Cajun cooking was pretty foreign to me until recently. In the mid-2000s my aunt relocated to Louisiana and fell in love with a man who had lived his whole in the suburbs of New Orleans. My now uncle loves to cook his favorite Louisiana meals when we have large family get togethers and ever since my first bite of gumbo I’ve been hooked.
My friend Rachel and I love swapping recipes, and she recently sent me this great dish from Closet Cooking. I read it over and thought that the dish had a lot of potential, I love all of the ingredients and I bought a lot of cajun seasoning awhile back so I wanted to give it a try.
Reading over the ingredient list, there were a few things I wanted to change. We don’t cook with a lot of butter and I didn’t want to use heavy cream. I also find blanched kale to be really dull. A few substitutions later and we had a delicious (and spicy) dinner. Nick gave it a “two thumbs up” and can’t wait for me to make it again.
Do not get overwhelmed by this ingredients list. This dish is packed full of vegetables and spices, but it’s relatively easy and you will be surprised at how much you have on hand already. If you’re on a budget, wait for shrimp to go on sale, I grabbed some for $6.49/lb this week off the regular $11.99! The dish will serve four generous dinner portions plus one lunch-sized meal. If you’re comparing notes, you’ll see that I upped the amount of sausage, it came in a four pack anyway and this was an easy way to stretch the meal.
Cajun Shrimp with Andouille “Cream” Sauce & Sweet Mashed Potatoes
For the Potatoes
- 2 sweet potatoes, medium sized
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp butter
For the Kale
- 1 bunch kale
- salt and pepper, to taste
- olive oil for drizzling
For the Andouille “Cream” Sauce
- 4 andouille sausage links
- 1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
- green bell pepper, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, grated
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1/4 cup white wine
- 1 cup milk
- 1 tbsp flour
- 1 tsp creole or cajun seasoning
For the Cajun Shrimp
- 1 pound shrimp, deveined and peeled
- salt and pepper, to taste
- oliveoil for drizzling
- 2 tsp creole or cajun seasoning
Start off by heating your oven to 400 and when it’s up to temperature, put in the potatoes for one hour.
While the potatoes are cooking, you’ll have a lot of time for prep – dicing veggies and sausage, trimming the kale to form “chips,” cleaning the shrimp etc. Toss your kale chips with salt, pepper, and olive oil and then spread them out on cookie sheets. Toss your shrimp with salt, pepper, cajun seasoning, and olive oil and set aside for the time being.
When the potatoes have 30 minutes left, start heating some oil in a Dutch oven. Add the sausage and saute for 3-4 minutes. Mix in the pepper and onion and saute until the veggies begin to brown, another 3-4 minutes. Stir in the garlic and the thyme for a few seconds and add in the wine to deglaze your pan.
Now it’s time to make your “cream.” In a small bowl, whisk together the milk, flour and creole seasoning. The flour thickens up your milk so that you have the texture of cream without the fat. I used skim milk and it worked perfectly. Once it’s whisked together, add it to the sausage mixture and then let the sauce reduce down to your desired thickness.
When the potatoes have roughly 15 minutes to go, pop your kale into the oven with them. The kale should start to crisp up and just brown around 10-12 minutes, but check on them a little before so it doesn’t burn. It may require a stir or a shake halfway through.
In a saute pan, heat up some oil and when it’s hot toss in the shrimp. The shrimp will cool very quickly, 2-4 minutes at the most. When they are opaque they’re done and should be added on top of your cream sauce.
Remove your kale and potatoes from the onion. Set the kale aside and scoop the potatoes out of their skin (it should slide right off) into a bowl. Sprinkle in the cinnamon and butter and go to town with your potato masher. Once your potatoes are ready, you’re good to serve!