11 April 2013

J is for Jambalaya

Photo credit: deepsouthdish.com

It's still wicked cold in my stretch of the outback, and that always makes me crave spicy foods. I love all kinds of ethnic cooking including Indian, Mexican, and Jamaican. One of my favorite dishes is jambalaya, a Creole dish that includes celery, peppers, onions (known as the "trinity"), tomatoes, various meats, and often seafood all mixed into rice. The Cajun version is made without tomatoes. My favorite recipe is from an old Fannie Farmer cookbook and it goes like this:

Chicken Jambalaya

4-5 pound chicken, in quarters
2 tablespoons oil
2 tablespoons bacon fat
Freshly ground pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup diced ham
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
5 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup minced parsley
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 teaspoons thyme, crumbled
1 cup chopped canned or fresh tomatoes
2 cups rice

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Rinse the chicken pieces and wipe dry. Heat the oil and bacon fat in a large skillet.  Brown the chicken pieces and sprinkle them with salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper. Remove from the pan and set aside. Add the ham, green pepper, celery, onion, and garlic to the pan and cook until the vegetables are soft. Add the chicken broth, parsley, bay leaf, and thyme; bring to a boil and cook uncovered until the broth is reduced to 4 cups. Remove the chicken meat from the bones in large pieces. Put the chicken meat, the unstrained broth, the tomatoes, and uncooked rice in a casserole. Stir, cover, and bake for 1 hour, checking every 20 minutes and adding more hot broth or water if it dries out. Remove the bay leaf before serving.

This recipe quite easily serves six people with the addition of a salad. For the two of us, it makes several generous meals. It also freezes very well since it doesn't have shrimp which tends to get rubbery when overcooked. We love this meal, and on cold days, the smell and warmth from the oven is so cozy and comforting!

What about you? What's your favorite meal on icy days like this? Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.


Unknown said...

If we waited for icy days along the Gulf of Mexico, we'd never eat anything cozy! I've been known to whip up gumbo in the middle of steamy, 100-in-the-shade August. The only jambalaya I like is what I make myself -- and your recipe sounds great. But Hubs doesn't like it, so I never make it. Enjoy some for me.

Stephsco said...

I love jambalaya! Even though I'm a fairly decent cook, I have to admit I've only made this from a box with added meat and veggies. I know, I know! I will have to venture into making this from scratch as I make a lot of things from whole ingredients and am not a fan of processed foods.

Patricia Lynne aka Patricia Josephine said...

That sounds very yummy.

Anonymous said...

Had the same title as you but mine referred to the song.

Loved your post it looked delicious.


Sharon Himsl said...

Sounds yummy...may have to try. I like lentil or split pea soup on a cold day. We grow lots here. In fact, we host the annual Lentil Festival here every August.

Patricia Stoltey said...

So this is where you're hiding out. I knew you had a new blog but I didn't have the link. Nice to catch up with you again, Dani.

Alternative Foodie said...

I love Jambalaya. Yours look just so yummy, Dani. Might just give it a try soon.

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