Sunday, May 17, 2009


I decided to try my hand at making one of my favorite dishes tonight -- jambalaya. I don't eat it very often, but my memories of the few I sampled in Charleston almost make me weep with the food-memory. So, I was excited to try making it myself even though it seemed a bit intimidating.

I used this recipe as a base, but I actually think the recipe has a few mistakes in it - like it doesn't tell you what to do with several of the ingredients?!? - so I changed it up a bit throughout. I didn't use the shrimp shells, I bought frozen raw, deveined, peeled, with the tail off. I also made sure to add in all the remaining onions, celery, and peppers at the same time as the tomatoes, since it didn't say what to do with them!

The shrimp, looking all pinky and resting. Note, when a recipe says you should reserve some cooked meat to the side AND you have a pet in the house, it's probably best to cover the meat with a towel lest you find a furry little nose in the bowl. Not saying that happened, but not denying it either...

The chicken cooked in that makeshift stock above, which was a new trick for me. It wasn't very appetizing looking - I'd never really boiled chicken before - but it's super tender.

Another variation for me - I used lowfat turkey kielbasa instead of andouille. That takes the fat and calorie count down quite a bit.

Here it is pre-and post-rice. The smell was fantastic. It made a huge amount, enough for 6 big bowls to cover tonight and lunches all week. In the future, I think I may add a lot more veggies (would carrots work? what else?) and cut back a bit on the rice. This recipe was probably the most complicated I've made since the chicken cacciatore, requiring lots of steps and many, many pots, dishes and utensils. But, the good news is it tastes pretty darn good. Not weepy-good, but definitely a successful homemade meal.

In other news... I ended up with a really big bag of sweet potatoes and wasn't sure what to do with them. So thanks go to Onyah for sending me this recipe for Curried Sweet Potato Wedges. Very easy to make, super-tasty (and very spicy), great as either a side dish or a small meal on their own. Just be sure to have a good glass of water nearby, cuz they pack the heat!


DC Food Blog said...

A few vegetables that would go great in the jambalaya:

red bell peppers
okra (frozen in a bag!)
collard greens

DC Food Blog said...

Also a few suggestions to streamline the recipe. Skip the boiling shrimp part. Dump the shrimp in the last five minutes. This means you won't get the shrimp stock BUT I would substitute the liquid with low-sodium chicken stock. Roast the chicken breasts in a 350 degree oven for 35-45 minutes instead of poaching. If you do it on a foil-lined pan that's one less dish to clean up. Finally, here's my sequence -

1. Sautee the onion and celery in the oil. (why lose the fiber of the veggies and you are making a great flavor base)

2. Add the sausage.

3. Add the other veggies and the rice.

4. Stir a minute to coat the rice in the sausage and vegetably goodness.

5. Add the stock. And cook according to recipe.

6. Five before serving add the raw shrimp and chicken stir and cover to cook the shrimp through.

This save you using another pot for the shrimp and chicken poaching and you get to keep the celery and onion in the dish.

Stef said...

Oh, thanks. Those are really great tips that make sense, both to simplify the recipe and keep in those veggies.