Okay, don’t ask why I called it, Big Easy. In my defense, it does have Cajun spices.
With that said, I made about five versions of this before finally committing to this particular version. And my final solution might surprise you.
Since chicken cooks fast, it’s a quick dish to prepare. In addition, I choose to use long-grain white rice as opposed to the more “traditional” flat egg noodles. I think the rice gives the chicken a chance to stand out… get up and crow, so to speak.
Chef’s Note: This dish comes together quickly so, have everything on hand and prepped.
Cook the rice according to package direction; however, use about 1/4 of a cup less water.
When it finishes cooking, remove from heat, leave covered, and reserve.
Chef’s Tip: White rice calls for 2 cups of water for every cup of rice. One-and-a-half cups of white rice would normally require 3 cups of water. If you cut that back by a quarter cup, the rice will have a bit more bite to it. For this recipe that’s a good thing.
Cut the cleaned/stemmed mushrooms into quarters.
Cut the sausage into 1/2-inch slices. On the bias.
Chef’s Note: About the sausage. Many similar recipes call for kielbasa; however, I found that using one of three sausages really makes this dish kick.
For a Cajun taste with a touch of Thai, add SAI UA: A type of sausage from Chiang Mai that is highly regarded in the best of Thailand. It is a slightly spicy grilled pork sausage containing red curry spices and fresh herbs. The taste of finely shredded kaffir lime leaves, coriander leaves and lemon grass permeates the sausage. It has a wonderful spicy taste, but it’s difficult to find (this would be my first choice).
For a more Cajun taste, add ANDOUILLE: A spicy smoked Cajun sausage that's used in jambalaya and gumbo. Don't confuse it with the milder French Andouille sausage.
For a Cajun taste with a hint of Italy, add ITALIAN SAUSAGE: A pork sausage that's often added to pasta sauces. For this recipe I would use mild or hot sausage.
Cut the chicken into 1/2-inch cubes.
Combine the seasonings together in a bowl
Thoroughly toss with the chicken pieces in the seasoning, and reserve.
Add two tablespoons of the grapeseed oil to a sauté pan, over medium high heat.
Add the mushrooms and sliced sausage.
Chef’s Tip: Add just a pinch of salt to get the process started.
Sauté until the sausages are thoroughly cooked, and the mushrooms begin to brown.
Chef's Note:Transfer the mushroom/sausage mixture to a bowl and reserve. Leave the sauté pan on the heat.
Before adding the reserved chicken to the sauté pan, dust with the flour.
Add the remaining two tablespoons of grapeseed oil to the pan, and then add the chicken.
Chef's Tip: Sauté the chicken until it is almost, but not quite, cooked through, about 5 minutes. If it's just a bit pink... that's okay.
Make a hole in the middle of the pan, by pushing the chicken to the sides.
Add the tomato paste and the garlic, and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute.
Add the sherry to deglaze the pan.
Chef’s Tip: Use a wooden spoon to scrape up those wonderful brown bits (fonds), and dissolve them into the sherry.
When the sherry is almost evaporated, add the broth, Worcestershire, and the reserved mushroom/sausage mixture.
Bring to a simmer, and allow it to reduce by half, about 8 to 10 minutes.
Remove from the heat, and let rest for 5 minutes.
Chef’s Note: At this point you are supposed to stir in the sour cream. I tried this recipe five times, and every time, something just didn’t seem right. Then, on the fifth try, I left out the sour cream, and just served it on rice. It was wonderful. Use the sour cream if you choose; however, I think that it is spot on without the added sour cream.
Whichever way you choose, serve over the rice. Enjoy.