The Cajun Side of Me

A year ago I took a trip to Florida for work and we went out to eat at The Yard House in Boca Raton, FL.  Little did I realize that I was about to experience the best Jambalaya I’ve ever had.  I didn’t know what to expect, but I was amazed at the mixture of flavor.  The spices, meat, and rice were just perfect together.  I knew I had to attempt this dish at home.  I went to my trusted source at FoodWishes.com and Chef John provided a recipe for Creole Sausage and Shrimp Jambalaya.  I consider this a “one pot” meal because, frankly, you only use one pot (or pan).

I’ve found when cooking cajun/creole type food there’s a lot of cutting and dicing that’s best to do first. The holy trinity of cajun style cooking is celery, green   pepper, and onion. There’s usually tomatoes that follow that up as well. While I was doing this, The Mrs. was prepping the shrimp.  We just had frozen shrimp that needed some attention before we could eat them.  Once you have those ingredients prepped you can start cooking.

Spices

We start by browning a couple Andouille sausages in butter. Yep, butter.  When the meat is nearly done you add in a few spices (paprika, cumin, cayenne) and let it finish up.

Andouille

Then it’s time to add the tomatoes, wait about 30 seconds and then add in the “holy trinity” (celery, onion, green pepper in case you’ve already forgotten) and let that saute for a few minutes.  The salt and bay leaf cut in at this part of the dance.  I don’t own any leafs of the bay so I just omit that.

Mixing it up

We cap off the interactive portion of this recipe by adding in the brown rice and 3 cups of chicken stock.  You may think 3 cups is a lot but believe me, it cooks off nicely.  This last attempt I only used 2 cups and it turned out drier than I’d prefer.  Now you sit back and let it all simmer together for 45 minutes.  During the last 5 minutes you throw in the raw shrimp which cooks to just the right temperature.

Simmering

Finally, the meal is ready to eat!  It’s got a little kick to it due to the cayenne so adjust it to your taste if necessary.  While this recipe is not as good as The Yard House jambalaya, it will hit the spot and give you the satisfaction of saying “I’ve made jambalaya.”  People are impressed when you throw around that word. I think it’s because most people don’t know what jambalaya is, they just know that people in Louisiana eat it.

Jambalaya

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