I am half way through my stay in Tennessee now and thought I’d try another southern recipe. This one comes from Louisiana and it’s called Jambalaya. It’s the first time I’ve made Jambalaya so it was a real experiment as far as I’m concerned, but it turned out really nice. Next time I will do it a little differently, but that’s what cooking is all about isn’t it.
It was the very first time I’ve cooked with garlic or cayenne pepper so that was a step into the dark. I don’t like garlic at all myself, but since it would not be in any way authentic without it, I bravely put the garlic clove into the chopper and chopped away. I had to hold my nose while it cooked but it didn’t seem to affect the taste at all.
Here are the ingredients:
2 pounds of chicken parts (I left the chicken out this time, using just shrimp because there were only two of us. Next time I will use chicken as well but not as much as this.)
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (don’t be tempted to use more than this. Believe me, you won’t need it!)
2 tablespoons of vegetable oil (this surprised me. I would have thought olive oil would be more appropriate, but no! vegetable it is. I used Canola)
8 ounces andouille or other spicy smoked sausage such as kielbasa, cut into 1/4 inch slices. (I left this out, again because there are only two of us. When I get back to England I will do it again and use Chorizo, which is a Spanish sausage. I don’t know what andouille sausage is, but I guess it’s a bit like Chorizo.)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium green bell pepper, seeded and chopped.
1 stalk celery (I left this out because I didn’t want the mix to be too watery.)
2 cloves garlic, minced. (I used one)
1 teaspoon of dried thyme
1 cup of long-grain rice. (I cheated and bought a packed of Jambalaya rice. I thought if I messed up on the main part, at least we’d have rice to eat.)
1 16 ounce can of whole tomatoes in juice. (Again I left this out because I would have had a mountain of food otherwise).
1 cup of fish stock.
1/2 cup water.
1 bay leaf
1/2 pound shrimp
4 green onions. In England we call these Spring onions. See picture.
1/2 teaspoon of hot-pepper sauce or to taste.
‘This dish had humble beginnings as a poor man’s catchall for leftover meats, fish and sausages and plenty of rice. Today it is one of the most revered dishes in Louisiana, and both Creole and Cajun cuisines proudly claim it as their own.’ From the cookbook ‘The Best of New Orleans’ which Larry bought for me when he went there recently.
I put peas into the recipe because I like green vegetables.
Here are the shrimp. I used frozen shrimp because that’s easier but you are supposed to use the whole shrimp, complete with tails.
This dish reminds me very much of the Spanish dish Paella, which has similar ingredients.
Here it is cooking:
Basically you throw it all in the pan and cook it till it’s done. Always best to start with the part that needs the most cooking. In this recipe that would be the chicken, but since I didn’t use it this time, I started with the vegetables, adding the shrimp afterwards. It’s a mistake to overcook the shrimp because they go tough.
Here is the rice cooking: Easy – just follow the instructions on the packet, which are basically adding the rice to water, bringing to boil and simmering till all the water is absorbed and the rice is al dente.
…and on the plate: looks good doesn’t it and plenty for two people. This was my portion. It went down a treat.