I jumped in head first by chopping a couple links of chicken andouille sausage links and a trio of vegetables that needed to be cooked. You can certainly use links of regular andouille sausage if you like, but the chicken version is a bit lighter and not as laced with fat. So, while you do lose a little of the special flare, it leans a bit healthier and we found it didn't make a drastic difference. A couple hefty pinches of Cajun seasoning went in, along with dried oregano, salt and a couple cloves worth of minced garlic. Stir the spices in with a loving hand and give them some time to dance with the heat of the skillet - the warmth that is released is worth the minute or two of silent time with your trusty wooden spoon.
Before adding the red beans into the mix, they are partially mashed - the squished beans will add body later on as the mixture simmers. Fire-roasted tomatoes are tossed in and the mass is left to steadily bubble until the texture tightens up. I'm well aware that this would most likely be served over bright white long-grain rice, but we've become quite accustomed to the nuttiness of brown rice. If we made a dish where the rice was to stand out or need the lightness of, I would have no problem using it, but long-grain white rice just typically isn't in our pantry anymore and in this recipe we didn't feel it was required for our tastes.
Just before serving, be sure to take a small spoonful and give it a taste - we felt a good dose of black pepper was in order, rather than the small 1/4 teaspoon the original recipe called for. Scooped onto a bed of the rice, we found this to be hearty, have a pleasant heat level (this will depend on what blend of Cajun seasoning you use) and a welcomed smoky depth from the sausages. Might be not as traditional, but just the same, it was a satisfying way to warm us up tonight!
Cajun Red Beans and Rice