Thursday, November 18, 2010

Cajun Jambalaya

Hooo Dawgy!  Oooh La La!  This jambalaya is one of my favorites.
     Red Jambalaya (Creole Jambalaya) is a little different than Cajun Jambalaya.  The big difference is that Cajun Jambalaya has no tomato in it.  The dark brown color comes from the dark brown roux.  
This is a traditional recipe that is so satisfying to eat.  The flavors are pure Louisiana Cajun!
     Wear a heavy long sleeve shirt or jacket and thick gloves when cooking a dark roux.  The roux is so high of a temperature that just a little spatter can cause serious burns.  Prepare all the meats and vegetables ahead of time because you must work fast after the roux is cooked.
     Recipe:  Heat about 5-6 pats of unsalted butter in a sauce pot over medium high heat.
     Add an equal amount of flour while whisking.
     Constantly stir with a whisk till the roux becomes cooked a brown color.
     When the roux turns brown add these vegetables:  2 handfuls of chopped onion, 1 handful of mixed chopped green bell pepper and red bell pepper and one handful of chopped celery.
     Add 2 chopped green onions.
     Add 3 cloves of chopped garlic.
     Stir the vegetables and roux.  The roux will stop cooking and the vegetables will instantly cook in the hot roux.  Stir constantly.
     Add a handful of large diced raw chicken breast.
     Add 8 - 10 peeled medium size shrimp.
     Add a handful of bite size pieces of ham.
     Add a handful of thick sliced Andouille Sausage.  (You can substitute a good seasoned smoked sausage if you can't find any Andouille Sausage.)
     Stir till the meats start to cook in the roux.  (The roux will stick to the vegetables and meat.  The jambalaya at this stage is almost like a thick solid mass.)
     Add a small squeeze of lemon juice.
     Add shrimp broth and a little bit of light pork broth while stirring.  Add enough of the broths to cover the ingredients. 
     The jambalaya will turn into a medium thick sauce at this point.  Stir till the jambalaya is smooth.
     Add sea salt and black pepper
     Add a couple pinches each of basil, oregano, marjoram, tarragon and thyme.
     Add a bay leaf.
     Add a few generous pinches of paprika.
     Add a few generous pinches of cayenne pepper.
     Add a few pinches of chopped Italian parsley.
     Add some long grain white rice.  (The proportion of rice should be 1 part rice to 2 1/4 parts sauce.  A couple of handfuls of rice should be about right.)  reduce the temperature to medium heat. 
     Stir the jambalaya once every couple of minutes for the first ten minutes.
     For the last 10-15 minutes, turn the temperature to low simmer and do not stir.
     Never cover a jambalaya pan!  Cook uncovered.  The jambalaya finishes cooking like a paella this way.  The rice will get cooked dark and crisp against the bottom of the pan.
     After the rice is cooked tender, spoon the jambalaya onto a plate.
     Garnish with Italian flat parsley sprigs.
     Louisiana heaven!  The flavors of a Cajun Jambalaya are so superb.  The herbs are a balance of traditional flavor.  The proportion of the mix of vegetables is referred to as "The Holy Trinity" in Louisiana cooking.  (Look that subject up on line for an interesting story of the origins of the trinity.)  The ham, smokey andouille sausage, chicken and shrimp flavors are such a great combination.  The dark brown roux is the body of this jambalaya.  The cayenne pepper is present in every bite.  This is a very nice flavored classic Cajun rice entree.  Delicious!  Jambalaya! ...  Shawna

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