Wednesday Feb. 9, 2011
Here's my recipe/guide for making one of my favourite one-pot comfort foods...Jambalaya! While there are no connections with this dish to Newfoundland or New England (it's actually a cajun dish from New Orleans), I feel it has a lot of appeal to east coast palettes and lifestyles. For one, what's better than a warm one-pot, hearty meal on a cold winter evening such as we have outside right now? Secondly, it has great ingredients available year round, and includes chicken, sausage and shrimp, all ingredients we love here down-east. While whole or diced gulf shrimp are traditional down in the south, I like to use whole Maine or Newfoundland cold water shrimp in my jambalaya. One of the beauties about a dish like this is that you can interchange ingredients based on what you have and what you like. It can be all meat, all seafood, with sausage, without sausage, chicken breast, or chicken thighs, white rice or brown rice. You get the picture. The key here is to have good quality ingredients, cook the rice just right and have it all well-seasoned with creole spice. You can use a store-bought cajun or creole spice mix or just make your own.
Here's how I like to make mine. I use either boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs, and good andouille sausage if I can find it. If not I substitute Spanish chorico sausage.
4-6 ozs andouille sausage (or similar dry pork sausage), cut in 1/4"- thick slices
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or 6 thighs), cut in 1" cubes
8 ozs uncooked shrimp
1 large yellow onion, 1/4 inch dice
1 stalk celery, halved and diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
3-5 cloves garlic, crushed or minced
1 jalapeno pepper, minced (optional)
1 cup long grain rice (white or brown)
1 large tomato, diced
3 cups chicken stock
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp Creole seasoning (recipe follows), plus a sprinkle at the end
I like to first saute the sliced andouille sausage, reserve and then saute the chicken in the drippings and reserve it. I then saute the vegetables, followed by the rice, seasoning and stock, and finish with the shrimp and reserved sausage and chicken. I finish it off with some fresh parsley and hot sauce to taste. In a large, deep skillet, saute sliced sausage over medium heat until browned and it has released some of its fat. Reserve the sausage to the side. Turn heat to medium-high and sear the cubed chicken in the drippings. Season with a little Creole. Spice. Brown the chicken but don't worry about cooking it all the way through as it will go back in the mix. Once browned, set aside.
In the same pan, add a tablespoon of oil if necessary and add the onion, celery and diced peppers. Cook until vegetables are tender. Add the garlic and tomatoes and cook for a minute or so. Add the rice and remaining tablespoon of Creole spice and coat the rice in the oil and vegetables. Add the bay leaf and chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook (stirring occasionally) until the rice is tender and the liquid is mostly absorbed, about 15 minutes. Add the raw little shrimps, the sausage and chicken, mix well and cover. Continue cooking for another 10 minutes or so until the shrimp and chicken are completely cooked and the rice is done. Serve with parsley and a few splashes of hot sauce if you like a little more heat. The sausage should pack a little punch. Enjoy!
Wicked Good Creole Seasoning
Combine the following spices in a jar with a tight-fitting lid.
4 tbsp Paprika
2 tbsp Cayenne Pepper
2 tbsp Garlic powder
2 tbsp Onion Powder
2 tbsp Black Pepper
1 tbsp Ground Thyme
1 tbsp dried Oregano
1 tbsp Kosher Salt
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About Me...The Wicked Newfoundlander
I'm originally from Newfoundland, Canada, and very proud of it! I moved to upstate New York in 2007, and I spend much of my time working and playing throughout New England. Besides my wife, our dog and hockey, I'm passionate about food. I love to cook and create great tasting food. I also love tasting and critiquing food, and comparing regional cuisine (notably Newfoundland and New England dishes).