Shrimp and Andouille Jambalaya
It’s been comfort food most nights at my house this winter. That means White Bean, Kale and Sausage Soup, foolproof Turkey Chili and a yummy, super simple Lentil Soup with Coconut Milk. Lately I’ve been on a jambalaya binge. It’s always a crowd pleaser and, if you’re prepared, you can throw it together with pantry ingredients for an instant dinner party. Stock your freezer with a few packages of andouille sausage (I use Nodine’s or Wellshire Turkey Andouille) and some frozen shrimp. It comes together fast and is a happy thing to find in the fridge for lunch the next day. After chopping onions, garlic, a pepper and the andouille, it takes only about 25 minutes to cook; just enough time to throw together a salad and set the table. The original recipe comes from a book my parents gave me as part of my wedding present: The 100 Greatest Dishes of Louisiana Cookery by Roy F. Guste, a descendant of the original Antoine (of, Antoine’s, of course). It’s the bible for classic Creole cuisine, with interesting culinary history, anecdotes and gorgeous illustrations. Believe it or not, I’ve tinkered with his recipe over the years: simplified it, and made a few substitutions (I prefer chicken stock to his beef). Either way, it’s a winner.
Here’s my version.
2 – 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 bell pepper chopped (use red or green)
14 oz diced tomatoes (or a few fresh tomatos in summer, chopped)
2 -3 cloves garlic
1 package Andouille (Nodine’s is a good local one, most packages are around 12 or 13 oz.).
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons Creole seasoning (Zatarain’s or similar)
1/2 teaspoon thyme
2 cups long grain rice
4 cups chicken stock
2 – 3 tablespoons minced parsley
1/2 teaspoon cayenne (or wait until jambalya is done and add hot sauce to taste)
salt to taste (you can go without because of the creole seasoning, but I love salt)
1 lb shelled shrimp (if you’re using frozen, defrost under cool water while you make the jambalaya)
Good to know: andouille gets hotter the next day, so if you’re planning to eat this for a couple of days, don’t add extra cayenne.
Saute onions, bell pepper, andouille sausage and garlic over low to medium heat for about five minutes, till vegetables are soft and slightly brown.
Add the tomato, bay leaves, thyme, cayenne, cajun seasoning, parsley, rice and chicken stock. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to simmer. Simmer 20 minutes, add shrimp (stir it around a little).
Simmer 5 more minutes until shrimp is cooked.
Adjust seasoning, discard bay leaves.
Let sit for 5 more minutes.
If you’re serving later, pile into a casserole dish, cover and keep in warmer or very low oven.
Serve with Crystal’s hot sauce, a big green salad and corn bread or a baguette.
Jambalaya is one of those dishes that can be thrown together any number of ways, using whatever is in the fridge: chicken, leftover ham, kielbasa. I often use chicken thighs, just chop them up into one inch chunks, sauté them first and then throw them in with the rest of the ingredients. If I’m using chicken, I’ll sauté the sausage with the chicken first. Take the meat out and sauté the vegetables. Add the meat back in after vegetables are soft.
tags: new orleans, best recipes, comfort food, rice, andouille sausage, entertaining, dinner parties