I have an amazing recipe for jambalaya, from a cookbook I bought in the early years of my marriage (Great Recipes from Around the World). I keep said cookbook on hand primarily for this particular recipe. It’s an all-day affair, starting with cooking down a whole chicken until you finally add the final touches and voila! Jambalaya. It’s definitely a Sunday recipe.
This is the delicious, make it on a Sunday
because it takes all day recipe.
So when I was rooting around in the deep freezer, searching for something, anything, that would inspire me to cook dinner that night (aside from those mini corndogs, which are really more of a Friday thing), I found a package of andouille sausage I had purchased, sitting next to a big bag of shrimp. I see shrimp and sausage and my mind goes to jambalaya. Surely I could cheat my way through it?
I mentally indexed what I would need and what I had on hand, seeing as how this search for food was a result of not having gone to the grocery store recently and not particularly wanting to go to the grocery store on this day. I could totally do this and buy myself another day of sanity away from the grocery store. And so Weeknight Jambalaya was born.
Historically, jambalaya is a dish with meat, vegetables, seafood and rice–casserole. And we all know that casseroles are easy to adapt to individual tastes or what items you have on hand. Jambalaya is not highbrow food; it’s a combination of odds & ends that originated in the bayou when food was scarce. This makes it perfect for my purposes, as I scrounge through the cabinets, searching for dinner ingredients!
This recipe serves about 6 and takes about 30 minutes to prepare.
1 cup each chopped onion, bell pepper & celery (your trinity ingredients, if you will)
3 cloves chopped garlic
2 t olive oil
salt & pepper
1 cup long grain white rice
1 pound andouille sausage, cooked and sliced
1 can mild Rotel diced tomatoes
1 14-oz can chopped tomatoes
1 1/2 cups chicken stock (I would say you could use vegetable stock if you are a vegetarian, but again; the name my kids gave this dish is “meat salad” so it’s really not very vegetarian-friendly)
1 pound peeled and deveined shrimp
To a Dutch oven or heavy-bottom pot, add onion, bell pepper, celery, garlic, olive oil, salt & pepper.
Onions, celery, bell peppers & garlic with a
hit of olive oil, salt & pepper. Ready to start
Saute until tender. Add the rice and stir until the rice is coated with oil and integrated with the vegetables.
Add the sausage, tomatoes and stock.
Ooo-ee! Time to simmer down, now!
Bring to a boil, give it a stir and then cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes, or until most of the liquid should have been absorbed. Stir occasionally. Next, add:
Add the shrimp and cook until done, about 5 minutes. Top with chopped, fresh parsley and a few squirts of fresh lemon juice (if you like; I like) and serve with Parmesan cheese and a nice crusty bread and maybe a green salad so you don’t feel so guilty.
- Add in other meats such as chopped leftover chicken and/or ham (both of which are included in my all-day recipe).
- For spicier, add Tabasco (made in Louisiana = authentic flavor!). For less spicy, sub smoked sausage for andouille and use 2 cans of chopped tomatoes instead of the Rotel. And I should note: the only reason I didn’t add any Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning is because I didn’t have any! I’ll be picking some up on my next grocery store run.
- If you don’t have stock on hand, use the Knorr concentrated chicken stock, which is great.