My husband made this yummy Cajun-Creole sausage and shrimp Jambalaya for dinner tonight after I complained that I was tired of cooking (sure, I love to cook, but a little distance is good for the love.. :-) Besides, its always great to have someone cook good stuff for you!).
The wonderful thing about this dish (other than the taste, flavor etc.) is that you can put in an assortment of meat into it. You can prety much throw in whatever is in your fridge! I had bought some spicy Italian pork sausage with the noble intention of making Spanish style omlette. And from my trip to Chinatown, had about a pound of shrimp in my freezer. What better way than to combine the two in this traditional recipe of the South for a flavorful meal that hits you in all the right spots leaving a soothing after-glow of satisfaction! :-)
The Jambalaya itself can be done in three ways - Cajun, Creole and new age. Our dish was cooking as a combination of the Cajun and creole styles.
Of course, I did not really get my temporary retirement from culinary duties. My smart husband put my two hands and legs into full use sending me off to the grocery store to pick sauces and veggies. When I returned loaded, I was promptly put on the task of peeling and de-veining the shrimp. I don't know about you guys, but every time I clean a bunch of shrimp (and I seem to be the defacto cleaner in the house owing to completely gnawed finger nails of the other half!), it seems that the pile of the unpeeled creatures seems to stubbornly stay constant! Have you ever felt that?? Or maybe it was just me lamenting at not being to sloth on the couch till dinner time..LOL..
Anyway, I finally managed to sloth as I wanted after the shrimp part. While there, I indulged myself in the wonderful smells wafting from the kitchen (ours is a tiny apartment and you really cannot escape getting a whiff of anything that's cooking!). The smell of sausage (browned first) cooking in a broth of the holy trinity, stewed tomatoes and thyme is enough to thrill even a content stomach down hunger's way! Add to that shrimps and flavored rice (we used Basmati - very very Indian, indeed!). It was a heavenly journey of aromas that sustained me until plating time.
Two hours, and many mouth watering peeks into the pan, later, the Jambalaya was on the table and all set to be devoured. And did we attack it! It was all hands aboard! :-) And hey, I can even take some credit for the dish! :-))..After all, it was the quality ingredients and expertly peeled shrimps that was the base of all the deep flavor.... hehe...
1 lb spicy sausage - you can use Andouille also
1/2 lb peeled and de-veined shrimp
1 cup rice
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped green pepper
3 ribs chopped celery
2 cloves garlic chopped fine
2 cups chicken broth
1 can stewed tomatoes
2 tp fresh thyme
1 tp Tabasco sauce
2 tp paprika
salt and pepper to taste
Brown the sausages in olive oil - remove and slice them into bite size pieces. We use the same pot for cooking the jambalaya. The bits of meat that stick to the pot during the browning actually give the color to the dish and add to the flavor. If you are using other meats, season the pieces with paprika and brown them too and keep aside.
Saute the holy trinity (onions, celery and bell pepper - so called as it constitutes the base of most Italian dishes...wow! the gods must rejoice!) along with the minced garlic. Once cooked, add the tomatoes, stock, seasoning and all the meats. The stewed tomatoes add the Creole flavor and coloring to the dish. Cover the mixture and simmer for an hour on medium-low heat. This gentle simmering will work to bring together the flavors of all the ingredients while concentrating them into a tempest.
Now bring the mixture to a boil and add the rice. If there isn't enough fluid in the pan for the rice add some water before adding rice. Add the shrimp and cook on low until rice is cooked. Do not open the lid after adding the shrimps, else the rice will not cook well as the steam escapes. This will take about 30 minutes.
Once rice is done, let sit for a few minutes before serving....