Tuesday, September 09, 2008


I got it into my head to make jambalaya the other day. This was definetely Creole-style or "red", rather than Cajun, jambalaya. Cajun jambalaya is tomato-free and always tastes sort of greasy to me. Also I hate green bell peppers, so you might as well just go ahead and take away my Cajun card anyways. This version is porky, sausagey and shrimpy. I would have used chicken but didn't have any on hand, so feel free to add/substitute for the pork. Perfect for September and feeling like fall...not that we really have that problem down here.

I sliced up a bunch of peppers--1 big red bell pepper along with some mystery small green and orange ones that were kind of hot. I probably had about a cup and change worth of sliced peppers when all was said and done. You can use whatever peppers you like; I thought these spicy ones added kick and I always think red or yellow bells are pretty to add.
The peppers went into my new, beautiful, life-changing, deep sauté pan along with one large, chopped onion. They sautéed together over medium heat in 2 tablespoons olive oil for about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, I sliced up about 1 pound of andouille sausage......and stuck it in the pan, along with the meat from one huge porkchop. I just happened to have this porkchop lying around, so you can substitute chicken here if you like, or pork loin of another cut, or omit it althogether. It was about 1/2 pound worth of meat, if that helps your decision making process at all.Let the meat, peppers and onion all sauté together until the vegetables are soft and the sausage has some nice brown parts to it (about 10 minutes).

I made a space in the center and added in 3 cloves minced garlic along with 1 teaspoon each cayenne powder and thyme. Continued to sauté for 2 minutes, then added 1 big can of peeled, whole tomatoes and crushed them up in the pan with a spoon.Stir in 2 cups long-grain white rice followed by 4 cups chicken stock. Bring it to a boil, then turn down the heat and let it simmer, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender. It will take about 30 minutes and you might need to add a bit more liquid as you go to be sure the rice cooks fully.I was lucky enough to have Charlie over and he tended the jambalaya for me and kept it from sticking to the pan by adding some white wine in and scraping it up from the bottom. This also provides delicious browned bits in the rice. When the rice is pretty much all cooked and tender and the liquid is absorbed, add 1 1/2 pounds of peeled shrimp, stir well, and let cook for 2 minutes.That's actually the fun and relaxing part of making jambalaya for me--while the rice is cooking you can just chill out and peel the shrimp and drink wine.

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