Friday, February 17, 2017

Red Jambalaya

     Red Jambalaya is also called Creole Jambalaya.  Red Jambalaya is one of the most popular traditional Jambalaya recipes and it differs from Cajun Jambalaya.  Red Jambalaya has tomatoes in the recipe and Cajun Jambalaya does not.
     If you are familiar with Spanish Paella, then making Jambalaya will be second nature.  Jambalaya is cooked in three stages with one pan.  During the final stage, the Jambalaya is not stirred and the rice is allowed to lightly brown till a thin crust forms.  This browning technique also adds a rich "tomate pincer."  In classic French culinary terms, pincer means to pinch more flavor, as in lightly caramelizing tomato.  
     Red Jambalaya is relatively easy to make.  The ingredients can be found in a common grocery store.  The selection of herbs, spices and the trinity is what gives Louisiana style Creole cooking such a unique flavor.  Red Jambalaya is tasty, comfortable and it is a real crowd pleaser!
     Red Jambalaya:
     This recipe yields about 6 cups.  (2 to 3 portions)
     A wide braising pan or wide large sauce pot works best for this recipe.  More surface area in a pot allows the flavors to develop as they should.   
     After the rice is added, do not cover the pot with a lid, or the texture will become mushy!
     Step 1:  Heat a wide sauce pot (or deep braising pan) over medium heat.  (about 10" to 12" wide)
     Add 3 1/2 tablespoons of unsalted butter.
     Add 4 ounces of ham that is cut into bite size pieces.  (Louisiana Tasso Ham or Smoked Ham is best for this recipe.)
     Add 5 ounces of chicken breast filet that is cut into bite size pieces.
     Add 5 ounces of 1/2" thick sliced Andouille Sausage.
     Sauté till light brown highlights appear.
     Step 2:  Add 1 tablespoon of chopped garlic.
     Add 1 cup of diced onion.
     Add 1/2 cup of large diced mixed green bell pepper and red bell pepper.
     Add 1/2 cup of diced celery.
     Add 1 minced seeded jalapeño pepper.
     Add 3 sliced green onions.  (1/4" thick)
     Sauté and stir till the onions are clear in color.
     Step 3:  Add 10 peeled large shrimp.  (Remove the tails.)
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice.
     Add 1 bay leaf.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of  tarragon.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of thyme.
     Add 2 pinches of  basil.
     Add 2 pinches of oregano.
     Add 2 pinches of marjoram.
     Step 4:  Add 1/2 tablespoon of Spanish Paprika.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper.  (or to taste)
     Add 1 tablespoon of chopped Italian Parsley.
     Add 2 pinches of black pepper.
     Add 1 pinch of white pepper.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt.
     Stir till the shrimp start to cook.  
     Step 5:  Add 1 cup of chopped ripe tomato.
     Stir till the tomatoes start to cook.
     Step 6:  Add 1 cup of tomato juice.
     Add 1 1/2 cups of chicken stock.
     Bring the liquid to a gentle boil.
     Step 7:  Add 1 cup of long grain white rice.
     Stir till the liquid returns to a gentle boil.
     Step 8:  Reduce the temperature to medium low/low heat.
     Simmer till the rice is a little more than halfway cooked.  (About 15 minutes.)
     Stir the Jambalaya occasionally,
     Step 9:  Taste and adjust the seasoning with sea salt and black pepper if necessary.
     Check the moisture content.
     *Most of the liquid should be absorbed or evaporated by this time.  If the rice looks too dry to finish cooking, add about 1/4 cup to 1/3 cup more chicken stock.  The rice only needs to be moist at this point. 
     Step 10:  *For the final stage of cooking, do not stir the Jambalaya at all!  It is traditional to let the rice lightly brown and get a little bit of crispy crust on the bottom of the pan. 
     Cook the Jambalaya without stirring, till the rice is tender and lightly browned on the bottom of the pan.
     Step 11:  Reduce the temperature to very low heat.
     Use a wooden spoon to scrape the rice crust on the bottom of the pan into the Red Jambalaya.
     Keep the Red Jambalaya warm over very low heat (or place it in a container in a 135ºF bain marie).
     Step 12:  The Red Jambalaya can be served family style in one large shared bowl or individual portions can be served in shallow 2 cup capacity soup bowls. (About 3 cups is a hearty portion and 2 cups is an average portion.)
     Try to serve equal amounts of the shrimp and other meats in each bowl.
     No garnish is necessary!
     The flavor is pure Louisiana Red Jambalaya heaven!

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