Jambalaya

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For quite some time I had a go to easy dinner that was probably one of the most processed items in our house.  It was perfect as it was shelf stable and could be a last minute meal in about 30 minutes.  This was also one of the few meals Mr. Mixture could make himself and usually did when I traveled.  I will admit there is still a box in the back of the pantry for an emergency, but last summer I finally decided to give Jambalaya from scratch a try.

I had made versions of cajun meals before – gumbo, crawfish étouffée type item, but they never seemed as authentic as I wanted and though they were good meals they still left you yearning for the real New Orleans taste.  I say this yet I have never been to New Orleans so it is really a taste that I envision or one created by visiting some cajun restaurants over the years.

I follow 100 days of real food and though I do not think her lifestyle works for everyone and as a dietitian I have some differing ideas, we have spoken and definitely have a lot in common. I noticed there was a recipe for Jambalaya in her recipe index and though I knew I would need to make changes, as I am not a huge oyster fan, the recipe had great potential.

I already had creole seasoning as I had made a batch for another recipe we had tried previously from the Tupelo Honey Cookbook. A favorite restaurant of ours in Asheville, North Carolina.

Jambalaya

Ingredients
2 Tbsp butter
1 lb of sausage (andouille or kielbasa depends on the level of heat you want in the dish)
1 bell pepper, any color, chopped
1 onion, chopped
3 Large ribs celery, chopped
1 Small head garlic, cloves peeled and minced
1 tsp Creole seasoning (sold premixed or make some)
2 Large tomatoes chopped*
1/2 pound shrimp**
1 1/2 Cups quick cooking brown rice
2 Cups chicken stock/broth (if you don’t have any stock you could use water instead)*
1 Cup water
Hot sauce, to taste (optional)
Green onions and Jalapeños for garnish

* I find this is a great meal in the winter, but tomatoes have no flavor during that time of the year.  I substitute one can/ box diced tomatoes, partially drained.  When I make this substitution I reduce the chicken stock/broth to 1 cup and use the tomato juice to add flavor.

** Precooked shrimp and sausage can be substituted without a change to the recipe. If using precooked sausage add during step #3 in directions.

Directions
1. Combine the butter and sausage in a large skillet pot over high heat (I prefer my Le Creuset for even cooking). Cook for about 6 minutes stirring occasionally. Note if using precooked sausage skip to step #2
2. Add the bell pepper, onion, celery, garlic, Creole seasoning. Sauté over high heat for about 8 minutes, or until the veggies have browned and carmelized.
3. Add the tomatoes, shrimp, and sausage if using precooked, and stir for a couple of minutes.
4. Add the rice, stir gently, then add the broth and water. Gently stir the rice again to make sure it is not sticking to the bottom of the pot.  Taste and if you desire a hotter taste add a few drops of hot sauce, stir and continue to simmer a few more minutes.
5. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes (or until the rice is tender).
6. Garnish with green onions, jalapeños and serve.

Jambalaya Printer Version

Mr. Mixture whom continues to enjoy the boxed version that we had discovered during graduate school days.  A perfect meal when on a student budget, gave a raving review.  This new jambalaya from scratch recipe has become a regularly requested meal and for good reason.  It can be spiced up to suit everyones taste and it is a great weeknight one pot meal that can easily be prepared and held for different family members mealtimes.

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