Tuesday, October 5, 2010


Last Friday night I picked up both Paul and some friends who were coming for the weekend, at the airport.  Knowing we wouldn't get home until 8:30 or so, I wanted to be able to have dinner on the table within a half hour, but didn't want to be running around the kitchen like a crazy woman during that half hour.  Catching up in front of the fire over crackers and cheese and a glass of red wine sounded much more appealing.  The weather was rainy with the chill of early fall in the air, so I wanted a meal that would be warm and welcoming, as well as able to be made in advance.  My trusty Jambalaya recipe fit the bill on all counts.

I first discovered this recipe in the Junior League of Denver's 1987 Cookbook: Creme de Colorado. I've made some changes such as adding chicken, eliminating celery (I'm not a big fan of cooked celery) and modifying the spices, and now it's exactly the way we like it.  It's perfect Sunday Football food when your team is playing at 4 pm.  Speaking of football and my team... did I mention the Patriots beat the Dolphins last night on Monday Night Football?  They did and it was a game worth staying up ridiculously late for.

Anyway... the recipe is below and some additional adaptations are included.  Hope you like it!

Serves 8


Olive oil
1 pound Andouille sausage, sliced about 1/2 inch thick (you can substitute lite kielbasa is you prefer less fat and less spice)

1 pound boneless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 sweet, red pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
handful minced fresh italian (flat leaf) parsley
2 16-ounce cans chopped tomatoes, undrained
5 1/4 cups chicken broth
1 cup (about) sliced green onion
1 tsp dried thyme
1 bay leaf
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp chili powder 
1/4 tsp cayenne (optional if using Andouille sausage. If using kielbasa, some heat is probably a good
      idea.  Modify as desired)
Freshly ground salt and pepper to taste

1 1/2 pounds medium shrimp, shelled and deveined, if necessary.  If you buy them frozen with the tails on, remove the tails.

About 6 cups of rice.  I use a brown rice blend, but any kind is fine.

To make the stew:

1.  Ring bottom of large soup pot with olive oil.  Over medium-high heat, add sausage or kielbasa and brown.  Remove with slotted spoon and set aside.

2.  Brown chicken in same pot. (tip on browning any protein - put it in the hot pan and don't turn it over until it no longer sticks to the pan.  It will be perfectly brown at that point.)  When done, remove with slotted spoon and set aside.

3.  Pour excess grease out of pot.  If using kielbasa, you may have to add additional olive oil. 

4. Add red pepper, garlic and parsley and saute until fragrant and peppers are tender - about 5 minutes.

5.  Add undrained tomatoes, chicken broth, green onions and all spices.  Add reserved sausage and chicken.  

Jambalaya can be prepared a day in advance to this point.  Cool, then cover and refrigerate.  Bring to room temp before proceeding.

6.  Before serving, bring stew to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
7.  Start rice according to package directions.
8.  When ready to serve, add shrimp to stew and simmer just until shrimp curl and turn pink.
9.  Place spoonful of rice in warmed, individual bowl and ladle stew on top.  Serve with warm, crusty bread and salad.

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