Emeril’s Andouille and Chicken Jambalaya

Emeril's Andouille Sausage and Chicken Jambalaya2 Dinner Is Served

With Super Bowl Sunday and Mardi Gras right around the corner, now is the perfect time to offer this soul warming jambalaya which I have been making ever since purchasing Emeril Lagasse’s Louisiana Real & Rustic cookbook about 20 years ago (wow..time sure does fly when you’re cooking a lot).  It’s one of the few recipes I made the first time exactly as written and have not made any alterations since.

The secret to transforming what is a very simple list of ingredients into this richly flavored and complex dish is the technique.  Don’t rush the process and add the ingredients exactly as written.Emeril's Andouille Sausage and Chicken Jambalaya3 Dinner Is Served

It’s all about the slow caramelization and layering of flavors and seasonings.  Slow cooked onions and peppers melt into the browned andouille sausage.  By the time the rice is added to saute, you should have beautifully browned bits in the bottom of the pan which, when deglazed with water, add an incredible richness.

A few specifics about the ingredients.  I know 1/2 cup of vegetable oil seems like a lot and honestly the first time I made this dish, I thought it was a typo!  But it does end up getting absorbed by the meat and rice and this makes a generous 8 portions so that amounts to about 1 TBS per serving.  Your choice of course.  If you wanted to reduce it to, say 1/3 cup go for it!

For the rice, I prefer medium grain rice, which will give you a slightly stickier texture reminiscent of risotto.  Long grain is fine too but I would caution against some brown rices that may take longer to cook (check the package to be sure!). Medium Grain Rice

Finally for the meat, I just LOVE this combination of spicy andouille sausage and tender chicken thighs.  You can also use a combination of chicken breasts and thighs or, just breasts alone.  And if you’re not a huge fan of spice, regular kielbasa or any kind of smoked sausage can be substituted for the andouille.

Jambalaya is perfect “one pot meal” for a group of friends or Sunday supper with the family.  Easy, economical and comforting on a chilly day.  I absolutely LOVE this recipe and have not and probably will not ever change a thing!

Until next time, be well, eat well and love lots.

Emeril's Andouille Sausage and Chicken Jambalaya5 Dinner Is Served

Emeril’s Andouille and Chicken Jambalaya*

  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 cups chopped onions
  • 1 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 1 pound andouille sausage (or regular kielbasa), sliced 1/4″-thick
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless, chicken thighs, cut into 1″ pieces (or a combination of breast and thigh meat)
  • 3 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 3 cups medium-grain white rice
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 cup chopped green onions

Heat the oil in a large, heavy bottom Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions, bell peppers, 2 tsp of salt and 1 tsp of cayenne pepper. Stirring often, brown the vegetables for about 20 minutes or until they are caramelized and dark brown in color (lower heat after first 10 minutes if vegetables start to scorch).

Add the sausage and cook, stirring often for 10-15 minutes, scraping the bottom and sides of the pot to loosen any browned particles.

Season the chicken with the remaining 1 tsp of salt and remaining 1/4 tsp of cayenne pepper then add to the pot along with the bay leaves. Brown the chicken for about 8-10 minutes, continuing to scrape the browned particles from the bottom of the pot.

Add the rice and stir for 2 to 3 minutes to coat evenly. Turn up heat and add about a cup of the water and bring to a boil scraping up remaining browned bits.  Add remaining 5 cups of water.  Cover, then reduce heat to medium/medium-low and simmer for about 30 to 35 minutes or until rice is tender and liquid has been absorbed.

Remove the pot from the heat and let stand, covered, for about 5 minutes.  Remove bay leaves.  Stir in chopped green onions and serve.

Serves 8-10

* Recipe adapted from Emeril Lagasse Louisiana Real & Rustic


Pork, Pepper & Pineapple Skewers with Hoisin Glaze

Pork, Pepper & Pineapple Skewers (5).jpgWhat an evil tease.  This Spring in the Midwest. March was so winter-like, the season was dubbed “sprinter” (spring + winter). April we fared a little better, although I still recall having to wear my parka on occasion so not completely out of the woods.

Now, finally a string of nice days in Chicagoland, so I am officially kicking off grill season!  And what better way to usher in the warmer weather than these beautiful and easy pork, pepper and pineapple skewers.  A family favorite at the Dinner Is Served household.Pork, Pepper & Pineapple Skewers (4)

This classic combo always makes me think tropics..luau..grab an umbrella drink and sing Don Ho tunes.  With lean pork tenderloin, pineapple and colorful peppers, it also wins in the healthy, low-fat category.Pork, Pepper & Pineapple Skewers (6)

Perhaps the best part of these skewers, however is the hoisin glaze which is a ridiculously easy combination of ketchup, hoisin and minced jalapeno peppers.  If you’re a fan of of Moo-Shu pork, you’re already well acquainted with hoisin: a most versatile, thick, soy-based Asian condiment. This serves as both a glaze and a dipping saucePork, Pepper & Pineapple Skewers (2)

A few notes before I jump right in to the recipe:

  • You can definitely substitute chicken for the pork! My preference would be to use boneless skinless thigh meat. Breast meat works too but will cook more quickly.
  • You’ll note I did not add onions to my skewers. They remain a “no go” with the young adult crowd in my house but by all means feel free add some red onion wedges as you please.
  • Gluten-free hoisin can be used, making this a 100% gluten-free entree

Happy (FINALLY) Spring to one and all from Dinner Is ServedPork, Pepper and Pineapple Skewers with Hoisin Glaze - Dinner Is Served

Pork, Pepper & Pineapple Skewers with Hoisin Glaze*

  • 1 pork tenderloin (about 1 1/2#), trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
  • 3 large sweet bell peppers, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • About 1/2 of a fresh pineapple, cored and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 medium red onion cut into wedges (optional)
  • Canola oil
  • Salt and coarse ground black pepper

Hoisin Glaze and Sauce

  • 1/3 cup Hoisin sauce
  • 1/3 cup ketchup
  • 1 TBS minced jalapeno pepper (or spicy pepper of your choice)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients for the glaze in a small bowl.  Set aside about half for dipping and the other half for glazing.  (can be prepared up to two days ahead and refrigerated)

For skewers, toss the pork in a bowl with salt and pepper to taste.  In a separate bowl, combine peppers with a drizzle of canola oil, tossing to coat.

Thread pork, peppers, pineapple and onion (if using) onto metal or wooden skewers. Sear on a hot grill for a few minutes per side. Then move to medium heat; brush with a little of the glaze and continue to grill (turning and glazing a few more times) until pork is cooked through (about 15-20 minutes in total) and peppers and pineapple are slightly charred.

Serve with jasmine rice and  reserved hoisin sauce for dipping.

Serves 4

* Adapted from Big Flavors of the Hot Sun, Chris Schlesinger and John Willoughby, 1994.




Pork Medallions with Balsamic, Rosemary & Honey Glaze


Pork Medallions with Balsamic, Rosemary & Honey Glaze | Dinner Is ServedThis recipe dates back to the very infant stages of my food writing in the early 2000’s before blogging was a thing. In fact, it was the very first recipe I shared with my friends and personal chef clients via a monthly e-newsletter and remains one of  my favorite ways to prepare pork tenderloin. It’s an under 30 minute meal and I am not fudging with that number one bit. In fact, if this takes you longer than 30 minutes to prepare, drop me a line and I’ll personally come to your home and make it for you!

Other reasons to love this recipe: it’s low in fat, gluten free, budget friendly, and dinner-party-worthy.

The fragrant honey balsamic glaze is the key to this dish, starting with a culinary match made in heaven: garlic and rosemary Balsamic Rosemary Pork Tenderloin 1

And here is more rosemary that has been chopped (ok I just really wanted to show off this adorable measuring spoon)Balsamic Rosemary Pork Tenderloin 2

I like to use aged balsamic vinegar for this recipe and some of my favorite  Gentle Breeze Honey from just across the border in Wisconsin. You can also substitute agave nectar if you prefer.

Gentle Breeze Honey

Now it’s simply a matter of combining the glaze ingredients, pouring them over some nicely seared pork tenderloin medallions and dinner is ready in about 10 minutes!

Balsamic Rosemary Pork Tenderloin 3

I like to serve this with creamy polenta (Try Colavita’s Instant Polenta cooked according to package directions, with a little Parmesan and mascarpone cheese mixed in at the end for extra creaminess), and a simple green bean saute or cooked carrots for color.  One of those rare dishes that is perfect for a hectic weeknight and yet elegant enough to serve to company. So the next time a friend pops by unannounced  OR it’s 4:00 pm and you’ve just remembered that your spouse’s boss is coming over for dinner at 5:00, this is your go to meal.

Until we meet again, happy cooking!

 Pork Medallions with Balsamic, Rosemary & Honey Glaze

For the glaze:

4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 TBS. chopped fresh rosemary

½ C. balsamic vinegar, preferably aged

3 TBS honey or agave nectar

2 TBS olive oil

1 TBS Dijon mustard

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the pork:

1 ¾ to 2 pounds pork tenderloin, trimmed (see Note>)

Canola or vegetable oil for searing

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 350°.

Place all ingredients for glaze into a small, non-reactive bowl or jar and whisk to combine. Season to taste with salt & pepper. (Glaze can be made up to one day in advance. Cover and refrigerate, then bring back to room temperature before using).

For the pork, slice the tenderloin(s) into 1-inch thick medallions (rounds). Season both  sides with salt and pepper. Coat the bottom of a medium skillet with a light film of oil and heat over medium-high heat until hot (a splatter screen and good ventilation are very helpful when searing any kind of meat).   Add the pork slices in one layer and sear for about 1 -2 minutes. Turn and sear for 1 more minute or so, until lightly browned. Transfer the slices in 1 layer to a shallow baking dish (or if your skillet is oven proof you may just keep the pork in the skillet, pour the glaze over and bake).

Pour the glaze over the slices and turn them to coat.

Roast for 8-12 minutes, or until cooked through and just barely pink in the middle. Remove from the oven and keep warm, loosely covered until ready to serve. To serve, place medallions on a platter and spoon some of the glaze over them. Garnish with sprigs of fresh rosemary.

Serves: 3-4

Note> Be sure your tenderloin has been properly trimmed and all excess fat and silver skin removed. For instructions on how to do this at home, check out this video: “Cooking Tips: How to Trim Fat from Pork Tenderloin


Honey, Lemon and Thyme Grilled Pork Tenderloin


Something food bloggers rarely write about: failures.  We have some, you know.  Perhaps more often than we would care to admit.

Actually, it never hurts to have a failure now and then to bring us down to the reality which is: for every successful recipe and stunning photo, there are probably a dozen or more rejects.  The recipe I’m posting today is actually one that started off as a reject.

This  was supposed to be a salad dressing recipe.  And seriously, who doesn’t love the flavors of honey and lemon?  The thought of it served over crisp spinach or escarole sounded so appealing.  But one taste of the finished product left me very ho hum and on the verge of tossing it not with greens but down the disposal.

In the end, frugality won out, and I decided to instead use the dressing as a marinade for a pork tenderloin.  Lo and behold: SUCCESS!  Just a few hours of marinating was enough to give the pork a bit of sweet acidity and caramelization on the grill.  I loved every single bite AND I enjoyed the salad that I made with dressing attempt #2 (my “go to” white balsamic vinaigrette).

It’s fresh and versatile, perfect for pork, chicken, lamb or vegetables.  Of course, you’re welcome to try it as a salad dressing.  Just because it didn’t float my boat doesn’t mean it won’t make your day.

Honey Lemon Pork Collage

Honey, Lemon and Thyme Grilled Pork Tenderloin

1 medium to large pork tenderloin, trimmed


1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

1 tablespoon honey

1/2 teaspoon chopped thyme ( or substitute fresh rosemary)

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Kosher salt and coarsely ground black pepper

Two small lemons sliced thick (optional garnish)

In a small bowl, whisk the lemon juice with the lemon zest, honey and thyme. Whisk in the olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Place tenderloin and marinade into a resealable plastic bag or a non reactive bowl.  Turn to coat.  Refrigerate and marinate for 4 hours or up to 8.

Remove tenderloin from marinade, reserving marinade and pat dry.  Season with a little extra salt and pepper.  Prepare a charcoal or gas grill for medium-high indirect grilling.  Place on grill, cover and cook for about five minutes.  Then turn and brush with some of the reserved marinade.  Cover and continue cooking on indirect heat for about another 10 minutes.  Turn again and brush with remaining marinade.  Continue to cook until internal temperature of the pork reaches 140°, about 5 minutes longer.   Transfer pork to a rimmed cutting board and cover loosely with foil.

While pork is resting, lightly brush lemon slices with olive oil.  Grill for about two minutes on each side until browned.

Slice pork and serve with grilled lemon slices, drizzling any accumulated juices over the top.

Serves 3-4

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Sandwich

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork BBQ | Dinner Is Served

A miracle occurred in my kitchen last night that I must share.  I got a solid round of  “thanks for dinner,” followed by “can I have seconds,” followed by clean plates.  It’s enough to make me weep for joy.  And the best part is that this meal of adoration took me probably ten minutes of preparation.  Well, and 8 hours in my slow cooker, but that doesn’t really count.

My spice blend of choice this time around was Red Rocks Hickory Smoke Seasoning  from a new spice shop that just opened nearby.   My bbq sauce, always Sweet Baby Rays, but of course I’m always willing to entertain other suggestions from my listening audience.

For now, I’m content with my fifteen minutes of fame which happily will spill over to today, for another miracle has occurred: we actually have leftovers!

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Sandwich

For spice rub:

2 TBS EACH kosher salt, brown sugar and chili powder

1 TBS black pepper

2 tsp dried oregano

¼ tsp cayenne pepper

For Sandwiches:

5 lb boneless pork shoulder roast, trimmed

2 onions, sliced

¾ cup purchased barbecue sauce, divided (see Note>)

¼ cup low sodium chicken broth

8 Kaiser rolls

Shredded iceberg lettuce (optional)

Sliced red onion (optional)

Additional barbecue sauce

Combine salt, brown sugar, chili powder, black pepper, oregano and cayenne for spice rub.

Rub pork shoulder with spice mixture to coat.  Place onions, ¼ cup barbecue sauce, and broth in a 6-7 qt. slow cooker, stirring to combine; top with pork.  Cover; cook until pork is fork tender, on high-setting for 5-6 hours or ln low setting for 7-8 hours.

Transfer pork to a platter along with 1 cup of the onions;  discard remaining contents of slow cooker.  Using two forks, shred pork.  Return pork and onions to slow cooker.  Add remaining barbecue sauce to slow cooker; toss pork to coat with sauce.

Serve pork on toasted Kaiser rolls topped with lettuce, red onion and additional barbecue sauce.

Makes 8 sandwiches

Note> I used Sweet Baby Rays regular BBQ sauce.  For a more “smoky” flavor, use a hickory smoked sauce.   Also, the amount of sauce you add is just to your taste.  I added a good deal more sauce after shredding.

Sausage, Potato and Rosemary Packets

Mixed Sausage

One of the many advantages of having a food blog is that it allows you to procrastinate on doing things you’d rather not be doing.  For example today, I should be outside running my 3 miles.  But I’m feeling a bit lazy so I decided to post a recipe first.  Food first…always.

I’m also thinking about this meal and wishing it were dinner time!  For anyone who is busy and dislikes cleaning up (ok, that’s probably ALL of you), this meal is for you!  Flavorful sausage , onions, garlic and rosemary all one happy family baking together in a foil packet which gets tossed at the end.  Prep work is minimal and clean up is non existent.

Well I could say more, but I’m guessing most of you would rather go right to the recipe.  That means it’s time to get my running shoes on.

On second thought, perhaps I should check my Facebook page just one more time…..

Sausage, Potato and Rosemary Packets

1 TBS good quality olive oil
4 medium onions (about 1 pound total), cut into wedges
12 small Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled or unpeeled
About 16 cloves garlic cloves, unpeeled
Kosher salt and coarsely ground black pepper
6 Italian sausages (about 1 pound total), mild or hot or combination
1 pound kielbasa sausage, cut into 4 pieces
2-3 sprigs fresh rosemary
1 TBS chopped fresh parsley

Heat oven to 425º Arrange a piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil about 18 inches wide by 36 inches long on a cookie sheet, so that half the foil covers the pan and the remainder extends beyond it at either end. Pour the olive oil over the foil covering the pan, then rub the onion wedges in the oil to coat them. Distribute the potatoes and garlic around the onions and sprinkle with salt. Finally, scatter the sausages throughout and place the rosemary on top. Fold the foil overhang over the mixture and fold in the sides to secure in a tight packet.

Bake for 1 hour. Using potholders, transfer the package from the pan to a platter. Open carefully; sprinkle with parsley and serve.

Serves 4-5

Paprika Pork Stroganoff with Buttered Noodles

2 TBS olive oil

2 cups thinly sliced onion

1 lb. pork tenderloin, sliced very thinly

2 TBS sweet paprika

1 cup low-sodium chicken broth

½ cup sour cream (either regular or lite)

⅛ cup chopped fresh parsley (or more to taste)

Kosher salt and coarsely ground pepper

8-12 oz. egg noodles

2 tsp butter or margarine

Kosher salt

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook egg noodles according to package directions (usually about 7 minutes). Drain and return to pot. Add butter and a pinch of salt; cover and keep warm.

Heat oil in a sauté pan over medium-high heat.  Add onion and cook until softened and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add pork; cook until lightly browned, turning frequently, about 3-5 minutes. Stir in paprika; cook one minute, then add broth. Bring sauce to a boil and simmer to reduce liquid, about 4-5 minutes.

Remove stroganoff from heat.  Stir in sour cream until smooth; season with salt and pepper. Serve stroganoff over buttered noodles.  Top with the chopped parsley.

Serves 4

Maple Glazed Bacon Wrapped Pork Tenderloin


Maple Glazed Bacon Wrapped Pork Tenderloin

2 pork tenderloins, about 12 oz. each, trimmed ( or alternatively one larger tenderloin)

Kosher salt

Coarsely ground black pepper


6-8 medium thick slices bacon

1/2 cup pure maple syrup


Sprinkle tenderloins with salt and pepper.  Place in a bowl or shallow dish.  Cover, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.


Meanwhile soak toothpicks in water and prepare a gas or charcoal grill for medium-high, indirect grilling (variation: soak some applewood chips to add just before cooking)


Wrap bacon slices around pork, securing with toothpicks.  Place on grill and brown for a few minutes, covered.  Baste with some maple syrup and continue to grill for about 20-25 minutes, turning and basting occasionally with the maple syrup.


The pork should be done in 20-25 minutes total, or until the internal temperature reaches about 150° and the bacon is uniformly crispy.


Remove from grill and let sit at room temperature for about 5 minutes before slicing.  Serve with accumulated juices!


Serves 4