Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Eat In. Jambalaya.

Southern cuisine is something that is definitely not in my common repertoire of cooking, but I definitely enjoy it. Baked mac and cheese, blue cheese grits, cornbread, the list of delicious (albeit fatty) Southern comfort food is practically endless.

But without thinking about it last night I made delicious jambalaya. It's really just a medley of veggies, with broth, meats, and rice -- kind of like paella.

Most jambalayas come with chicken breast, sausage, and shrimp, but I opt for just veggie sausage. Should you want a little extra umf! in your jambalaya though, you can just cook these as you normally would, chop up the chicken breast into cubes, and mix into your medley. Here's what I did.

What you'll need:

- One packet of rice, about 1 1/2 cups. I really liked the Trader Joe's Basmati Rice Medley, which has grains of wild rice and herbs already mixed in.
-4-5 cremini mushrooms
-1 zucchini, sliced lengthwise then chopped into quarters
-6-8 cherry tomatoes
-bell pepper, I used only a quarter but you can add as much as you want. Chopped.
-Spice of some kind. I used merken, but cajun spices are available at the market. If you don't want to have to venture to the store for one spice, red pepper flakes or any other spicy flavoring would be fine.
-veggie or pork sausage, cut into 1-inch cubes.
-Onion would work well in this too. Chop finely.

What you'll do:

-Saute vegetables in the order that they cook in a pan with a bit of olive oil or butter. In this case, bell peppers first, then mushrooms, zucchini, tomatoes.
-While veggies are cooking, have your meat/protein cooking, ready to add when the veggies are cooked.
-Add rice dry to absorb some of the flavor and brown a bit.
-Toss in your protein to also absorb some of the rice.
-Add vegetable or chicken broth in proportion to the rice, about 3 cups. If it seems that the rice is still dry, add in some boiling water. Turn off the stove and let the broth/water absorb.

-- Lauren Williams

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