… but this is MasterChef CANADA… there is no Ramsay! Mind you, I’ve never heard of the three judges – well, yes, no, not really. We do have the Dragon Chef so I guess he’ll be the mean one. I’ve yet to watch the first episode that’s on my PVR… we’ll see, eh?