Jambalaya!


plate of jambalaya


Got leftover turkey?  Ok, who doesn't?  Or rather, who won't?  What to do?  There's a limit to the number of turkey sandwiches that one can eat.

I usually make a pot of gumbo.  For a change of pace I decided on some jambalaya (we celebrated Thanksgiving early due to work considerations).

The range of recipes and variations is endless.  Here's how I did it.  A little more, or a little less of any ingredient is ok.  This isn't rocket science, but it sure tastes good.  Main thing to remember, once the rice is added, don't screw with it!  Just simmer (slowly) until the liquid is absorbed.  You'll end up with a nice non-sticky rice dish where all of the grains are recognizable.  As opposed to an amorphous blob of yuck.

Ingredients:


Cooked turkey (meat from two legs) - works good with leftover game birds too
Polish sausage (Hillshire Farm or similar) 1/2 cup chopped
Smoked ham (optional - but I used meat from a couple of ham hocks)
Green pepper -  1 & 1/2 cup chopped
Onion - 1 & 1/2 cup chopped
Celery - 1 & 1/2 cup chopped
Garlic - 2 cloves minced
Chicken stock - 2 cups
Tomato sauce - 4 to 8 ounces
Bay leaf
Cajun seasoning mix - see below
Tabasco - a couple of shakes
Red pepper flakes - optional, but I used a couple of shakes
White rice - 2 cups well rinsed
Green onions

Chop Polish sausage and smoked ham.  Saute until browned (there was enough fat in the ham and sausage to get the job done).  Add turkey and dry spices. Stir and saute for a couple more minutes. Add in chopped vegetables.  Saute for a couple more minutes.  Add stock, tomato sauce, bay leaf and tabasco.  Stir. Heat to boiling.  Add rice. Stir just enough to mix the ingredients. Turn down heat. Cover.  Leave it alone.  Cook on low heat for around 30 to 45 minutes (until liquid is absorbed). That's how long it takes to cook real rice.

Plate it.  Garnish with chopped green onions.  Fresh crunchy baguette goes good too.


Cajun seasoning mix:

You can start with equal parts of each.  Taste and adjust the proportions to your liking.  I usually add about two to three parts of onion and garlic powders and paprika to each part of the others.  Playing with the proportions will vary the "heat." I keep a shaker of this mixed and handy at all times.  It's good on barbecued meats, eggs, etc. 

Onion powder
Garlic powder
cayenne pepper
white pepper
black pepper
paprika


I like Cajun cooking, have for a long time, and am a big fan of Paul Prudhomme. I remember watching one of his videos long ago.  He ended up by saying:

"If you eat something, and it don't taste good, it ain't Cajun!"




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