Monday, July 18, 2016

Founders Day Jambalaya

I have a post from several years ago for jambalaya-- a good one, as I recall-- but when I wanted to make jambalaya for Minnissippi Founders Day this year, I decided to up the ante.

This is an example of taking many recipes and formulating one of my own in advance, and in this case, it worked (it doesn't always). It is rather a baroque jambalaya with three meats, a roux, and some fiddliness. But it was yummy yummy to my belly.

What makes it an official Founders Day jambalaya is the inclusion of Swedish meatballs.

Minnissippi Founders Day Jambalaya

butter and/or olive oil (I used mostly butter)
2 T flour

Spice mix:
3 whole bay leaves
3/4 t cayenne
3/4 t paprika
1 1/2 t salt
1 1/2 t white pepper
1 t dried thyme
1 t oregano
1 t camaron molido, optional
1/2 t black pepper
1/4 t rubbed sage

8-12 oz andouille sausage (I used linguica), cut in half disks)
Swedish meatballs, thawed
3/4 lb boneless, skinless, chicken breast, cut in bite size pieces

1 T pressed garlic
1 c finely chopped onion
3/4 c finely chopped green onion
1 c finely chopped celery
1 c finely chopped green bell pepper

1 8 oz can tomato sauce
1 14.5 oz can whole tomatoes, chopped, including liquid
2 14.5 oz cans chicken broth
1 1/2 c uncooked long grain white rice

First, mise en place. Measure spices into a bowl. Cut vegetables and divide: one bowl with 1/2 of the onion, green onion, celery, and bell pepper, and ALL of the garlic. You'll use this first. The other bowl will have the other half of the onion, green onion, celery, and bell pepper. You'll add this later. Cut the sausage and the chicken. Thaw the meatballs (microwave cook ok).

Heat 3 T butter (or mix with olive oil) in a very large kettle or skillet with a heavy bottom over medium heat. Add sausage and cook for a few minutes, stirring frequently. Add chicken and continue cooking until chicken is brown, 3-5 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove sausage and chicken from pan and add fat if needed to get back to 2 T; I added 1 T butter. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, until browned. The fat will already be a little red because of the sausage; I cooked my roux for about 12 minutes, constantly smearing and swirling it and stirring, and it was about the color of a dark almond butter or natural peanut butter. Don't burn it!

Add your spice mix (bay leaves through sage) and another T of butter as needed. It should form a thickish paste; bloom it for a few minutes by squishing, turning, stirring in the pan. If the fat starts to separate, you're done.

Add another couple T butter, as needed, and add 1/2 of the onion, green onion, celery, green pepper, and all of the garlic. Cook until the vegetables start to get tender and relax, 8 minutes, stirring.

Add back chicken and sausage; add meatballs and the rest of the vegetables you set aside. Stir in tomato sauce and tomatoes. Bring to a boil (I needed all that liquid to get it wet enough to "bring to a boil", but I suppose your mileage might vary. If so, maybe only add 1/2 the tomato sauce or the tomatoes without their liquid). Stir in rice and broth. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer, uncovered, until rice is very nearly tender and the liquid is significantly reduced. (My assembled recipe suggested 25 minutes, but the actual process was much, much slower. But it got there).

Adjust the seasoning with salt, pepper, hot sauce, whatever else you think would help (think about the big taste categories. I thought it needed a touch umami so I splashed in umami. I thought it needed a touch of brightness so I splashed in some apple cider vinegar. Maybe you would think it needed some sweet, or pungency).

Continue to cook until rice is perfect. It should be thickened but still wet, a bit soupy.

I refrigerated it and re-heated it in the oven at 350 to serve.

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