Sunday, 24 February 2013


Thank God for Hank Williams and iTunes! I had a lot of dental work done yesterday and I really wanted to lay an extra beating down on myself and have a great big pity party last night. And who better to listen to for hurtin' songs than Hank Williams right? Hahah I know you're thinking "who the hell would pay to download Hank Williams songs?" Well I also pay for Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass songs too, so that's proof that I cannot be dragged out of the 1960's! But the point of the story is that while I was listening to Hank, the song Jambalaya came on, and I practically jumped out of my chair for the excitement. How could I have forgotten all about one of my favourite dishes of all time? The self pity party ended right then and there and I set about doing a pantry inventory to make sure I had all of the ingredients.

This is a fast and easy dinner that you can make through the week. Since I'm making it for Sunday dinner, I'm going to add chicken, shrimp and sausage, but you can use either chicken or shrimp if you prefer. Mario makes his own sausage so I always have it on hand, but you can use any sausage you like. Most people use Andouille.

The spice blend is the key to the flavour here. You can buy Emeril Legasse's Bayou Blast, but it's expensive so I always make my own. You can make it and just store it in a jar for future use. But be smarter than me and label that jar with Creole Seasoning. I make a lot of different spice blends and put them in a jar and forget to label them. So I've made Asian inspired dishes that taste exactly like Mexican dishes and so on. Really a disaster!

So for the spice blend, you'll need:
3 tablespoons of paprika
2 tablespoons of garlic powder
1 tablespoon of black pepper
1 tablespoon of onion powder
1 tablespoon of cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon of dried oregano
1 tablespoon of dried thyme
This makes about a cup of spice blend and you only will use a couple of tablespoons for the recipe.
Notice how I omitted salt? You can add a tablespoon if you like, but I don't add it because I use my own jarred tomatoes which contain salt and if you use canned chicken broth, that's pretty salty too. So I leave it out and if I need salt at the end, I season it then. Just put it all in a jar and put the lid on and shake it up. Now label it!

For the Jambalaya, you need:
12 or so peeled and deveined shrimp
1/2 pound of boneless, skinless chicken, breast or thighs or both cut into bite size chunks
Sliced sausage of whatever you like, about a cup
1 1/2 tablespoons of your spice blend
a splash of olive oil to saute the vegetables
1 small finely chopped onion
1 green bell pepper chopped
3 stalks of chopped celery
Tomatoes. You can use fresh if you like. Chop about 3 of them. Or you can use canned as well. 1 small can.
4 cloves of chopped garlic
2 bay leaves (which you will remove at the end)
1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce
a splash of hot sauce (depends on how hot you want it!)
3/4 cup of long grain rice
2 1/2 cups of chicken broth

Saute your onion, green pepper and celery in the olive oil for about 5 minutes and add the garlic.
Add the chicken and sausage and a tablespoon of the spice blend. Stir it around for a minute or two to brown the chicken. Add the tomatoes, bay leaves, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce and rice. Stir all that around and let the rice pick up some flavour from the spices, a minute or two and add the chicken broth. Bring it up to a boil and reduce the heat and simmer for about 25 minutes with the lid on. Stir it every so often so it all doesn't stick to the bottom of the pot.

While this is simmering, add that other 1/2 tablespoon of the spice blend to the raw shrimp and let it absorb the flavour. Add it in to the pot and stir it around and let it simmer for about another 5- 8 minutes or until your shrimp are pink and cooked Leave the lid off for this and let the broth thicken. Don't cook them too long or they'll get tough.  Serve it with some nice, crusty bread.

That's it! Very easy and very delicious. This is a great one to bring for lunch the next day because it even tastes better the next day when you re-heat it. If you don't like spicy heat, omit the hot sauce altogether.
I'm so excited for you to try this one! I should go to the dentist more often!

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