I don't have any Creole or Cajun relatives (that I know of), so for authentic recipes I turn to some of my favorite cookbooks. Emeril calls this particular recipe his "Clean Out the Ice Box and Freezer" Jambalaya, my kind of food, particularly now because after the holidays and fall harvest we have a freezer stuffed full of...stuff. After going through it a week ago we renewed our commitment to using up some of the stash and cleaning it out over the next month, which will of course make room for more stuff. The cycle never ends.
The recipe is pretty straight forward, but I made a few modifications as a I went. First of all, I couldn't believe it had no celery and I added some anyway. The recipe calls for a mix of dark and white meat, but since Michael doesn't care for dark meat I used only white meat. I also used brown rice instead of white rice and reduced the oil to 1/3 cup. Not much of a difference in the amount of oil, I know, but I think the recipe turned out just fine. And because this was dinner for all of us, I cut back on the cayenne so the boys could enjoy it too. Michael made up for the lack of heat by pouring some hot sauce onto his servings.
This is an easy dish to prepare, and it's practically a meal in a pot. Add a green salad or other green vegetable and you are set.
Like many recipes calling for meat, this one has weight measurements, which are more precise than measuring by cups (i.e. 3 cups of sliced sausage). We buy frozen shrimp in two pounds bags then just weigh out what we need each time. A kitchen scale is a handy piece of gear for weighing all kinds of ingredients for cooking and baking. I use mine all the time for weighing meat, vegetables, fruits, flour, nuts, just about anything.
For this week's celebration of the third anniversary of my blog, I'm giving away a kitchen scale courtesy of Eat Smart. The scale has a digital display and weighs in both grams/kilos and ounces/pounds and allows you to change them on the fly. It has a simple tare function so you can put a bowl on the scale then turn it on, and the scale will register zero, giving you accurate measurement for the ingredients you add to the bowl. It's small enough that it won't take up much space in your kitchen, but sturdy enough to handle up to 11 pounds.
To enter the contest just leave a comment telling us about your favorite meal that helps you clean out your freezer or refrigerator. Please make sure your email address is correct so I can contact you if you are the lucky winner. The scale can be shipped to United States addresses. The contest closes at midnight EST on Wednesday January 22, 2009, and Random.org will select the winner. Look for the announcement of the winner in this post soon after.
UPDATE: Congratulations to Nicole, comment #6, the winner of the kitchen scale!
Jambalaya with Shrimp, Chicken, Andouille, and Ham
- large cast iron Dutch oven
- 1/2 cup canola oil ((I used 1/3 cup and it came out fine.))
- 1 pound gluten-free andouille sausage (cut crosswise into 1/4-inch slices)
- 3 medium to large yellow onions (chopped)
- 2 stalks of celery (thinly sliced)
- 1/2 cup chopped green bell peppers
- 1/2 cup chopped red bell peppers
- 2 teaspoons salt (divided)
- 1 teaspoon Creole seasoning (Recipe follows or you can use a purchased blend.)
- 1 teaspoon cayenne (divided)
- 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
- 1½ pounds boneless chicken meat (cut into 1-inch cubes (You can use white or dark meat or a mix of white and dark meat.))
- 1/2 pound ham (cubed)
- 3 bay leaves
- 3 cups medium-grain brown rice
- 6 cups water
- 1/2 pound shelled shrimp (thawed if from frozen)
- 5 green onions (chopped, green tops only)
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
Emeril's Creole Seasoning
- 2½ tablespoons paprika
- 2 tablespoons salt
- 2 tablespoons garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
- 1 tablespoon dried leaf oregano
- 1 tablespoon dried thyme
- Heat the oil in a large cast-iron Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the sausage and cook until it start to render the fat. Add the onions, bell peppers, 1 teaspoon of the salt, the Creole seasoning, and 1/2 teaspoon of the cayenne. Stirring often, brown the vegetables and sausage until they are caramelized, about 15 minutes. Scrape the bottom and sides of the pot to loosen any browned particles (fond). Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
- Season the chicken with the remaining 1 teaspoon salt and remaining 1/2 teaspoon cayenne. Add the chicken, ham, and the bay leaves to the pot. Brown the chicken for 8 minutes, scraping the bottom of the pot to loosen any browned bits.
- Add the rice and stir for 2 to 3 minutes to coat evenly. Add the water, stir to combine, and cover. Cook over medium heat for 30 to 35 minutes, without stirring, or until the rice is tender and the liquid has been absorbed.
- Lay the shrimp on top of the cooked rice during the last 5 minutes of cooking and steam until just pink. Remove the pot from the heat and let stand, covered, for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the bay leaves. Stir in the green onions and parsley, and serve.