Sausage and Rice with Cilantro-Limey Broth (serves 4-5)

This must be the week of making quick and easy dinners! Unless I have daydreamed about making some specific thing on a particular evening for dinner, I am usually at quite a loss as to what I am going to make until I am forced to come up with something. The factors that are taken into considerations are generally these; how long can people wait before hunger makes them unpleasant,  what meat or fish did I remember to pull out of the freezer that morning or buy at the shop, is there anything that I need to use up before it walks out of the fridge by itself, or, is there any ingredient that I just bought or was given that I am excited to try?? Lots of questions, and, the answer to one or more of them will dictate how the night will proceed.

Bowl of food!

I know lots of people who actually plan out the dinners they will make for the entire week. The idea of being that organised both shames and horrifies me at the same time! When I go shopping, I buy whatever is fresh and what appeals to me. My list generally reads: meat, fish, vegetables, oils, pasta, rice and coffee! I simply cannot plan a meal until after the shopping bags come home.

Three things influenced last night’s dinner.

1: My son asked for a snack and I told him “no, because dinner was going to be ready in 5 minutes!” He then inquired what we were going to have and I replied “I don’t know yet.” I knew whatever it was, it would have to be quick!

2: My husband was so absorbed with work he neglected to eat all day. I would keel over if I didn’t eat something, but somehow he manages to keep it together until he gets home. When he inquires about what we are having for dinner, or watches intently as I chop, or fry something on the pan, I know he is desperate for food.

3: My friend Lisa has a garden that I am the envy of, and when I stopped in the day before, she gave me a hefty bunch of cilantro. It does not keep fresh for that long and I happened upon it while scanning desperately for something to go along with the sausage I had luckily remembered to defrost earlier. It smelled so lush and Summer-y. I thought if I had a lime I could use just that, and the lime to punch up a very simple broth to go along with rice and sausages. I had a lime!

Somehow I don’t mind when the pressure is on to get something on the table in under the time nerves are completely frayed. I gave myself the secret goal of being done by the time the rice in my rice-cooker was ready. This was a simple meal but the cilantro gave such great flavor to everything. I will beg Lisa for more cilantro and make a version of this again very soon!

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You will need: 1 lb sausage, cut into 1/2″ pieces ( sweet Italian, country, or mildly flavored are all good choices), 3 tbs extra-virgin olive oil, 1 large sweet onion or yellow onion, 2 cup snow peas, 1/2 cup freshly chopped cilantro leaves, 1 scape or 2 cloves garlic, sliced, 1 tsp cayenne pepper flakes (chili flakes), juice from 1 lime, 1 cup chicken stock, 1 cup water, sea salt or coarse kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, 6 cups cooked rice (2 1/2 cups raw for Stove-Top method or 3 cups using rice measure for Rice Cooker method)

saute onions and garlic

1 – Put rice on to cook (rice should be cooked right when you need to add it to your dish)

2 – Place pan on medium heat ( large enough to hold entire finished dish) and add oil. Saute onions and scape (or garlic) for 10 minutes.

add sausage and snow peas

3 – Turn up heat slightly (you will want a bit of a sizzle going) and add sausage pieces,  snow peas and chili flakes, and cook for a further 10 minutes, making sure to turn both the peas and sausages occasionally to get them a little browned.

add liquids and cilantro..

4 – Add the water, broth and lime juice and bring to a simmer. Stir in cilantro, cover and cook very gently for 5 or so minutes. Taste for further seasoning; you may want to add salt and pepper according to your taste?

5 – Take lid off and stir in cooked rice. Turn heat off and serve in warm bowls.

I had my food with a dollop of sour cream (plain yoghurt works too) and some hot chile sauce; zingingly tasty!

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