Cooking Jambalalya

Friday, September 24, 2010 @ 08:09 AM

Jambalaya is a very hearty Louisiana style dish. It is loaded with vegetables, meat and rice, a filling, stick to your ribs kind of meal. There is no set method or set recipe. You should still start with your basic celery, onions, peppers and garlic and go from there. It can have one type of meat or multiple types of meats. It can be spicy or not. It can have tomatoes, or can be made without tomatoes. Supposedly tomatoes are the major difference between a Cajun jambalaya and a Creole one. Cajun jambalaya does not have tomatoes. Traditionally the rice is thrown raw in toward the very end of cooking to absorb the wonderful flavor & juices as it cooks.

Jambalaya is a very versatile dish… pretty much a whatever sort of dish. It doesn’t just have to be cooked in a large cast iron jambalaya pot over and open fire for the whole church congregation. It can be cooked for a small family in a cast iron pot on your stove top. It can be made in a slow cooker on your counter top. You can make it tailgating with your traditional turkey fryer in the stadium parking lot. It’s a great meal for a cold November football game.

The recipe that I will include here is from my friend Lenny. He has visited Louisiana and New Orleans many times. It is geared toward making in a slow cooker for a small party, but it gets all of the basics in. It is very flavorful. You can also add other meats like crawfish, or oysters if you want. It’s whatever you have or feel like having. Make it spicier if that’s what you want. It is a great recipe to start with and experiment & make your own.

12 oz. boneless, skinless chicken breasts.

2 green peppers.

1 medium onion.

2 stalks celery sliced.

4 cloves garlic minced.

One 14 1/2 oz. can whole tomatoes.

1/3 cup tomato paste.

1 can beef broth.

1 tblspn. dried parsley.

1-1/2 tspn. dried basil leaves.

1/2 tspn. dried oregano.

1 tspn. tabasco.

1 tspn. cayenne pepper.

1/2 tspn. salt.

1 lb. shelled shrimp.

3 cups cooked rice.

Add Andouille sausage if you like!

Directions: cut chicken into 1 inch pieces. Add all ingredients into slow cooker EXCEPT shrimp and rice. cover and cook on low 8-10 hours (high: 3 to 4 hrs.) add shrimp last 15-30 minutes of cooking. Stir in rice or (as we prefer here) serve on top of rice. ENJOY!

I did add the Andouille sausage and I also put in 2 small jalapenos & 1 chili pepper. I used beef stock that I had in my freezer & I used the over abundant grape & cherry tomatoes that I have growing in my yard, instead of canned. I did still use tomato paste. I cooked the shrimp separately with some Cajun spice in the water & I threw the shrimp in the pot at the very end. It was quite good.

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