Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Cajun Jambalaya

Happy Mardi Gras! A little taste of New Orleans seems more than appropriate for our chilly Fat Tuesday evening. The colors are festive, the vegetables fresh, and the spices hot! This version comes courtesy of Emeril the Food Network. Ross was a little disappointed that I didn't cook with quite the enthusiastic vocalizations as Emeril, but I don't think the dish suffered a lack of BAM! Enjoy!

adapted from the Essence of Emeril on the Food Network

serves 4

The Ingredients:
12 medium shrimp, peeled, deveined and chopped
4 ounces chicken, diced
1 tablespoon Creole seasoning, recipe follows
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/4 cup chopped celery
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
3 bay leaves
1 teaspoon Worcester sauce
1 teaspoon hot sauce
3/4 cup rice
3 cups chicken stock
5 ounces Andouille sausage, sliced
Salt and pepper
Emeril's Creole Seasoning:
2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme
Combine all ingredients thoroughly.

Yield: 2/3 cup

The Process:
In a bowl combine shrimp, chicken and Creole seasoning, and work in seasoning well.

In a large saucepan heat oil over high heat with onion, pepper and celery, 3 minutes. Add garlic, tomatoes, bay leaves, Worcestershire and hot sauces. Stir in rice and slowly add broth. Reduce heat to medium and cook until rice absorbs liquid and becomes tender, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes.

When rice is just tender add shrimp and chicken mixture and sausage. Cook until meat is done, about 10 minutes more.

My Modifications:
The only major change I made to this recipe was using a premixed Cajun seasoning in lieu of Emeril's Bayou Blast, despite having all of the spices for his blend on hand I also used VERY generous 1/4 and 1/2 cup measures of the veggies, as well as a few additional shrimp. So in the end this version probably yielded closer to 5 servings. And I used brown rice...because that's how I roll...

The Review:
Phases like "not bad" and "pretty good" pepper most of the conversations surrounding food at our house. Unless something really knocks our sock off or turns out completely enedible these two phrases are pretty solid endorsements.

I was a bit surprised at how soupy the jambalaya turned out. Though I am far from a Creole connoisseur, I expected it to be thicker and more sauce like--less broth like. Less stock and more rice would thicken it up a bit. Or a bit of tomato paste...though I'd be afraid that route would alter the overall balance of flavors too much.

The sausage was a bit of a disappointment as well, though I would never make jambalaya without the Andouille. This particular brand name sausage was incredibly greasy and had a texture too homogeneous. The next time any such Creole dish makes it onto our weekly menu, a special trip to Kramarczuk Brother's--the local, old-world deli and sausage company just a short walk across the river--is definitely in order to obtain those spicier, more toothsome links.

1 comment:

  1. I love jambalaya SO much, though not as much as gumbo. New Orleans is the best, and so is their cuisine. :)