A rice cooker? Yep, rice cookers have come a long way. Although the first rice cookers were exactly just that — an appliance for cooking rice — these days, rice cookers are multi-cookers where you can prepare full meals.
We have two rice cookers at home. One is large (with a capacity of 10 liters) and fully automatic. It has slow cooker functions and it has settings for cooking white rice, brown rice, and congee, and it can even be used as a hot pot.
The other rice cooker is small. Two-liter capacity. It has three settings — OFF, LOW and HIGH — which have to be set manually. But don’t underestimate the value of this small inexpensive rice cooker. I brown meat in it, I saute in it and I have cooked… Okay, let me show how I cooked my first complete dish in it.
First, two chicken thigh fillets were browned in a little bit of oil. I overbrowned some parts, obviously, and that was how I realized that the heat of this rice cooker model is concentrated at the center. So, with that in mind, I moved the chicken fillets around after flipping them over to make sure that no overbrowning occurred on the skinless side.
The chicken, browned on the outside but only partially cooked, were lifted out and set aside. Butter was melted in the rice cooker and onion, carrot and celery were sauteed with a bit of salt and pepper.
As the vegetables softened, the chicken fillets were cut into strips then put back in the rice cooker. Cajun seasoning was sprinkled in, and the chicken and vegetables were tossed until every solid bit of ingredient was coated with the spice blend.
Diced sausages went in next. I used chorizo Palermo, you may substitute some other sausage like Andouille or chorizo Bilbao, but please don’t use hotdogs or canned sausages because they will contribute nothing in terms of flavor.
Next, rice was stirred in. I like long-grain rice, Basmati especially, for dishes like this because the grains don’t clump. Now, rice needs liquid to cook in, of course. Water should do the job but why not give the dish better flavor by using chicken broth? I love cooking rice in broth, so, that was what I used.
The rice cooker was covered until about half of the broth had been soaked up by the rice. That was when I dropped in about half a cup of frozen peas. I really don’t like my peas to turn too mushy and that’s the reason I added them last.
By the time all the broth had been absorbed by the rice, the chicken and vegetables were perfectly cooked, and the sausage had done its job of imparting its myriad of flavors into the dish.
Cajun chicken and sausage rice
- Rice Cooker
- cooking oil
- 2 large chicken thigh fillets skin on
- 1 tablespoon butter
- ½ cup chopped onion
- ½ cup diced carrot
- ½ cup diced celery
- 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- 150 grams smoky spicy sausage diced
- 1 ½ cups Basmati rice
- 3 cups chicken bone broth well-seasoned
- ½ cups sweet peas
- parlsey to garnish
- lemon wedges to serve
- Lightly brush the cooker with oil.
- Turn on the rice cooker to HIGH, lay the chicken fillets skin side down and cook until browned and fat has been rendered. Flip to brown the other side. Scoop out and set aside.
- Turn down the heat to LOW and melt the butter.
- Saute the onion, carrot and celery with generous pinches of salt and pepper.
- Cut the chicken into strips and add to the vegetables.
- Sprinkle in the Cajun seasoning and paprika.
- Cook, tossing, until the spice blend is evenly distributed.
- Add the diced sausage and toss to combine.
- Stir in the rice.
- Pour in the broth (if the broth is unsalted or underseasoned, add more salt and pepper).
- Cover the rice cooker, and cook the rice, chicken, sausage and vegetables until half of the liquid has been soaked up.
- Add the peas and stir.
- Cover the rice cooker once more and cook until the rice is done.
- Serve sprinkled with parsley with lemon wedges on the side (squeeze those wedges into the rice and you’ll be amazed at the final flavor of the dish).