February 21 2012

Celebrate Mardis Gras !

You can celebrate Mardi Gras without ever getting on a plane. Whip up a batch of Steve’s jambalaya from At Home by Steve Poses,A Caterer’s Guide to Cooking and Entertaining . This recipe serves 8 to 10, so invite your friends to celebrate with you.

Jambalaya is a close relative of paella, though it’s more humble in composition and boasts a little more kick. This  brown, tomato-less jambalaya is evocative of Cajun cooking – the creole version would incorporate tomato.

Ideally, jambalaya is made just before serving, but it’s nearly as good when enjoyed the day after you make it.

Bring to room temperature and reheat, covered, in a 325° oven until piping hot, about 20-25 minutes.

Jambalaya

1 medium green pepper, chopped

1 medium onion, chopped

2 celery ribs, chopped

2 tablespoons chopped garlic

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme

1 pound medium unpeeled shrimp

2 cups water

1 pound smoked sausage, preferably andouille

1/2, pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 teaspoon cayenne

1 tablespoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

3 cups chicken stock

2-4 bay leaves

3 cups long-grain rice

1 Peel shrimp and remove tails, reserving shells. Add shells to water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Strain shells, reserving cooking liquid. Add some more water, if needed, to bring it back to 2 cups.

2 Halve sausage lengthwise and cut each long strip in half lengthwise so  you have 4 long strips. Line up strips and cut into %-inch pieces and set aside. Cut each chicken thigh into 6-8 pieces. Set aside. Cut each shrimp into 2 pieces and set aside.

3 Add olive oil to a large heavy pot and heat over moderate heat. Add sausage and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned.  Remove sausage with a slotted spoon, transfer to a plate and set aside. Add chicken to the residual  fat in the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and add to the plate with the sausage.  Add pepper, onion, and garlic and cook until onion is lightly browned, about 8-10 minutes. Scrape bottom to loosen any bits of chicken that have stuck to the pot.

4 Add shrimp, thyme, cayenne, salt, pepper, sausage and chicken, including any rendered juice. Add rice and stir until rice is coated with oil and turns from white to translucent, about 2 minutes. Add reserved liquid, chicken stock and bay leaves and cover. Reduce heat and simmer,covered, until liquid  is absorbed and rice is tender, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and allow jambalaya to sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Serves 8 – 10