Tuesday, March 8, 2011

it's called "fat tuesday" for a reason

Laissez les Bon Temps Rouler!
Time for the feasting before the fasting - Mardi Gras!
Since the Lonesome Road's favorite place to get authentic Cajun chow is woefully small and will be a mob scene tonight (especially with Dennis Stroughmatt of Creole Stomp performing)
I'm just going to throw on some beads and whip up a little of my own jambalaya tonight!
(Looks like this guy's had enough Mardi Gras already!)

I seldom really make jambalaya the same way twice, at least not consciously. But even though it's a great dish for improvisation, and for using up some leftovers like cooked chicken, don't just indiscriminately throw things in a big pot with some rice - "hey, I found a leftover hot dog in the back of the fridge, let's throw that in!" The recipe that follows is a general guideline to the way jambalaya is prepared on the Lonesome Road; there is room for customization but remember not to stray too far from the heart and soul of the dish.
For example, I love using andouille sausage in jambalaya. This chicken andouille from Trader Joe's is one of my favorites and combines perfectly with the other flavors of the dish but if you prefer kicking it old school and using a traditional Cajun French-style pork andouille sausage - go for it!
Another must is to use the Cajun "Holy Trinity" of seasonings - bell peppers, onions and celery - in the preparation of jambalaya. And last, include black, red and white pepper in most all Cajun concoctions, the theory being that each one of these pepper varieties produces their sensation on different areas of the tongue.
  • 2 cups cooked chicken
  • 1 pound peeled and deveined raw shrimp
  • 1/2 pound smoked spicy sausage, like andouille, sliced
  • 2 cups chopped onions
  • 1 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon red cayenne pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon white pepper
  • 3/4 cup uncooked rice
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
In a large Dutch oven, cook the sausage in the olive oil until browned; add the onion, celery, bell pepper and garlic and saute until onion is golden and transparent.
Add the uncooked rice and cook, stirring briskly, until rice just turns golden. Add broth and Worcestershire sauce, stirring to combine with the rice-sausage-vegetables mixture.
Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and add cooked chicken, thyme, oregano, bay leaves, and the three peppers. Cook, covered, over low heat for about 30 minutes. Add more liquid, or cook longer, if you need to.
When rice is tender, add shrimp, cover and cook for 10 minutes or so, or until the shrimp is pink and cooked through.
Season to taste with salt and more pepper if you wish.
Makes 4 to 6 servings.
Variations: Add some leftover chopped pork if you like. I also like to include crabmeat once in a while. And of course - use crawfish if you can get it!


J.Crabbit said...

hmmm I have 29 days left in my vegan challenge, this is sooo getting bookmarked for when its over.

Lonesome Road Studio said...

I'm trying to determine what to give up for Lent. I think it will be.... turnips. :D
thanks for stopping by!

hopeandjoyhome said...

Man..I think I can smell that from here! Sounds fab! Thanks for reminding me I need to wipe out all my chocolate tonight!

Lonesome Road Studio said...

Sorry for the reminder, hopeandjoy, hehehe!


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