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Monday, August 18, 2008

classic jambalaya

jambalaya shrimp 2

None of these photos do justice to this classic jambalaya dish, but I'm going to blog it anyway in the hopes that AHB readers trust my recipes more than my photography skills by now... I've made crab and andouille sausage jambalaya before, but A made a special request a while ago for a "real" jambalaya (i.e. with shrimp, not crab).  There are a surprising number of versions of this dish, but if I was going to trust anyone specifically, it would have to be Emeril, since creole cooking is his bread-and-butter. He didn't let me down - although his recipe made such huge portions (even by A's standards), we were eating leftovers for so long that I probably won't get this request again for months.

Grocery list: 1 pound medium shrimp (peeled, deveined), 2 pounds chicken, 1.5 pounds andouille sausage, 3-4 garlic cloves, 2 onions, 2-3 stalks celery, 1 bell pepper, 3-4 dried bay leaves, cayenne pepper, 2 sprigs fresh thyme, 1-2 tomatoes, 2 cups rice, 1 bunch green onions, handful of fresh parsley, plus Emeril's Creole seasoning (his proprietary blend of paprika, salt, garlic powder, black pepper, onion powder, cayenne, dried oregano, dried thyme).

seasoning shrimp for jambalaya

Start by chopping the onions, celery, tomatoes and green onions. Cut the chicken and sausage into bit-size pieces. In separate bowls, season the shrimp and chicken pieces generously with the creole seasoning (enough to coat - the more you season it, the spicier the jambalaya will be).

shrimp for jambalaya

Heat a couple T of olive oil in a large dutch oven - medium high heat - and saute the shrimp. After 3-4 minutes, the shrimp will be almost cooked through (whitish pink instead of opaque), so remove from the pot and set aside. They'll cook the rest of the way through when you add them back to the cooking jambalaya later.

chicken for jambalaya

Add a couple more tablespoons of olive oil to the pot, and cook the seasoned chicken pieces about 6-8 minutes. Remove and set aside as well.

add vegetables to sausage jambalaya

Add the sausage pieces to the pot and brown evenly, then add all the vegetables *except for the green onions* (you'll add those later). Throw in a couple of minced garlic cloves, a few bay leaves, a sprinkle of extra cayenne, and a couple sprigs of fresh thyme.

add tomatoes to jambalaya

The vegetables will wilt after 5-6 minutes, at which point you can add your chopped tomatoes. Stir in 6 cups of water plus the cooked chicken pieces.

add rice to jambalaya

You may want to check your rice label before using this ratio - I used brown rice, which requires a little less water but much longer cooking time. Emeril's recipe calls for 2 cups of rice to 6 cups of water - I used 2 cups brown rice and reduced that water (and the cooking times - I made sure to NOT add the shrimp until the rice was about 10 minutes from being done). Bring the pot to a boil, reduce heat to low, and cover. Cook for 15 minutes, or as long as your rice needs to cook minus 10 minutes.

jambalaya shrimp sausage

Stir in the shrimp, the chopped green onions, and a handful of chopped parsley, and cook for another 10 minutes. The rice should be done, and the liquid almost entirely cooked out - the consistency is creamy, not watery. Turn off the heat and allow to stand for at least 10 minutes.

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