I created this one in my kitchen today because I had a taste for a spicy, yet creamy, sauce with chicken and andouille sausage. I’ve been creating this in my head for a few weeks, actually. Thinking about whether to start it with the trinity (onion, bell pepper, celery) or to do sort of a fusion with Italian and Cajun. I went to fusion route because my sweet bff from Acadiana told me absolutely none of her family in Cajun country uses celery in their recipes. (They use okra). I knew okra was definitely out on this one. It just didn’t go. So, I decided to utilize what was in my garden at the moment and that’s kale and spinach – plus a sweet onion.
I was really, REALLY pleased with the result and so was the hubby – who went back for seconds and asked me to pack him some for lunch. 😂. So, let’s get to it, shall we?
What you’ll need:
Yield: 6-8 servings
- 1 link of andouille sausage, sliced
- 2 lbs chicken , cut into bite sized cubes
- 1 yellow onion
- 4 oz pancetta (you can sub bacon)
- 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 1 can of fire roasted diced tomatoes
- 4 cups of spinach or kale or a mix of both
- 3 Tablespoons of Cajun seasoning
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 1/2 cup heavy cream + 1/2 cup heavy cream slurry with 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/2 block cream cheese
- 1 lb pasta shells boiled and drained
- 4 springs of fresh thyme leaves removed from the stem
- Olive oil
- Fresh basil (7-8 leaves, chopped) and extra for topping
Step by step:
Preheat a dutch oven or large pot over medium heat.
Slice the sausage and add to the pot. Let the sausage brown and render fat for several minutes.
Chop chicken, onion, garlic while sausage browns.
Remove sausage from the pot, add chicken, plus 2 tablespoons of Cajun seasoning, a tsp of salt and a tsp of pepper. Brown chicken until the outside is cooked.
Remove chicken when all sides are cooked. Don’t worry if it isn’t all the way done, we will be adding it back in the pot soon and it will have plenty of time to finish cooking through.
Add some olive oil to the pot and add your pancetta and onion. Cook for a few minutes. When onion is golden, add garlic. Cook until garlic is fragrant.
Add 1/2 cup of chicken broth and deglaze the pan, scraping the bottom of any goodness that has stuck to the bottom. Add the chicken and sausage back in along with another tablespoon of Cajun seasoning and a sprinkle of salt and pepper and the thyme leaves.
Now, add the tomatoes, kale/spinach, then 1/2 cup of the heavy cream and the cream cheese.
Last, add the slurry of 1/2 heavy cream and 2 Tablespoons of corn starch. Let the mixture simmer until the sauce thickens up and add the cooked pasta shells. Mix, top with basil, and serve!