I love New Orleans. The Old World vibe, the sultry quality of the city and its inhabitants, the exotic sense of other that I feel when I’m there. And then there’s the food. You can’t forget the food.
My dad grew up in Cajun country and we still have family there. I can’t claim it as my native land or anything, but I love the food and probably have at least ten cookbooks dedicated solely to Cajun and Creole cuisine.
One of the things I love most about this food is how hearty it is!
You can put on a big pot of red beans and let them simmer all day, or you can slave over making a roux to flavor your gumbo. Or, if you’re like me and on a killer deadline, you can make a one-pot jambalaya that will last you at least a couple of days. My husband and I can get 3 or 4 days out of this meal! (If you have a big family, you may want to double it. Clearly, you won’t get as much out of it as two people do.)
I’ve made jambalaya the hard way (peeling tomatoes) and the easy way (using canned tomatoes). I like the easy way better. Basically, jambalaya is a mix of rice, tomatoes, seasonings, and whatever meat you have handy. I’ve made it with chicken, ham, sausage, and even shrimp. This is the basic version with sausage, but you could toss in another meat if you want variety!
To make it really easy, you could substitute pre-chopped onions. But use fresh garlic, not the jarred variety. I use a garlic press, which takes no time at all.
1/4 cup olive oil (this is probably not exact, as I eyeball it)
1 large chopped onion
2 to 3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1 cup chopped celery (optional)
1 28 oz can chopped tomatoes with juice
(1 can spicy Rotel tomatoes are optional)
1 lb Andouille sausage, hot (can substitute smoked sausage)
2 cups long grain rice
2 to 3 cans beef broth
1/2 cup chopped green onions
Chopped parsley (to taste)
Cajun seasoning (Zatarains, Slap ya Mama, etc)
Red pepper flakes
(Best to use a Dutch oven because the rice will expand. Unless you have a huge skillet.) ;)
Saute onion, garlic, and celery on medium-high in olive oil until translucent. Add chopped sausage, cook for a few minutes to heat through. Add 2 cups rice. Stir frequently. You only want to let the rice brown just a tiny bit. Add tomatoes with juice. (If you’ve chosen to use the Rotel, add those too.) If you’ve used hot Cajun sausage, no need for seasoning or pepper flakes. If you’ve used smoked sausage, you’ll want to season to taste. Start slowly, because you can add more as you add the beef broth. Add enough beef broth to cover everything. Turn heat down to simmer, place lid on pot and let rice steam. You’ll have to check from time to time to see if you need more broth (don’t let the rice burn!). Stir and add broth and seasonings as necessary. Once the rice is tender and the broth cooked down, turn off the heat and add the chopped green onions and parsley. Stir. Serve with crusty French bread and wine or beer!
You’ll notice I don’t use salt. You can, but I don’t think you’ll need it when using canned tomatoes. They already have enough sodium to lift the blood pressure. *g*
I hope you enjoy! Drop by my website and let me know what you think if you give this recipe a try. I love new recipes, so if you have one to share, please do so in comments! I’ll give away a set of my Romance Novel Trading cards, plus some other goodies, to three lucky commenters today. (You can see what they look like here.)
Lynn Raye Harris writes glamorous, sexy romance for Harlequin Presents and Mills & Boon Modern. Her current release, THE DEVIL’S HEART, is set in Argentina and features a priceless diamond, a determined heroine, and a delicious hero. And it’s available in North America right now! RT Book Reviews awarded this story 4 Stars, saying, “Lots of conflict, hot love scenes, and a satisfying ending make this an entertaining read!”
You can learn more about Lynn and her books at http://www.lynnrayeharris.com/.
You can also follow Lynn on Twitter @LynnRayeHarris or visit her author page on Facebook, http://www.facebook.com/AuthorLynnRayeHarris