Sometimes when I have a recipe idea in my mind, it doesn't quite turn out the way I pictured it, which is always a disappointment. Other times it turns out better than I could have imagined, and this was one of those times.
There was a container of leftover rice (why I cooked so much, I have no idea), 6 chicken tenders, two thirds of a red pepper, a soft tomato and another half tomato, half an onion and some cooked corn on the cob all needing to be used. I bought a couple of andouille sausages, and turned it all into a quick, easy and very tasty fried rice. This had just the right amount of crunch, spice and heat all tempered with the grated cheese and diced avocado that were used as a garnish.
If you don't have any rice, cook enough to give you 6 cups. A general rule of thumb for white rice is that it triples in volume when it is cooked. Allow the rice to cool completely. Even better, cook the rice the day before, as cold rice stir fries better than hot rice.
Remove the sausage meat from the casings, and cook, breaking it up with a wooden spoon as it cooks. I used:
2 andouille sausages
When the sausage is about two thirds cooked, add:
6 chicken tenders, cut into 1/2" pieces
Add the vegetables:
1 1/2 fresh tomatoes, diced
2/3 red pepper, diced
1/2 medium onion, diced
Cook, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes.
Stir in the spices:
1 tablespoon Mexican chili blend
1 teaspoon ground cumin, heaped
Cook for another 5 minutes, or until you smell the spices.
6 cups cold cooked rice
Continue to cook over a medium high heat, stirring often to prevent the rice from burning.
After 5 minutes, add in the corn:
1 1/2 cups of corn kernels
Taste and adjust seasoning.
Continue to cook over medium high heat, stirring often until the rice and corn are hot. Remove from the heat and serve, garnishing with grated Cheddar and diced avocado.
- I used Basmati rice, as that was what was leftover from a previous meal. Any longrain rice can be used...white or brown, converted or Basmati.
- Cold rice is better for stir frying than warm as the grains are easier to keep separated, and you are less likely to end up with a plate of mushy rice. If you are cooking rice, plan ahead and make enough for another meal. It will keep in the fridge for a couple of days, and half of the work is done.
- I actually wanted chorizo, but there was none available at the store, so I chose andouille. It is still full of flavour, but has a bit less heat than chorizo. It is typically used in Cajun cuisine. Mexican chorizo is fresh and Spanish chorizo is dried. Any of these, or even Italian sausage can be used.
- When I cooked the sausage I started it on a low heat, and allowed the fat to render and then used that for cooking everything. This eliminated the need for added oil, and also kept the flavour from the sausage in the dish. If you have leftover sausage that is already cooked, dice it and then using a bit of oil to prevent sticking, cook it and proceed with the recipe.
- The chicken can be omitted if you like; leftover chicken can also be diced and added. Pork or prawns can be added as well.
- The spice blend I added has a lot of flavour and a reasonable amount of heat, so I only added salt and pepper right at the end, after tasting everything. Keep in mind that sausages can also be salty, and in a case like this it's best to go carefully. I only needed to add a tiny bit of salt to my dish at the end.
- If you have them available add black beans, cilantro, minced jalapenos or chipotle chilies.
- Frozen or canned corn can be used. I had some corn on the cob that had been boiled; I cut the kernels off and used them in the fried rice. Grilled corn on the cob would be great, adding a smokiness to the dish.
- Other garnished to think of are chopped green onions, chopped cilantro, sour cream, sriracha or salsa passed at the table.