One-Pot-Meal: Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya



Jambalaya is a simple meat and rice dish from Louisiana.  

Earlier this month, my husband and I flew to New Orleans for the weekend.  We happened to catch the beginning of the Carnival season that officially started on January 6 and continues through Fat Tuesday - marking the last day of the season.

New Orleans is a pleasure-loving city with famed common dishes that are heavily influenced by Spanish and French cuisines.  To put you in the mood for Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday), I am sharing my modified version of the classic dish: Jambalaya.

To keep this dish easy, you can use store bought stock.  Since it was the weekend, and I had some extra time, I used a technique I learned from Chef Paul Prudhomme's book "Fork In the Road." 

This cookbook is one of the books I inherited from my mother, and was originally published in 1993.

Chef Prudhomme is a Lousiana chef - known for using fresh ingredients and serving upscale Cajun and Creole dishes.

I used Chef Prudhomme's technique to defat stock by capturing the fat solids with ice. 

I had some frozen stock that I made from our smoked Thanksgiving turkey.  I defrosted my stock in the refrigerator the night before and then I packed a mesh strainer with ice and carefully poured the stock over the ice.

This technique removed a lot of the extra fat and solids from my stock and made my stock rich and clear.

I concentrated my stock by slow cooking it on high heat to reduce it down to about a third of its original size.

The stock made from my smoked turkey gave me the smoky taste I wanted.


Next, I chopped up my vegetables, which included the "holy trinity" - a combination of onion, celery and bell pepper.  This mixture is considered to be a building block for many dishes from Louisiana.

The "holy trinity" is the Cajun and Louisiana Creole version of mirepoix.  Traditional mirepoix is onions, carrots and celery.  The "holy trinity" replaces the carrots with green bell pepper.

Along with my green vegetables, I added some red bell pepper to give my dish more color.

One ingredient that you may notice is missing from my recipe is tomatoes.  I chose to go with more of a Cajun-style version of Jambalaya.

The difference between Cajun Jambalaya and Creole Jambalaya are said to be the use of tomatoes.

Since Creoles tend to be more from the city and Cajuns are more from the country - the thought is that Cajuns might not have had access to tomatoes, making their version of the dish is more brown than red.

If you want to add tomatoes - you may want to reduce the amount of stock or add a few minutes to the cooking time for the rice.

The package of Cajun spice that I bought in New Orleans was approximately 3 tablespoons - the perfect size for this recipe.

While we were in New Orleans, I picked up a Cajun Spice Blend package from The Spice & Tea Exchange on Saint Louis Street.

You could mix your own spice blend by making Emeril's Essence Creole Seasoning recipe.

If you do mix your own - be sure to save some to make Jean's Healthy Seafood Soup.  Jean lived in New Orleans for many years, and her recipe is very tasty and healthy and captures the soul of Louisiana cooking.

Zatarain's company is based in New Orleans, Louisiana. 

In New Orleans, there are many cooking shops - where I was able to buy some Zatarain's long grain rice.  This size bag is approximately 3 cups - which is what you need for this recipe.

Cured meats add a smokey flavor to the dish.
In my local grocery store, the pre-cooked meats are found in the freezer section next to the beer.  I was able to find some cajun style andouille from Aidells; along with some linguisa (Portuguese style) sausage.

To make this dish more healthy, you could replace the cured meats with shrimp.

If you have a good quality Dutch Oven - you will be pleased to see how the enamel releases the burned spots.

Another technique I read from Chef Prudhomme's book is the scrape and clear technique.  This technique requires you to push your tolerance for what you may think is near burning to what is actually caramelizing in the pan.  

The idea is that divide up your ingredients (two thirds of your chopped onions and bell peppers and a half of your spice blend and cured meats) and cook them to difference levels of "doneness" to vary the taste and texture to create more flavor out of the same ingredients.

You can use this technique while still using one pot.  For about 10-12 minutes, just brown your divided ingredients until the crust seems in danger of burning and then scrape the bottom of the pan to clear all the brown bits and repeat.

Cooking in one pot is easy and there is less to clean up.

After you are done browning your first batch of ingredients, you throw your remaining ingredients into the pot to create a layered look. Then the pot goes directly into your pre-heated oven with equal parts of rice and broth. 

Cook till the rice is done and the liquid is absorbed. 

Finish the rice in the oven. This also reduces the temptation to peek and let the steam out! 



Yield: 8-10 main-dish servings

Tara's One-Pot-Meal: Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya

prep time: 15 MINScook time: 1 hour and 30 MINStotal time: 1 hours and 45 mins
This one-pot-meal is tasty enough for a Sunday family dinner and simple enough to make on a weeknight - putting "The Big Easy" New Orleans lifestyle right in your own kitchen.

ingredients:


  • 12 oz. smoked fully cooked sausage (such as linguiƧa), halved lengthwise, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick semi-circles
  • 12 oz. andouille sausages, quartered lengthwise, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 large celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 cup red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 cup green bell pepper, diced
  • 6-8 large skinless boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1- to 1 1/2-inch pieces
  • 3 cups turkey broth
  • 3 cups (19 to 20 ounces) long-grain white rice
  • 8 green onions, chopped (about 2 cups)
  • Chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 3 tablespoon of Cajun spice blend

instructions:


  1. Position rack in bottom third of oven and preheat oven to 350°F so your Dutch Oven or heavy pan can be placed inside to finish cooking the rice. 
  2. Heat Dutch Oven over medium high heat on your stovetop. 
  3. Add 2/3 of your chopped onion and bell peppers, celery and 3 bay leaves to the pan.
  4. Add 1/2 of your Cajun spice blend and 1/2 of your cured meats to your pan.
  5. Heat and scrape the bottom of the pot every couple minutes (using Chef Paul Prodhommes technique and until the crust seems in danger of burning) for approximately 10-12 minutes.
  6. Stir in one cup of stock, scrape the bottom of the pot to clear it of all the brown bits and cook for 10 minutes more. 
  7. Add the chicken and green onions
  8. Add the remaining andouille, seasoning mix, white onions and peppers and stock.
  9. Cook until outside of chicken turns white, stirring often, 5-6 minutes.
  10. Mix in rice and bring jambalaya to boil. 
  11. Cover pot. Place in oven and bake until rice is tender and liquids are absorbed, approximately 45 to 48 minutes.
  12. Uncover pot. Mix chopped green onions into jambalaya; sprinkle jambalaya with chopped parsley and serve.
  13. Add your favorite hot sauce - if desired.
Created using The Recipes Generator



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