Can it really be possible that we are heading into Fall? It doesn’t feel like it here in LA, where this week we’ve been hovering at 105 degrees. But at the same time, the stores are full of sweaters and Halloween items. And I can’t lie… I’m ready.
There’s a shift in the Farmers Markets too. Have you noticed? The stone fruits and berries are getting fewer and fewer. In their place are apples, persimmons, pomegranates… And Fall somehow means more hearty dishes, doesn’t it? Stews and crockpot meals a plenty. As a parttime vegetarian (or, one of my favorite terms, a Conscientious Omnivore), I’m always hacking recipes by using meat substitute products for myself and my Pescatarian hubby. I’ve been wanting to try a Rougail Creole dish I saw in the new In a French Kitchen cookbook, so I used Lightlife Italian Smart Sausages, but you can always use regular sausage too.
By the way, aren’t those little peppers cute? They are from my garden and for some reason don’t get much bigger! lol I’ve grown very fond of this little plant and it rewards me with peppers year round. And as you can see from the ingredients in the photo above, one of the awesome things about this Vegetarian Rougail Creole dish is you most likely have these ingredients in your home most of the time.
Start by getting the rice going. The tumeric is a brilliant addition, so don’t substitute it. Unless, I guess, you really want to.. I suppose…if you must… And I l.o.v.e the way author Susan Loomis cooks her rice! I’m going to cook all my rice like this recipe does from now on. (Not the ingredients, the cooking method. Check it out below in the recipe box.)
Chop up those onions and get them sautéing. (I thought two onions would be way too much but it actually worked out!)
While your onions are sautéing and the rice is cooking, start browning you sausages. If you are using a meatless sausage, you’ll want to use an oil for this, but with a meaty sausage, the fat content should be enough to brown them in their own fat.
I love Lightlife sausages, and browning them gives the sausages an awesome texture!
Once the onions are translucent, go ahead and add the whole tomatoes, breaking them up in the pan. Then add in all the other goodies.
Remember to remove the thyme and bay leaves before putting everything together!
When everything is ready, add in the (cut up) sausages and serve over the rice… or mix it all together in a big bowl and serve it as a one dish meal. Either way, the Vegetarian Rougail Creole is definitely now on our list of go to fall dishes… and winter… and maybe spring time too…
One note: I think next time I’m going to cut the sausages up first and then brown them. They were delish like this, but I love crispy textures, and cutting them first would give me more of that yumminess!
Use locally sourced, organic products whenever possible
For the rice:
1 cup basmati rice, rinsed
2 tsp ground turmeric, or as desired
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1 bay leaf, preferably fresh
For the Rougail
1 lb meatless sausage (I use Lightlife Italian) or you can use pork or chicken as well
2 Tbsp olive oil only if you are using meatless sausage or a lean meat sausage
2 large onions, diced
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 inch round or fresh ginger, minced
28 oz can of whole tomatoes
zest of 1 lime
10 sprigs of thyme, plus extra for garnish
1 bay leaf, preferably fresh
1 hot pepper, minced (optional)
To make the rice:
Place rice in a medium saucepan
Add 2 cups water, turmeric, salt, and bay leaf and bring to a boil over med-high heat
Reduce the heat so the water is boiling gently and cook until there are holes in the top of the rice and the water has evaporated below the surface of the rice
Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook for 10 minutes
Remove the pan from the heat and do not remove the cover
Let stand until you are ready to serve, at least 10 minutes
To make the rougail:
While the rice is cooking, brown the sausages on all sides in a large skillet over med-high heat. (If you are using a meatless sausage, or a lean meat sausage, add 2 tbs of olive oil)
Remove the sausages from the pan and cut into rounds; set aside
Place the onions in the same large pan and cook, stirring, until they are golden, 6-8 minutes
Add the garlic and ginger, stir, then add the tomatoes with their juices and stir, breaking them up into large pieces as you stir
Reduce the heat to medium and add the lime zest, thyme, bay leaf, and hot pepper to the mixture
Season with salt and pepper, stir, and cook until the mixture is boiling, then reduce the heat to medium (If using a meat sausage, add that in now to continue it's cooking. If you are using a meatless sausage, don't add back in until the end so it retains that outer texture.)
Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has thickened, 25-30 minutes
If using a meatless sausage, add that in now
Remove the herbs and bay leaves from all pots
Adjust seasoning to taste
To serve, either mix everything in a large bowl and serve family style, or divide onto smaller bowls layering the rougail on top of the rice
If you have extra thyme, garnish your dish and serve immediately
I made the mistake of not cooking my sausage in a large enough skillet, so if you can, start with a large one and you can cook the sausage and onion mixture in the same pan. One right after the other.
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