As my representation of cuisine from our southern neighbours, friends suggested everything from fried chicken to McDonald’s. But I wanted to make one of my favourite dishes – jambalaya. I have been looking forward to this day all month! A casserole-type dish made with a variety of meats, seafood, vegetables and spicy seasoning, jambalaya originated in Louisiana and came from both Spanish and French influences. It is thought that it was originally an attempt by Spanish immigrants to create paella with the local ingredients of New Orleans. Any types of meat can be used and leftovers can be added, making it ideal for the Louisiana people with little resources. There are two types of jambalaya – Creole and Cajun. Creole – the original method – is often called “red jambalaya” for the inclusion of red tomatoes. The Cajun version came from rural areas of Louisiana and is brown in colour (more information here).
I used one of the most famous American chef’s Jambalaya recipe – Emeril Lagasse:
- 12 medium shrimp, peeled, deveined and chopped
- 4 ounces chicken, diced
- 1 tablespoon Creole seasoning, recipe follows
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 cup chopped onion
- 1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
- 1/4 cup chopped celery
- 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
- 1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon hot sauce
- 3/4 cup rice
- 3 cups chicken stock
- 5 ounces Andouille sausage, sliced
- Salt and pepper
In a bowl combine shrimp, chicken and Creole seasoning, and work in seasoning well. In a largesaucepan heat oil over high heat with onion, pepper and celery, 3 minutes. Add garlic, tomatoes, bay leaves, Worcestershire and hot sauces. Stir in rice and slowly add broth. Reduce heat to medium and cook until rice absorbs liquid and becomes tender, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. When rice is just tender add shrimp and chicken mixture and sausage. Cook until meat is done, about 10 minutes more. Season to taste with salt, pepper and Creole seasoning.
Emeril’s ESSENCE Creole Seasoning (also referred to as Bayou Blast):
- 2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
- 2 tablespoons salt
- 2 tablespoons garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon dried thyme
Combine all ingredients thoroughly.
Yield: 2/3 cup
The recipe was delicious, although could have used a bit more seasoning at the end. I don’t know what it is about jambalaya, but I love the blend of flavours with the heartiness of all the meat, vegetables and rice. It’s comfort food for me.
As a side note, I’d just like to point out that it’s very late, I’ve had a long day and I hope the above made sense. Blogging in the wee hours of the morning before bed is a sacrifice I have to make in order to balance my writing with my work, friends, family and cooking. Sometimes it’s hard to get the motivation when the thought of sleep is overpowering my senses. When there’s no other time to write, though, I don’t have a choice.
Greek salad (to go with my leftover jambalaya).