Saturday, January 26, 2013

Jambalaya, a Warm, Feel-Good Recipe for Cold Weather

Wow, almost two months between blogs this time - much too long. As to why, the answer is the same one I use when people ask me why it took close to twenty years to write Cruising Connecticut with a Picnic Basket: Life got in the way.

Although it took a lot to get me to Florida this year, I am now happily enjoying the sunshine as I work on my travel memoir. 

While I am basking in the warm weather, because of my strong ties to Connecticut, I am also aware of the brutually cold weather that has overtaken that state. So, this month's blog is devoted to a recipe from my book that, although it is surely made all over the country during tailgating, is also a warm, feel-good dish for cold weather.

Joe's Jambalaya

Joe Cahn, Commissioner of Tailgating, says “This is my favorite recipe because you
can put just about anything in it. If it walks, crawls, swims or flies, it can be thrown into
Jambalaya. Everything goes into one pot so clean-up’s a breeze."

(12—15 servings)

1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch pieces
salt and ground black pepper
1 1/2 lbs. sausage cut in 1/4-inch slices
4 cups chopped onions
2 cups chopped celery
2 cups chopped green bell pepper
5 cups chicken stock or water flavored with chicken bouillon
1 tbs. minced garlic
4 cups long grain rice
2 tbsp. Kitchen Bouquet (browning agent)
2 tbsp. seasoning salt
2 cups chopped green onions

* Season chicken with salt and pepper; brown in hot oil in 8 quart Dutch oven or stockpot over medium-high heat.
* Add sausage; cook 5-to-7 minutes.
* Remove chicken and sausage from pan; set aside.
* Add onions, celery, green peppers and garlic; cook, stirring 7-10 minutes or until vegetables begin to wilt.
* Stir in chicken stock, reserved chicken and sausage, seasoning salt and Kitchen Bouquet. Bring to a boil.
* Add rice and return to a boil.
* Cover and reduce heat to simmer.
* Cook 10 minutes; remove cover and quickly turn rice from top to bottom completely.
* Replace cover and cook 15 to 20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender.
* Stir in green onions.

For brown jambalaya, add 1 heaping tbsp. brown sugar to hot oil and caramelize, or
make a roux, or use Kitchen Bouquet. For red jambalaya, add approximately 1/4 cup
paprika or use 1/2 stock and 1/2 tomato juice or V-8 for your liquid. For seafood
jambalaya, add cooked seafood when rice is cooked.

If using an electric stove, reduce cooking time by 3-4 minutes.

Four Tips:
Use 1 cup of rice for every 2 cups of vegetables (onion, celery, bell pepper.)
Use 1 1/4 cups of liquid for every 1 cup of uncooked rice.
1 cup of uncooked rice will make 3 cups of cooked rice, season accordingly.
Cook jambalaya for a total of 25 to 30 minutes, stirring well after 10 minutes.

Check out Joe's website at: