This week on Basics I'm joined by chef Isaac Toups to show you how to make some amazing Cajun dishes: jambalaya, gumbo, dirty rice, and rillons.

Special Equipment List

Big pot for gumbo!

Shopping List

For the Chicken & Sausage Gumbo:

  • 1 small green bell pepper, diced

  • 2 ribs celery, diced

  • 1 small white onion, diced

  • 6 garlic cloves, minced

  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil

  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour

  • 2 bay leaves

  • 8 ounces beer (just not a light beer!)

  • 4 cups chicken stock

  • 1 lb andouille sausage, cut into coins (or smoked kielbasa)

  • 1 lb boneless, skinless, chicken thighs

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 tbsp cayenne pepper

  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika

  • Cooked white rice, for serving

  • Sliced scallions, for garnish

For the Rillons:

  • 2 lbs pork belly, skin removed

  • Kosher salt

  • 2 cups red wine (full bodied like Malbec or Cabernet Sauvignon)

  • 2 cups sugar

  • Fresh thyme

For the Dirty Rice:

  • 1 lb ground beef 

  • Kosher salt and fresh black pepper

  • Cumin, to taste

  • Cayenne, to taste

  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil

Plus roux and trinity ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil

  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour

  • 1/2 cup diced onion

  • 1/2 cup diced green bell pepper

  • 1/3 cup diced celery

  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed

  • 1/3 cup beer (not a light one!)

  • 2 cups chicken stock

  • 3 cups cooked white rice

  • Scallions, for garnish

For the Jambalaya:

  • Dirty rice (see ingredients above)

  • 1 pound andouille sausage, sliced into coins

  • 4 boneless chicken thighs

  • Scallions, for garnish


Chicken & Sausage Gumbo

  1. Take 1 small green bell pepper, 2 ribs of celery, and 1 small white onion (also known as the “holy trinity”) and dice them into medium-sized pieces. Set aside for later.

  2. Mince 6 garlic cloves and set aside for later.

  3. For the roux, add ½ cup of vegetable oil to a pot and allow it to get smoking hot before adding ½ cup of all purpose flour. Using a wooden spoon or preferably a whisk, mix together until the consistency is similar to wet sand. 

  4. Within 30 seconds, the roux should be the color of milk chocolate. The darker the roux gets, the more you need to stir it, but let it sit for a few seconds before continuing to stir. After about 5-6 minutes, the color of the roux should be nice and dark or similar to the color of a Hershey’s chocolate bar. Set aside some of the roux to use later.     

  5. Add 2 bay leaves as well as your “holy trinity” to the pot. Make sure to set aside some of the holy trinity mix for later.

  6. Once the mixture calms down a bit, add the minced garlic to the pot. Let the roux sit for 30 seconds.

  7. Add 8 ounces of beer and stir it in and whisk to prevent the mixture from becoming clumpy. Then, add 4 cups of chicken stock and whisk using the same procedure as the beer.

  8. Take 1 lb of andouille sausage or smoked kielbasa and cut into coins.

  9. Add kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to both sides of 1 lb of boneless, skinless chicken thighs. Sear the chicken thighs in a smoking hot pan with oil.   

  10. Add 1 tbsp of cayenne pepper and a pinch of salt to the roux.

  11. Turn the stovetop temperature to the lowest simmer possible and add a generous amount of black pepper to the roux. Then, add 1 tbsp of smoked paprika and stir. 

  12. After browning the chicken, add it straight to the pot and set aside the remaining oil from the chicken. Next, add the chopped up sausage or smoked kielbasa to the pot. 

  13. Bring the roux to a bare simmer, cover it, and let sit for a couple of hours.

  14. Serve with cooked white rice, garnish with scallions, and enjoy!    


  1. Remove all of the skin from 2 lbs of pork belly and add the skin to the roux.

  2. Take the fat from the pork belly and cut into chunks. Add the pork belly to a baking pan and season it with a few pinches of salt. Lightly mix to let the salt soak in. Set it aside and start preparing the red wine caramel. 

  3. Add 2 cups of sugar and 2 cups of red wine to a pot. Bring to a rolling boil and whisk to create a syrup-like consistency.

  4. Sprinkle fresh thyme onto the pork belly. 

  5. Take the pot of red wine caramel and pour it straight on top of the pork belly. Make sure that the mixture is compact before placing it into a 400 degree Fahrenheit oven for 25-35 minutes and stir occasionally.

Dirty Rice

  1. Add a generous amount of fresh black pepper as well as cumin and cayenne (to taste) to 1 lb of ground beef. Place the meat into a pan with 1 tbsp of hot vegetable oil. Once both sides are seared, give it a good chop.

  2. Add leftover trinity and 4 cloves of crushed garlic to the pan. After the vegetables finish cooking, add leftover roux and let it warm up for a minute before adding ⅓ cup of beer and 2 cups of chicken stock to the pan. Let simmer for about 45 minutes or until the consistency is a bit thicker. 

  3. Add 3 cups of cooked white rice, a few pinches of salt, garnish with scallions, and enjoy! 


  1. Reheat the leftover dirty rice and add 1 lb of andouille sausage (sliced into coins) as well as 4 boneless chicken thighs (whole or cut up). 

  2. Garnish with scallions and enjoy!