I love fried rice and this is my Southern version.
This rice is flavored with Cajun seasoning, oregano, Andouille, chicken, and the “Trinity” is still crunchy, adding depth to the texture.
If you’re not familiar with the “Trinity” or “Holy Trinity” term, it’s a combination of onion, bell pepper and celery. This is the foundation of Cajun and Creole cooking and a staple in our house. I am married to a Louisiana man.
There’s a lot of differences between Cajun and Creole cooking, but the biggest one is tomatoes. You will notice I called this dish “Creole Fried Rice” and that’s because I use tomatoes in it. If you’re down South and have a jambalaya or gumbo with tomatoes, you’re eating a Creole-style dish.
Cajun food is considered to be more from the country. Creole cuisine is considered more city food.
Here’s a very condensed history. The word Cajun comes from “les Acadians” which were French colonists who settled in Canada. After British conquest of that area, those French descendants settled in Louisiana in the region now called Acadiana. This was a swampy region and what evolved in terms of food was incredible fare using local resources. Rice is a staple and so are spices and seasonings. There’s a lot of one-pot dishes and just down home comfort. Plus, I am amazed at what humans can create when they don’t have much.
The “Creoles” lived in New Orleans and were upper class descendants of settlers. The influences in that cuisine were largely Spanish, French, and African slaves, so there’s more fusion in this cooking. Also, the Creoles had more money to buy ingredients and import ingredients so dishes can be a little more complicated.
In general, I prefer Cajun food, and I use more Cajun ingredients like Andouille, Boudin, and Tasso.
Of course, this is an over-simplification and both styles of food have evolved. My husband stays true to Cajun cuisine and if I try to put a modern or “Yankee” twist on that fare, he tells me I am “bastardizing” his food.
So I can say it’s a big compliment that he loved this dish – although it’s my Creole version, not Cajun.
Be careful when using Cajun seasoning in this recipe because a lot of grocery store brands are terribly salty. I use Joe’s Stuff, which I discovered at the New Orleans School of Cooking: http://www.neworleansschoolofcooking.com/
Just be sure you taste your Cajun seasoning before adding it to the dish. If there’s another one you’d recommend, let me know. I am always interested in trying new foods. To date though, Joe’s Stuff is the best (you can order it online).
By the way, if you’re ever in New Orleans and enjoy cooking, take a cooking class at New Orleans School of Cooking. It’s fun and educational. I learned a lot there and will definitely take another class. Take a class with Kevin, if you can. He’s a riot and great teacher.
Now, back to my dish. This fried rice came together in about 15 minutes, which is perfect on a busy weeknight (and it was a busy weeknight when I created this).
It’s a great way to use up leftover white rice or if you plan ahead and are making rice on Monday, make a double batch and have leftover rice ready to go on Tuesday.
I hope you enjoy it.
Creole Fried Rice
1 teaspoon canola oil
1 medium red onion, chopped
1 cup chopped celery
2/3 cup chopped green bell pepper
2 Andouille sausages
2 cups day-old rice
1 cup chopped rotisserie chicken
¼ teaspoon Cajun seasoning
¾ teaspoon oregano
1 cup canned tomatoes with celery, onions and peppers
Chop all vegetables (or use a food processor). If you’re using a food processor, coarsely chop the vegetables.
Slice Andouille in half and then chop into bite-size pieces.
In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. When it’s hot, add onions and cook 2 minutes. Then add celery and Andouille and cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
While that cooks, chop your chicken and set aside.
Add bell pepper and cook 1 minute (you want it to still be crisp). Now add rice, chicken, Cajun seasoning, oregano and tomatoes to the dish and cook another 3 minutes. You want to toss the rice so it’s coated in tomatoes, but don’t over-stir the rice or it will become gummy. Taste and add salt and pepper, if needed. Serve.