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Big Daddy's Jambalaya

I've been serving jambalaya based on one of Paul Prudhomme's original recipes for years and loving every bite of it, but now it's becoming more and more important to lower the amount of fat in the foods we eat.  The trick, or course, is to do it without sacrificing the flavor.  Not only does this recipe score in that department but it's simpler to prepare and takes less time.

 

Serves 4 if included with a salad and fresh bread.

Seasoning Mix
2 tablespoons Cajun/Creole seasoning
2 whole bay leaves
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon file´ powder (optional)
Ingredients
2 tablespoon vegetable oil
cooking spray
1 pound Andouille (or other smoked) sausage, diced, casing removed, OR diced chicken breast
1-14½ can diced tomatoes, drained
¾ cup chopped onions
¾ cup chopped celery
½ cup green pepper, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cups uncooked long grain rice (see note)
2 cups chicken stock

Heat a nonstick skillet over high heat.  Coat with cooking spray and add the sausage or chicken taking care not to crowd the pan thus cooling it down (this may need to be done in batches.)

If using the sausage, allow it to brown well while rendering the fat.  The chicken should brown well on the outside but shouldn't cook completely through at this time.

Drain and set aside (if reusing the skillet for the next step make sure to wipe clean with paper towels.)

Heat a skillet or pot large enough to hold all ingredients over medium heat.  Add the oil and swirl to coat.

Add the Cajun trinity (onions, celery, bell pepper), garlic and seasonings and sauté, stirring frequently, until softened, about 10 minutes.

Add the rice and sauté an additional 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

Add the stock, stirring well. Bring mixture to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until liquid is absorbed, about twenty minutes, stirring occasionally near the end of the cooking time.

When the liquid has been absorbed add the tomatoes and sausage or chicken and toss to combine and remove the jambalaya from the heat, cover and let sit for about 5-10 minutes before serving.

Notes:

  1. My experience with this dish is that it can easily turn to mush if a good quality, long grain rice is not used.  I'm not generally in the habit of making specific brand name recommendations, but in this case it can mean a lot if the wrong rice is used.  So if you're unsure about which rice to use I recommend you go with Uncle Ben's converted white rice to reduce the chances of having the rice be mushy and sticky.
  2. If you wish to include shrimp in the mix, peel and devein them and add them when you cover the jambalaya at the end.  This will allow them plenty of time to poach.  Just make sure they have turned pink before serving.

 

 

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