Jambalaya

 

jambalayaTo my way of thinking Jambalaya is about one of the best dishes on the planet. A chicken, sausage and rice dish, it is believed to have been derived from the Spanish Paella but has a Cajun flavor to it. Having grown up in rice country in Louisiana, we ate rice regularly but my favorite was always Jambalaya. Spicy as you choose and full flavored, it is filling and satisfying to the tastebuds. Those of us from Cajun country like to use Cajun Andouille Sausage but because that is not available throughout the U.S. you can use regular beef, pork, or beef and pork sausage and simply add a little cayenne pepper to balance the flavor.
Andouille is twice smoked and spicy which gives the dish its light kick. I regularly make trips to Louisiana to pick up a large supply of Manda Andouille Sausage to keep ready for use in my freezer. We like it many ways, grilled, fried or used in gumbo, beans or Jambalaya.
You will find that making Jambalaya is easy and allows your own interpretation of the flavor combinations according to your personal preferences. Less spicy or more, less chicken or sausage, more tomato sauce or less, brown or white rice. Play with the recipe and adapt it to your taste and enjoy, enjoy, enjoy. This recipe makes a very large amount. You may want to cut the meat amounts in half.

Serves 8-10 generously

  • 1 3-4 pound fryer, cut up – or 8-10 chicken pieces of choice, skin on
  • garlic powder, salt, pepper to season chicken
  • ¼ – ½ cup canola oil or bacon drippings or combination of the two
  • 2-3 links Andouille Cajun sausage or 1 pound other beef or pork link smoked sausage
  • 6 cups (48 ounces) chicken broth
  • 4-6 ounces canned tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes or ½ cup minced fresh parsley
  • 2–2 ½ teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper, more or less to taste
  • *¼ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper – if you like it spicy/li>
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric, optional
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ½ teaspoon celery seed or ½ cup chunky diced celery
  • ½ cup green pepper, diced
  • 2 cups chopped yellow onion
  • 1½ tablespoons purchased minced garlic or 3 large cloves fresh garlic,
  • 1 cup water
  • 2-2 ½ cups uncooked brown or long grain white rice (or a combination of the two)
  • large skillet for browning meat
  • 7 quart or larger pot (Dutch oven type preferable) sprayed or rubbed with cooking oil

Preparation
Season each chicken piece on both sides with garlic powder, salt and pepper.
Spray, or rub, a large skillet with oil, add cooking oil and heat over high heat to hot but not smoking. Reduce heat to medium high, add chicken skin-side down, one piece at a time, and lightly brown on each side.
While chicken is browning, cut sausage into bite size or smaller pieces.
Put cooking pot over high heat and add broth, tomato sauce, parsley, salt, pepper, turmeric, bay leaves, celery seed (if using seeds instead of fresh) to pot and stir well. After liquid comes to a low boil, reduce heat to medium and let simmer. When chicken is browned, add it to cooking pot and simmer while browning sausage in skillet. Add browned sausage to pot with chicken.
Reduce heat under skillet to medium and sauté green pepper, celery (if using fresh celery), and onion about 3 minutes stirring frequently. Drain excess oil from skillet then add garlic and sauté briefly.
Add the water to skillet and deglaze by scraping all brown bits from bottom and sides of skillet into water.
Pour everything from skillet into simmering cooking pot and bring liquid back up to a gentle boil over high heat. Cover pot, reduce heat to medium low, and simmer for about 40 minutes (or until chicken is cooked) before adding rice. Remove bay leaf, taste liquid, and adjust seasonings if necessary.
When using brown rice, add rice to liquid, stir well, and bring back to simmer. Cover and cook over medium heat about 40 minutes or according to package directions (I find my brand takes longer than the package suggests), stirring once or twice to prevent sticking. Cook an additional 20 minutes over very low heat, without stirring.
For long grain white rice, add rice to boiling liquid, bring back up to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and steam 30 minutes or according to package directions.
When using a combination of brown and white rice, cook as above but cover and cook brown rice 30 minutes on a low boil, then add white rice, bring back to a boil, lower heat to simmer, cover and steam for another 30 minutes. Rice is done when tender but not gummy. Turn off heat and let Jambalaya sit with lid on for at least 20 minutes before serving so that remaining liquid may be absorbed. You can prepare the meat and liquid one day and cook rice another day if more convenient. The flavors get even better overnight.
This is a complete meal when served with a side salad.
Recipe may be cut in half.
I guarantee you will enjoy a down home delicious day with Jambalaya on the menu. Eat hearty and let me know what you think.

Peggy Sholly
Down Home Delicious®

A Taste of Down Home Delicious®
Down Home Delicious® Extravaganza

Cole Slaw

 

cole slawEverywhere I look in restaurants and deli’s I see cole slaw that is finely chopped. But at home many people prefer the chunky chopped. It is a matter of personal taste and the flavor is the same, just the experience on the tongue is different. The good thing about cole slaw is that it goes with so many other dishes. It is a regular with fried chicken, fried seafood, at picnics, home and anywhere you want a nice refreshing salad. The good news is that carrots and cabbage are so healthy. The mayo may be stretching healthy a little but you can use fat free mayo if you prefer or mix half and half mayo and fat free sour cream. Try it each way and then decide your personal preference. Memorial Day is a great day to make your own slaw. It is quick and easy and oh so delicious.

I suggest you not add salt to slaw until time to serve because salt tends to make the cabbage weep. It draws the liquid out of it and then your slaw is runny and the flavor is no longer as intense. Even though I don’t have it in the recipe, I was raised on slaw that also had hard boiled egg in it. I LOVE IT. My Mom would finely mince one hard boiled egg and stir it into the slaw. It changes the flavor just slightly but in a way that is unique to Mom and oh so good. You might want to try it in a small amount of your slaw to see what you think.
cole slawWell, its time to get planning your menu for the upcoming holiday with backyard barbeques and picnics so let’s get to the good stuff and find out how to make a mean bowl of quick and easy cole slaw that will rival any other you taste.

Serves 8-10

  • 1 medium head of cabbage
  • 4-5 carrots, scraped
  • 1 cup Hellman’s Real Mayonnaise (not salad dressing)
  • Black or Cayenne Pepper to taste
  • Optional: one hard boiled egg, finely minced
  • Optional: ½ cup cooked whole salad shrimp or chopped crawfish tails
  • Optional: Cajun seasoning
  • Salt

Preparation
Shred cabbage in food processor or grate on box grater. Slice thin for chunky slaw. Grate peeled or scraped carrots or add to processor with cabbage. Because carrots are so hard it is best to dice or slice them for chunky slaw.

Combine cabbage and carrots in large salad bowl and refrigerate.
In a small bowl, mix together mayonnaise, pepper and optional shrimp or crawfish and/or egg.. Stir mayo mixture into cabbage. Season with Cajun seasoning to taste (no salt at this time). You can use more or less mayo as preferred. Some heads of cabbage are more dry than others and you will want more mayo. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes until ready to serve, the colder the slaw the better the taste.
Add salt, to taste just before serving. Because of the mayo you want to keep slaw refrigerated as much as possible.
As you can see, cole slaw is quick and easy, so it is a good side dish with any and all meals. It is particularly good accompanying a sandwich at lunch or in place of lettuce in a sandwich for a different taste treat.

Peggy Sholly
Down Home Delicious®
A Taste of Down Home Delicious®
Down Home Delicious® Extravaganza

Easy Apple Tart

 

Yesterday was the day of de ja vu. I finally got around to making my apple tart. It was fast and easy as always and looked mouthwateringly inviting when I removed it from the oven. I put it on a rack to cool, walked through the living room and there on the television, Giada was making apple tart. Guess it was in the air. Hers did not look as yummy as mine but it had not been baked yet so who’s to say?
Anyway, apple tart is one of those decadent treats you make when you want something sweet but don’t want a project. It is so simple it’s even a treat to make. It makes the most incompetent cook look accomplished. I keep pie crusts in the freezer for spur of the moment desserts and all the other ingredients are pantry staples.
The whole process takes only a few minutes because it is pretty much assembling, and not much preparation. Of course you can make this same tart with any manner of filling, from fresh fruit slices to canned pie filling, whatever satisfies your sweet tooth at the moment. If using canned pie filling, omit adding sugar. You can also leave off the oats if you prefer. I like the crunch and fiber on mine.
As promised, the recipe for my apple tart follows…probably quite ordinary but my slant on it nonetheless. Enjoy.

Peggy Sholly
Down Home Delicious®
A Taste of Down Home Delicious®
Down Home Delicious® Extravaganza

Easy Apple Tart

Simple to make and especially delightful when eaten warm with a dollop of ice cream.

 
SERVES 6-8

  • 1 premade 9-inch pie crust, room temperature
  • all purpose flour
  • cornstarch
  • 2 Fuji apples, or other baking apples of choice, peeled and cored
  • ½ cup white granulated sugar
  • ½-¾ teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 dash of salt
  • ½ cup of oats
  • ½ cup chopped pecans, or nuts of choice
  • ⅓ cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon cool water
  • 3 tablespoons butter, cold

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Roll out the pie crust on a sheet pan. Put flour on the crust and spread all over except around the edges.
Turn the pie crust over and put corn starch in center, spread around to within 2 inches of the edges. It should not be thick, just a nice covering.
Take your apples and slice in ¼-inch slices and place in a bowl. Mix together your sugar, cinnamon and salt and toss gently with apples.
Make rows of apple slices on crust leaving about 2-inches uncovered around the edge. Overlap the apple slices as you place them on crust and use all apple slices. Pour remaining sugar over the layered apples.
Sprinkle oats, then nuts followed by brown sugar over apple mound. Moisten the 2-inch edge of crust lightly with water. You can use your fingers or a brush.
Gently lift edge of pie crust to fold up over the apples. Because the outside circle is larger than the filled circle the crust will ruffle. Fold over the extra ruffle of dough and pinch lightly with your fingers to seal the dough together so it will lay flat on apples. It will then look pleated. Do this around the whole tart.
Crack your one egg into a small bowl and beat slightly with water. With a small brush, brush egg wash on your folded crust. You can sprinkle a little white sugar over egg wash also if you like to add a little sweetness to crust. The egg white makes the crust shiny and pretty but is an optional step.
Cut your cold butter into tiny cubes and dot all over the filling that shows in the center of your tart.
Make a small tent out of creased aluminum foil, dull side down, to place over tart so nuts will not burn during baking.
Put pan into preheated oven with foil tent over tart and bake for 25-40 minutes depending on your oven. Check on tart frequently from 25 minutes on to make sure it doesn’t brown too much. It’s cooked when crust is golden brown. Take foil off and leave in oven another two minutes to finish browning nuts.
Remove tart from oven and allow to cool on stove or eat hot with ice cream. We are always too anxious to wait for it to cool and enjoy it best warm.