Blogging about cooking is a bit of a departure for me, but I just couldn't keep this to myself. The weather's cooling off and I'm more inspired to cook in the cool months for some reason. Last night I made jambalaya for the first time and it was a huge hit around here. Be forewarned: this is pretty spicy for little ones. And I'm not the most precise cook in the kitchen. What fun is creating if you have to always follow someone else's rules?
I started off with the Joy of Cooking and Betty Crocker cookbooks but wasn't sold on either alone. This is sort of a melding of the two with some inspiration from my father-in-law's love of Paul Prudhomme (the cookbook cover above) and my love of the slow cooker.
So go forth and cook with abandon!
1/2 an onion, chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 small green bell pepper, chopped
1 32oz. container of chicken broth
2 large tomatoes, cut in chunks
about 1 t black pepper
couple shakes white pepper
few shakes red pepper (ground or flakes)
about 1/2 t dried thyme
about 1 t dried parsley
2 bay leaves (remove these before serving)
I used dried herbs, but fresh is always great; also, I used approximations since I just shook them in until it looked right to me
16 oz kielbasa, sliced into 1/2" pieces
2 chicken breasts, cubed (this can be frozen if you don't think ahead...such as I don't)
1/2 pound shrimp, cleaned & deveined, defrosted if necessary
use more shrimp if your budget allows, you can never have too much shrimp
or use any combination of these proteins, you don't need to have all 3
3/4 cup uncooked rice
Put a little olive oil in a pan and cook onion, celery, garlic, and bell pepper until tender.
Transfer this to a large crock pot and add chicken broth, tomatoes, and herbs, and stir together.
Next, add your kielbasa and chicken. Cook on high for 1-2 hours (or low for 3-4), or until you feel the chicken has cooked through. After this you can let it sit on low temperature for a couple hours until about half an hour before you want to serve.
Half an hour before serving time, crank the crock pot up to high and get it hot. Stir in your rice, turn the crock pot down to medium heat, and cover.
After about 20 minutes, add your shrimp. Let it cook until the shrimp is pink and curls into little C's, about 10 minutes. Your rice will not be mushy and it actually tastes better with some texture to it.
Serve it up and enjoy the fruits of your labor! Gotta love the cold weather foods...
ps: we were too hungry to take a picture of the actual meal...maybe next time.