Casa del Picky Eaters

Bayou Stew

This is a completely made up dish, inspired partly by a conversation I was having via Twitter about grits, and partly by some Black Farmer sausages being next in line in Project Empty The Freezer. It’s based on Cajun principles, hence Bayou, but is too thick to be gumbo, too riceless to be jambalaya, too meaty to be étouffée. It’s a sausage stew with warming spices, total comfort food, and if you don’t have cheese grits, it would be equally tasty served over mash or rice. Grits are more of a low country thing than a Louisiana staple anyway.

Half a dozen sausages, squeezed from the skins and separated into balls
One green pepper, deseeded and chopped
One medium onion, roughly diced
Two ribs of celery, roughly diced
Creole/Cajun seasoning*
Two cloves of garlic, minced
One tsp cornflour
200ml chicken stock
Three salad tomatoes, quartered
250g thickly sliced mushrooms
Sea salt and black pepper

Gently fry the pepper, onion and celery in olive oil. This is the “holy trinity” of Cajun cooking, the basis of all the good things. When softened, turn the heat up a bit and add the sausage meat balls, and a tablespoon or so of the creole seasoning, and fry to brown the balls. Add the garlic and fry for another minute. Sprinkle the cornflour over and then add the stock, a little at a time, as if you were making risotto. By now you’ll already have a sauce that’s quite thick and glossy. Throw in the tomato quarters and break them up with your wooden spoon. Finally add the mushrooms and allow the stew to gently simmer, covered, for half an hour. Taste the sauce about halfway through and chuck in some more of the seasoning to your taste.

The extra liquid from the tomatoes and mushrooms should thin out the sauce a bit but not to the point of it being watery: it should mostly stay in place on the plate, rather than running off into puddles. If you need to add more cornflour, do.

Season, obviously, and serve.

*Either will work although the effect will be different, so use whichever your have/prefer. Or make your own!

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