Tuesday, December 1, 2009

We Interrupt This Vacation Reverie To Invite You To Dinner

I was in the mood for jambalaya. So enthusiastic, in fact, that I left the office without the recipe so my foray into Whole Foods was flown blind. Still, it's stew - chicken and sausage stew (I prefer this to the (?) more traditional (?) chicken, sausage, and shrimp stew) - and stew generally has a lot of similar ingredients: you'll need stock, and tomatoes, and onions, and then whatever else you like to throw into food you'll be eating.

While I recently acquired the perfect pot for this dish (and finally - literally I have been lusting after this thing for at least 8 years and Bloomingdale's finally had that recession sale I was looking for on the 9 qt. Le Creuset oven), it is still at my parent's house because it is heavy enough that I want to wait until I have the car in the city rather than trying to lug it home on the train. So I figured I'd use my trusty (and rusty) unfinished cast iron pot. Wrong. My unchecked shopping had yielded an amount of food that would never fit in the pot - hell the meat part of the recipe alone filled almost 3/4 of the 5 qt. pot. As the jambalaya had to be cooked in the oven, my only recourse was my turkey roaster.

After all the meat and veg and stock and juice and rice was added (people, remember as I seem to have not, that rice expands when cooked and don't just throw in more rice because you think it looks a little under-riced), the damn turkey roaster was filled 2/3 of the way.

But the smell was good. Really good. Sadly, too much rice and not enough liquid did create a slightly crunchy finished product (which will be rectified this evening as more liquid is added and recooked), but, aside from that, dinner was super yummy.

Which is good. Because there is enough of this stuff to last us through the winter. Literally.

But it was good, so give it a shot. I will say that, in my opinion, the special ingredient is the smoked paprika.

Jambalaya - No Shrimp Edition
Makes a bajillion servings

3 pounds chicken (I used breast and thigh) cut into bite-sized chunks
1 pound andouille sausage (or chorizo or smoked kielbasa)
1 heaping cup chopped yellow onion
1 heaping cup chopped red onion
1 heaping cup chopped celery
1.5 pounds chopped bell peppers
4 cloves chopped garlic
oil/butter - enough to saute meat and veg
1 quart chicken stock
2 quarts stewed tomatoes
2-3 cups rice (but check as cooking to make sure there's enough liquid - I would recommend keeping an extra 28 oz. container of stewed tomatoes on hand just in case)
bay leaves
smoked paprika
(all of the above to taste)
1 truly enormous pot that is oven safe

Brown meats in a saute pan then transfer to cooking vessel. Cook all veg together until cooked but not soft then transfer to cooking vessel. Add stock, tomatoes, rice, and spices (here really, go with your gut - I tend to never measure spices because I know what they sort of look like going in - that being said, I added too much tabasco and cayenne together and had to add some water later in the cooking process). Cover cooking vessel and put into 425 degree oven until done. Done is when you taste it and you would eat it - I'd say about 1.5 hours.

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