Monday, July 30, 2012

Smoky Shrimp & Sausage with Roasted Mini Sweet Peppers


Sausage and peppers over rice is a tasty & quick dish to prepare which makes it a good choice for weekday dinners. From what I remember we grew up on variations of smoked sausage or Linguiça sauteed with onions and peppers, and the leftovers often appeared the next day over scrambled eggs for breakfast. This week I picked up some great chicken sausage, and a pound of jumbo shrimp on sale. I decided to kick up a no-frills dinner into something that is still easy enough to prepare on a work night, but is special enough to serve for guests. I also wanted to keep it healthy, so you'll notice I am using chicken breast sausage, very little oil and no additional salt.The shrimp, sausage, onions and  pepper combination will make you think jambalaya visually, but the smoked paprika and lemon really adds an element of flavor that is more like Paella, especially when served over yellow rice (mine was flavored with turmeric instead of saffron.) I grilled mini sweet peppers before for my pineapple salsa, but I've gotta say roasting really brought out the sweetness a little better. I found a bag of peppers on sale for $3, which is about half off, but if they're too expensive where you shop just use red and yellow bell peppers. It's funny, I've been brainstorming ideas all week to come up with something new and exciting to do with this chicken sausage, but sometimes the best meals are the ones that bring us back to tried & true classics.

Smoky Shrimp & Chicken Sausage
with Roasted Mini Sweet Peppers

Ingredients:
1 lb jumbo shrimp, peeled & deveined
1 lb chicken breast sausage
4 cups mini sweet peppers (large bag)
1 large red onion, sliced
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp coriander
1 tbsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp Liquid Smoke
1 lemon + zest
2 tbsp Italian flat leaf parsley, chopped
1 tbsp mint leaves, chopped
Olive oil

Servings: 4
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Equipment Needed: Large skillet, roasting pan

Preheat oven to 400°. Chop the stems off the mini peppers and slice in half, lengthwise. Remove the seeds & membranes. Toss in a little olive oil (seriously, just a little...a couple teaspoons is fine) and place skin side up in roasting pan. 


Roast approximately 30 minutes or until browned and beginning to blister. Remove from roasting pan and set aside (or time this so they're ready to be added straight to the pan later.) What you see below is one batch; I roasted two pans of peppers based on the amount of shrimp & sausage I was cooking.


This is one of those meals that all comes together pretty quickly once you get the skillet going, so you'll want to have all  your prep work done while the peppers roast. Chop your veggies and herbs, clean your shrimp, mince your garlic, etc. Slice the chicken sausage on a bias and set aside.


To prepare a quick marinade for the shrimp, toss them in the smoked paprika, coriander, minced garlic and Liquid Smoke. Add the lemon zest and juice of 1/2 the lemon, saving the rest of the lemon for later. Refrigerate the shrimp for 10 minutes or so. 


In a large skillet heated to medium high, cook the sliced onions in a little olive oil until softened.


Add the sliced sausage and cook until both onions and sausage have browned. 


I added just a pinch of smoked paprika and coriander to season my sausage. Most of the seasoning will come from the liquid in the shrimp so don't go crazy here.


Remove the sausage and onions from the pan and set aside. Add the shrimp & marinating liquid to the skillet and cook 2 -3 minutes until shrimp is opaque. 


Return sausage and onions to the pan. Add the roasted peppers, fresh parsley and mint. Reduce heat, gently stir to incorporate all ingredients and simmer for an additional 2 - 3 minutes. I loved how the shrimp ended up making its own sauce as it cooked, so I didn't need to add any broth! Finish by squeezing the remaining fresh lemon juice. Serve hot over brown rice.


To complete the meal as a Sunday Dinner, I cooked up a quick pan of turmeric rice. To make the rice, I sauteed a little minced garlic and ginger in olive oil, and then reheated some cooked brown rice I had on hand earlier, adding about 1/2 tsp turmeric powder.  The great thing about cooking a batch of plain brown rice is that it's easy to reheat with different seasonings later, instead of having to make separate batches!



To add some fresh veggies to my plate, I blanched and then sauteed fresh green beans in a little bit of garlic and ginger:


And as a final touch, I made homemade biscuits.  These gouda cheese & garlic biscuits were pretty tasty but I'm looking forward to perfecting them before I publish my recipe!