Jambalaya!

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I have been craving some Cajun food something serious and I have a great one down the street. Henry’s Louisiana Grill, but I’m not made of money and I’ve been dying to make some at home to see how it comes out. So I found this recipe and tried it today! I’ll highlight to tell you what I used because there are many variations to this recipe.

 

  • 1 lb. boneless chicken cubed; AND/OR
    • 1 lb. shrimp, boiled in Zatarain’s and peeled; OR
    • 1 lb. leftover holiday turkey, cubed; OR
    • 1 lb. of any kind of poultry or fish, cubed; OR
    • Any combination of the above
  • 1 lb. (hot) smoked sausage, andouille or chaurice, sliced on the bias; OR
    • 1 lb. diced smoked ham
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 – 6 cloves garlic, minced (amount to taste; I like lots)
  • 4 ribs celery, chopped
  • 3 small cans tomato paste
  • 4 large Creole tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced; OR
    • 1 28-oz. can tomatoes
  • 8 cups good dark homemade chicken stock
  • 8 cups chicken stock (Swanson)
  • Creole seasoning blend to taste (or 2 – 3 tablespoons); OR
    • 2 teaspoons cayenne, 2 teaspoons black pepper, 1 teaspoon white pepper, 1 teaspoon oregano, 1/2 teapsoon thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Salt to taste
  • 4 cups long-grain white rice, uncooked (Some people like converted rice, others prefer good old Mahatma. I use Uncle Ben’s converted, as the rice doesn’t get sticky or lumpy that way.)

 

 

In a sauté or frying pan, brown the chicken, sprinkling with Tony Chachere’s seasoning if you’ve got it; a bit of salt, black pepper and red pepper otherwise. Don’t brown if using leftover cooked bird, but you still might want to season the meat. Tear or cut the meat into bite-size pieces.

Brown the sliced smoked sausage or andouille and pour off fat. In the pot, sauté the onions, garlic, peppers and celery in oil until onions begin to turn transparent.

In the same pot, while you’re sautéing the “trinity”, add the tomato paste and let it pincé, meaning to let it brown a little. What we’re going for here is an additional depth of flavor by browning the tomato paste a little; the sugar in the tomato paste begins to caramelize, deepening the flavor and color. Keep it moving so that it browns but doesn’t burn. Some friends of mine hate this step, so you can skip it if you want, but then it won’t be Chuck’s jambalaya. :^)

Once the vegetables are translucent and the tomato paste achives sort of a red mahogany color, deglaze the pan with the about 2 cups of the stock, scraping the bottom of the pan to mix up any browned bits, and stir until smooth, making sure the sautéed vegetables, paste and stock are combined thoroughly. It should be fairly thick.


Add the Creole seasoning, tomatoes and salt to taste. Cook over low-medium heat for about 10 minutes. Add the meat and/or seafood and cook another 10 minutes; if you’re using seafood, be careful not to overcook it.

Add the rest of the stock, check seasonings, and stir in the rice, combining thoroughly. Cook for about 20-25 (I threw everything into my crock pot so we could eat this for late lunch and dinner. minutes, or until the rice has absorbed all the liquid and is cooked through. If you haven’t checked your seasonings before adding the rice, it’s too late! It’s much better for the

rice to absorb the seasonings while it’s cooking. Check seasoning anyway, then turn the heat down to low-medium and let the sauce thicken up a bit, with the pot uncovered, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes. Stir thoroughly to combine all ingredients. When the jambalaya has thickened up a bit and has reached the “right” consistency (you’ll know), it’s done.

Serve with salad and French bread.

Doesn’t this look awesome!!!! It’s already nice and spicey, I might need to water it down for anyone trying it though hubs and I like hella spice!

 

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Meghan Cooper is a writer, content creator, movie critic, and geek living in Atlanta, Ga. She loves movies, traveling, and lots of coffee. Member of the Southeastern Film Critics Association, Georgia Film Critics Association, and Atlanta Film Critics Circle.

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