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

Rev it Up With Red Beans and Rice

Louisiana Style Red Beans

Red Beans and RiceGrowing up in Louisiana almost guarantees that you will be raised on red beans and rice. It is of Creole heritage rather than Cajun, but is loved by everyone in Louisiana and most southern states. In many households Monday was wash day. Because the red beans could simmer on the stove while the wash was being done, facilitating multi-asking without a lot of oversight, the cook could check the liquid level and stir every time she went by the kitchen which helped to release the gas in the beans.
Our family did not do the Monday wash day tradition. We had red bens and rice whenever we chose and they were generally served with a hot pan of cornbread and a big bowl of potato salad. Yes Ma’am, lets gobble down those carbohydrates. Of course the beans either had ham or sausage in them for seasoning, so there was definitely protein for balance.
I try to keep Andouille (An-doo-ee) sausage in my freezer to use with my beans and Jambalaya. The sausage imparts a flavor that is so “Louisiana” that it is not quite the same for us when cooked with regular sausage, although any good beef, pork or beef and pork sausage will do. We did not eat a lot of ham in my family so we tended to go with sausage over ham, but ham is a delicious seasoning, as is bacon.
Most dry beans are cooked in a similar fashion, wash, soak, add liquid and seasonings and simmer until tender but not mushy. Red beans are most authentic when you use small red beans rather than kidney beans. They have a creamy rich taste that sets them apart from Kidney beans. However, if you can’t find the small red beans. Kidney beans will do in a pinch.
Serves 6 generously

  • 1 pound dried small red beans, or kidney beans
  • 4 quarts cold water
  • seasoning meat – 6 slices bacon or 1-2 pounds (Andouille or other beef or pork – not polish) sausage, and/or 1 ham hock
  • 1 medium to large onion, diced
  • ¼ cup olive oil, other liquid shortening, or bacon grease
  • 1-2 tablespoons fresh garlic, chopped fine
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1½ teaspoons ground pepper, black or cayenne
  • 1 quart hot water, more if needed

Preparation

Rinse beans very well, picking out stones and debris. In a large pot, over high heat, bring beans and 1 gallon cold water to boil. Turn heat to medium and boil gently for 5-10 minutes. Turn off heat and allow beans to soak 2 – 4 hours.

When using sausage, cut it into 1” lengths before cooking or cut bacon in 1 inch lengths. In large skillet, sauté seasoning meat(s) and onion in ¼ cup hot grease until onions become transparent. Add garlic and continue sautéing on medium heat for about 3 minutes more.

While seasonings sauté, bring pot of presoaked beans to boil over high heat. Lower heat to medium and cook while seasonings sauté. Add cooked seasonings and bring bean pot back to a boil on high heat, stirring frequently. Turn heat to medium low, stir in salt and pepper and continue to cook at a gentle boil for about 1 hour, stirring every 10 – 15 minutes. Do not put a lid on pot. Stir often to release gas in beans and to prevent sticking. Add water as necessary being careful not to make beans soupy – you want the liquid to have a little “thickness” to it.

When beans are fork tender, taste liquid and adjust seasonings. Serve over rice and accompanied by hot cornbread.

Beans and rice or beans and cornbread make a deliciously healthy complete protein when eaten together. During the depression Americans consumed a lot of dry beans and rice because of the minimal price and good health benefits. Our family ate them weekly simply because we loved them, and we still love them to this day.
If you have not tried red beans and rice you are missing out on a real treat as well as a healthy meal. Why not try them this week and see what you have been missing?
Ya’ll have another down home delicious day now.

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

Easy Sausage and Cabbage One Dish Meal

 

Sausage and Cabbage

In every home there are days when you just don’t want to cook (I’ve said that before) and yesterday was one of those days for me. I didn’t have anything exciting in the way of an entrée to prepare so I had to rely on my ingenuity and a well stocked pantry to come up with a meal.
Let me share my thought process with you. First of all I always have plenty of sausage in my freezer that bails me out on many an occasion. Check, defrost the sausage. In the frig I had one half of a head of cabbage, and in my fresh vegetable bin I had one large red potato. That was the beginning of what turned out to be an easy and delightfully delicious one dish meal. I sliced one link of the sausage into ¼–inch slices. Next I washed, then cut the potato in half lengthwise and then into ¼-inch slices. Finally I chopped the cabbage. I was ready to begin cooking.
I took my large skillet, sprayed it with oil, added 2 tablespoons olive oil and put it over a medium flame. In went the sausage to fry a couple of minutes, followed by the potatoes to lightly brown, then the cabbage. Stirring frequently I tended my skillet until all ingredients were browned and I added ½-can Rotel tomatoes and juice plus ½-can chicken stock. A little salt and pepper and I was on my way. Put a lid on that honey and let it simmer over a low flame for about 10 minutes, until cabbage and potatoes were cooked and dinner was ready. The blend of flavors were excellent. The meal was very low calorie and tasty as could be. My husband was delighted with the fare and so was I.
I actually was surprised at how good it was. Necessity is the mother of invention I am told and that is how a lot of my recipes are born. If you like cooked cabbage I hope you will try this easy one dish meal.

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

Sausage and Cabbage One Dish Meal

SERVES 2 generously

 

  • 1 link sausage (I used Andouille but beef or Italian sausage works)
  • 1 large red potato
  • 1 head green cabbage
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ can Rotel or other diced tomatoes
  • ½ can chicken broth
  • optional:
  • whole kernel corn
  • small ears corn on the cob
  • green peas or lima beans
  • small carrots

 

 

Slice sausage into ¼ inch pieces. Wash and slice potato in half lengthwise then cut into ¼ inch slices. Chop cabbage into chunks.

Spray large skillet with oil and heat over medium heat. Add olive oil to skillet. When hot, add sausage then potatoes and lightly brown all, gently stirring frequently (you don’t want the potatoes to break apart). Add cabbage and continue to stir and brown. When cabbage begins to brown, add tomatoes and broth, cover, turn heat to low and simmer for about 10 minutes or until potatoes and cabbage are just tender. Season to taste. Serve with hot crusty bread if you have it on hand.

It was delicious just like that but you can improvise further and add additional sausage and/or vegetables as indicated if you want to stretch the dish further. If using more vegetables add the remainder of the tomatoes and broth.

Ya’ll have a down home delicious day with little effort and lots of flavor.

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Ya’ll have a down home delicious day now and come back to see us again soon!

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