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A&E >  Food

It’s Not Cajun Until You Add The Andouille

Bev Bennett Los Angeles Times Service

Andouille, Louisiana’s best-loved spicy, smoked sausage, is as essential to Cajun cooking as chorizo is to Mexican cooking.

It used to be so scarce in other parts of the country that you’d have to mail-order it days in advance if you ever had hopes of making an authentic jambalaya. Thanks to the popularity of Paul Prudhomme, Emeril Lagasse and other Louisiana cooks, andouille is now sold in many gourmet food stores, butcher shops and major supermarkets.

If you’d like to try making it yourself, you can follow the recipe in Lagasse’s book, “Louisiana Real & Rustic” (William Morrow and Co., 1996). One look at the ingredients will tell you why it’s so popular: chili powder, paprika, cumin, file powder, oregano, thyme, crushed red pepper, plenty of garlic. This isn’t just sausage, it’s a seasoning mix.

I especially like andouille in saucy dishes to which I’d ordinarily add half a dozen spices. The sausage does it all. Creole sauce, a well-simmered blend of onions, bell peppers and celery, gets a bite when a little andouille sausage is mixed in. And what about a standard gumbo with andouille? It’s a delightful, savory stew.

The following recipe for Shrimp and Andouille Sausage Over Linguine is one of my favorite ways to showcase this ingredient. (Look for andouille in Spokane area gourmet stores and larger supermarkets; if you can’t find it, you can substitute another spicy sausage.)

Follow this heady entree with the sweet, refreshing flavor of anise in an orange, fennel and olive salad. If you’ve never worked with fresh fennel, this salad is a delicious introduction.

Choose firm, white bulbs, trim off the stem end and the fernlike leaves, then thinly slice the bulb and separate into sections. Add the sliced stalks. Use regular olive oil; extra-virgin oil would overpower the ingredients.

Shrimp and Andouille Sausage Over Linguine

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 garlic clove, minced

1 small onion, chopped

1 celery stalk, trimmed and chopped

1 small green bell pepper, cored, seeded and diced

1/4 pound andouille sausage, sliced 1/4 inch thick

1/4 cup dry red wine

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 cup canned crushed tomatoes

1/2 pound peeled, uncooked, medium shrimp

1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

Juice of 1/2 lemon

Salt, freshly ground black pepper

1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1/2 pound cooked linguine

Heat oil in medium skillet. Add garlic, onion, celery and green pepper and saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Add sausage and brown, about 2 minutes. Stir in wine and scrape up any browned bits in skillet.

Add tomato paste and crushed tomatoes and simmer 10 minutes for flavors to blend. Stir in shrimp and basil and simmer until shrimp are done, about 5 minutes, stirring gently.

Stir in lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste and red pepper flakes and simmer 1 minute. Stir in cooked linguine and toss gently but well. Serve hot.

Yield: 2 servings.

Nutrition information per serving: 878 calories, 33.3 grams fat (34 percent fat calories), 37 grams protein, 106 grams carbohydrate, 125 milligrams choelsterol, 779 milligrams sodium.

Orange, Fennel and Olive Salad

1 orange, peeled and cut into bite-size pieces

1 small fennel bulb, trimmed and thinly sliced into bite-size pieces

2 tablespoons black olives (preferably kalamata or Nicoise)

1 tablespoon lemon juice

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon minced parsley

Salt, freshly ground black pepper


Combine orange, fennel and olives in medium bowl.

Combine lemon juice, olive oil, parsley and salt and pepper to taste in small bowl. Stir well and pour over orange mixture. Toss gently but well.

Line 2 salad plates with lettuce and arrange half the salad on each plate.

Yield: 2 servings.

Nutrition information per serving: 187 calories, 14.8 grams fat (71 percent fat calories), 2 grams protein, 14 grams carbohydrate, no cholesterol, 127 milligrams sodium.

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