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.