Jambalaya

In preparation for Fat Tuesday I decided to take ride on the Cajun side. Well not really a ride, unless you count the trip to the grocery store. But you know what I mean. Since I don’t have the patience for gumbo, or more specifically the roux, I decided to make jambalaya (pronounced “jum” not “jam” – don’t ask me why). What I do know is, if you plan to make this dish you must respect the trinity. No need to do a Hail Mary, just make sure you have celery, a bell pepper, and an onion. If there was a second trinity I think it would be Tabasco, Worcestershire sauce, and bay leaves – no Southern kitchen is complete without them.

Oh, and did I mention this recipe is adapted from the ragin’ Cajun himself? BAM! Emeril kindly provided the recipe for his famous “Essence.” I just can’t think of New Orleans food without Emeril coming to mind; similar to how I associate a train wreck with Charlie Sheen (congratulations Mel Gibson, you’re off the hook temporarily). Back to Emeril …

Emeril’s Essence Creole Seasoning, modified only slightly

  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme

This will make more than you need, but I think it’s worth it just to have around. And by the way, Emeril is not making sound effects just for fun. This stuff is spicy! Just mix together all of the ingredients and you are ready to have a jambalaya jamboree … I’m sorry I’m getting carried away. Let’s just get to the recipe, shall we?

Jambalaya, serves 4-6

  • 1/2 lb shrimp
  • 1 whole  chicken breast, diced
  • 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
  • 1/2 lb spicy Italian ground sausage
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 small green bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 large cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 large tomato , chopped
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons hot sauce
  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 2 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth

In a medium bowl combine the shrimp, chicken and Creole seasoning. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook the sausage for 3-5 minutes, breaking the sausage up as it cooks. Add the onion, pepper, and celery and cook until the vegetables are tender. Next add the garlic, tomatoes, bay leaves, Worcestershire and hot sauces. Stir in the rice and toast for a minute. Slowly add the broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover and let sit for 50-60 minutes. During the last 10 minutes add the shrimp and chicken and cook until they meat is done. Depending on how spicy you like it, season to taste with additional Creole seasoning and salt. And in my opinion, no Louisiana meal is complete without a nice cold Abita beer.

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