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Simple, Hearty and Delicious – John Besh’s Classic Creole Seafood Jambalaya

Shrimp is one of those ingredients that is a lot more versatile than many give it credit for. While Sean would be happy if I simply made fried shrimp every time I picked some up from the seafood market, I like to mix things up and try different things with it. A scampi is always a good option or a stir-fry dinner, but one of my favorites is to make jambalaya. There is something about a fantastic bowl if jambalaya with crunchy french bread that is perfect for me for a meal. While jambalaya might seem intimidating to some to try to make, the truth is most recipes for it a pretty easy to put together. More often than not, they have a lot of prep work for you to do, but once that is accomplished everything else falls into place pretty quickly. I decided to make this recipe from John Besh that I found at the Food Republic because, as a classic New Orleans chef, who should know better than Chef Besh regarding how to make this dish?

John Besh’s Classic Creole Seafood Jambalaya

1/2 pound andouille or another smoked sausage, chopped

1 pound fresh pork sausage, removed from casings

1/2 cup bacon fat or vegetable oil

1 large onion, chopped

1 bell pepper, seeded and chopped

1 stalk celery, with leaves, chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 cups white rice

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 dried bay leaves

1 cup crushed tomatoes

2 cups chicken broth

1 1/2 pounds medium wild American shrimp, peeled and deveined

Salt and pepper

2 green onions, chopped

Heat a very big, heavy-bottomed pot (like a Dutch oven) over high heat and then reduce the heat to medium. (This lets the pot heat uniformly, preventing hot spots, which are likely to burn.) Brown the andouille and pork sausage in the bacon fat or vegetable oil, stirring slowly with a long wooden spoon to build color.

 

After the sausages have browned, add the onions to the pot and allow them to caramelize, about 15 minutes, to develop more flavor. Add the bell peppers to the onions to save as much of the color as you can in the peppers. Add the celery ( use the leaves too) and the garlic and cook the vegetables for about 5 minutes, occasionally stirring so that everything in the pot cooks evenly.

 

Next add the rice, thyme, cayenne pepper, and bay leaves to the pot and cook, often stirring, for about 3 minutes. Increase the heat to high and add the crushed tomatoes and broth. Bring the liquid to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes.

 

While the rice is cooking, season the shrimp with salt and pepper. After the rice has simmered for 15 minutes, fold in the shrimp and the green onions. Cover the pot again, turn off the heat, and let everything continue to cook in the hot pot for about another 10 minutes until the shrimp are pink and tender.

 

Fluff the jambalaya with a fork and serve.

I have seen other recipes that can get more complicated, but this one is basic straight to the point, easy to follow and returns an excellent meal. I used red, yellow and orange pepper for some added color to the dish. You can use another sausage if you can’t find andouille, but andouille to me helps to make the dish what it is with its spice and flavor. You might also want to sub in shrimp stock for the chicken broth if you are feeling ambitious. You can make a nice stock with the shrimp shells and add some deeper flavor. The recipe comes together pretty quickly, and all of the flavors are there for you to give a complete, tasty meal in one pot. It often tastes just as great the second day as the flavors come together even more. You can have the whole meal created in about 45 minutes for a different weeknight meal for you and the family.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!

 

 

 

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Jumpin’ Jambalaya

Jambalaya and gumbo are two of my favorite dishes. This week I decided to make Jambalaya as our seafood meal, even though it does have some sausage in it as well, so it’s not strictly seafood. While there aren’t the 23 different ingredients I mentioned yesterday (a slight exaggeration on my part) there are quiet a few ingredients, so there is some prep work involved in this recipe. It’s also a great one pot meal with seafood, sausage, rice and vegetables all in one.

Jambalaya

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

8 ounces andouille sausage, sliced 1/4 inch thick

1 onion, chopped fine

1 rib celery, chopped fine

1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and chopped fine

1 yellow bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and chopped fine

5 garlic cloves, minced

1 1/2 cups long-grain white rice

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon minced fresh thyme or 1/8 teaspoon dried

1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained with 1/4 cup juice reserved

1 (8 ounce) bottle clam juice

1 1/2 cups chicken broth

1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined

2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley

Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the andouille and cook until lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Transfer the sausage to a paper-towel-lined plate, leaving the fat in the pot. Add the onion, celery, and peppers to the fat in the pot and return to medium heat. Cook, scraping up any browned bits, until the vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 15 seconds.

Stir in the rice, salt, and thyme and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the tomatoes, 1/4 cup reserved tomato juice, clam juice, broth and browned sausage. Bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook for 25 minutes. stirring occasionally.

Scatter the shrimp over the rice and continue to cook, covered, until the rice is tender and the shrimp have cooked through, about 5 minutes longer. Stir in the parsley before serving.

That’s all there is to it. There are some recipes that use different types of sausage or kielbasa or even ham; use whatever your preference is for you and your family. Also, some recipes call to add some chicken to the pot as well. I have used it before but opted not to put any in this time around. Finally, a lot of recipes call for jalapeno, cayenne or Tabasco sauce right near the end of cooking, which I also do sometimes, but Sean does really like the hot and spicy so this time I am serving the Tabasco separately so you can just add some to your own plate if you wish. Any leftovers I will be sure to have for lunch tomorrow as I love the leftovers from this meal.

Another quick, one pot meal in the books for the day. I was planning to make beef stew tomorrow, but Michelle has to go away on business for a couple of days, so I have bumped it into next week’s meal plan instead. Tomorrow I will write about what is in the plan for next week and maybe find an interesting recipe or two to put up as well just to add to the post. If you have any suggestions of recipes you would like to see, please feel free to comment or drop me a not at IguanaFlats@msn.com. As always, thanks for checking out my blog. I noticed I have had over 500 views of the blog so far, which I think is great and I thank everyone for reading along. Enjoy the rest of your day and your meal this evening!

 
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Posted by on February 23, 2012 in Cooking, Dinner, Seafood, Soups & Stews

 

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Saturday’s Leftovers and Next Week’s Plan

Today is a day we had marked to use for leftovers and we do have some things left from the week. Tonight for dinner, we are going to have hot open-faced pot roast sandwiches on some bread from Rockland Bakery with some mashed potatoes and gravy. It’s all left over from last night’s meal. We’ve done a good job with any other leftovers this week, with Michelle bringing stuff for lunch all week, so there really isn’t too much left to anything with tonight other than what we had yesterday.

So that leads me up to next week’s meal plan. We’ve decided to go with all one pot meals this week to try to make things easy for clean up, and we’re also going to use the slow cooker twice this week to try to ease things as far as time for cooking. I am going to try to start using the slow cooker on Monday’s meal, since this seems to be the busiest day of the week for me with everything that goes on around here. This week, however, I will be utilizing leftovers from Sunday’s meal to make Monday’s meal. So, here’s the plan for this week:

Sunday: Roast Leg of Lamb, Baked Potatoes, Cauliflower, and Turnips

Monday – Shepherd’s Pie

Tuesday – Chicken Marsala (this one is done in the slow cooker)

Wednesday – Black Bean Stew (our meat-free meal of the week)

Thursday – Jambalaya

Friday – Beef Stew (also done in the slow cooker)

Saturday – We are marking as a leftovers day. Saturdays, for us anyway, often seem ideal as a leftover day since we usually try to just relax all day long, or we’ve done chores all day long and no one feels like thinking about meals or cooking.

The Shepherd’s Pie on Monday will use any leftover lamb from Sunday as well as the leftover turnips. The Chicken Marsala on Tuesday is a slow cooker recipe that I’ll be using, but you can also make it traditionally. I thought it would be fun to try it in the slow cooker and see how it comes out. The other meals are great one pot meals to make, even if the Jambalaya requires quite a bit of prep work as far as cutting and chopping. Thursdays also seem to lend themselves well to our seafood meal of the week since I often have the time to get fresh seafood on Thursday mornings. Some of the ingredients I am using this week are a little out of the norm for what you may have around the house, such as the lamb for the shepherd’s pie (if we weren’t having it on Sunday, I wouldn’t be making it at all), Marsala wine for the Chicken Marsala, andouille sausage for the Jambalaya, and black beans for the Black Bean Stew. Other than those items, I didn’t have to shop for anything that we didn’t already have around the house, really bringing the shopping bill down for this week, which is great. If you want to use the same meal plan layout that I follow, you can get it here:family_meal_planner

That’s about all I have to post for today. It’s been a pretty lazy day for me other than the shopping I did, so I think I’ll get back to lounging for the rest of the day :). If you have any questions, comments or recipes that you might like to see, please let me know. Any and all input is appreciated. I hope everyone is enjoying their long weekend so far and have a great Saturday night!

 
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Posted by on February 18, 2012 in Meal Plan Menu

 

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