|Margarita's International Recipes|
Jambalaya, the Creole version of Spanish paella is one of the most classic Creole dishes. It differs from its ancestor by the use of tomatoes instead of saffron and the addition of French-inspired spices. If done well, it's homey and delicious. As I have never been to Louisiana I have never had an authentic version, but I found this recipe from Emeril Lagasse to be very satisfying and relatively simple. I made a few modifications from the original, in particular by substituting chicken for duck (the original is a "Mardi Gras" jambalaya recipe), using canned tomatoes and less pepper (as I wanted my children to eat it), but in all I think I was faithful to the original.
My only complaint with the results was that there was too much liquid, my daughter was unhappy with how soggy the rice ended up being. The problem might have been that I used basmati rice and that it absorbs less water (though I didn't prewash it), but if I make it again I'll use 6 cups of broth instead of the 8 I used this time.
4 lbs chicken pieces, bone-in 2 tsp. salt 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil 1 lb andouille sausage, diced 1 large yellow onion, chopped 1/2 green bell pepper, chopped 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped 2 ribs celery, chopped 2 Tbsp. Creole seasoning 1 14.5oz can diced tomatoes 1 Tbsp. chopped garlic 3 bay leaves 2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves, chopped 6 - 8 cups chicken broth 3 cups long grain white rice 1 lb. small shrimp, peeled and deveined 2 bunches green onions, thinly sliced 1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped
Season the chicken with 1 tsp. salt. Heat the oil in a big pot over medium-high heat and brown the chicken, about 5 minutes per side. Remove from the pot and set aside.
Add the chopped sausage to the oil and cook, stirring, until browned, about 5 minutes. Add the onion, bell peppers, celery, Creole seasoning and 1 tsp. of salt. Mix well and cook until the vegetables soften, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the canned tomatoes, garlic and bay leaves and cook for 2 more minutes. Add the thyme and chicken broth and mix well. Return the chicken to the pot, bring to a boil and then simmer, covered, over medium-low heat until the chicken is cooked through, about 40 minutes.
Remove the chicken from the pot, and set aside to cool. Add the rice to the pot and simmer until the rice is barely tender, 10 to 20 minutes depending on the type of rice you are using. Meanwhile, remove the meat from the chicken bones and shred it, discarding the skin and bones.
Return the shredded chicken to the pot, add the shrimp and mix well. Cover and cook at the lowest heat you can get for 15 minutes or until the shrimp and rice are done. Add the green onions and parsley and stir gently. Remove and discard the bay leaves and serve the jambalaya.
Adapted from a recipe by Emeril Lagasse at The Food Network.