Baked Summer Ratatouille
One of the first local recipes we made for the Oregon Food Bank's Eat Local Challenge!
I hesitate to call this anything specific, because it’s not really dirty rice. But we’ve got spicy sausage, bell peppers and Penzey’s Cajun spice mix, so I think I’ve earned calling it “Cajunish.”
More importantly, simple, it’s spicy and it’s a tasty weeknight meal (or weekend meal, really- it’s fast enough for a weeknight, so a weekend would be no problem).
Here’s what you need:
Start with the rice: Put the brown rice and about a tablespoon of olive oil in a saucepan on medium heat. Toast for about ten minutes, stirring occasionally. The rice should turn partially translucent but not brown. After the ten minutes are up, add 1 cup of chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Add the second cup of chicken stock after the first has been absorbed, and the cup of water after the second cup of chicken stock has been absorbed – sort of risotto-style. Just a note: I’m using some stock and some water because even low sodium chicken stock is pretty darn salty, and so I almost never use straight up chicken stock (from a store, anyway).
While the rice is cooking (I would start when you are about halfway there), brown the sausage in a skillet (if you are using links, either slice them into rounds or cut them open and squeeze out the ground meat). When the sausage is cooked, remove from the skillet but leave the grease. Set the sausage aside, off the heat. Add a tablespoon of olive oil or so and sautee the onions and green peppers. When the onions are translucent, which will be after just a couple of minutes, add the sausage back in and also add your seasonings. I believe we used about a teaspoon of the Penzey’s mix. Add in the half cup of water and the hot sauce as well, and stir. Allow the water to simmer away so the meat and veggies absorb the seasonings as the rice finishes cooking.
When the rice is ready, add it into the skillet too, and stir everything to combine. Add the garlic at the same time, and allow the temperature to normalize between the two mixtures. The garlic will cook while this is going on – it takes very, very little time to cook. This will make two meal-sized servings, plus a tiny bit extra.