These days I'm looking for recipes that offer a big return on the time investment. This recipe* was exactly what I was looking for. This dish made enough food for dinner three nights in a row ... and it was so good that we didn't mind the repetition.
I was surprised to learn that jumbalaya traces it roots to paella. I guess it makes sense. Both are hearty dishes of meat, vegetables and rice with a rich stock. I also learned the difference between jumbalaya and the other classic Louisiana dishes, gumbo and etouffee. In the former, everythng is cooked together, but in the traditional preparations of the latter, the rice is cooked separately.
To make this dish, first, I browned some chicken pieces, and by some, I mean five pounds! (I told you this recipe makes a lot of food.) Then I browned some sliced smoked turkey sausage in the oil and rendered chicken fat. The Book calls for andouille sausage, but because my wife won't eat pork, I opted for turkey sausage. Once that was done, I set aside the meat and drained off almost all of the fat and cooked onions, celery, green peppers and garlic. Then, I put the chicken back in the pot, along with some chopped canned tomatoes, chicken stock, water and cayenne. I simmered all of this for a while.
Then, The Book's instructions get a little confusing. I had to read it a few times, but once I figured it out, it made sense. First, you take the chicken out of the pot and put it in a bowl. Then you measure the cooking liquid and vegetables to make sure that it's seven cups. If more, cook it down, if less, add water. Then add uncooked rice to the seven cups of vegetables and cooking liquid. Arrange the chicken on top and bake it for about a half hour.
Cooking the rice in the same liquid that the chicken and vegetables simmered it gives it a wonderful richness. Baking the rice instead of cooking it on the stovetop was great, too. The even heat of the oven makes sure that each grain of rice is cooked perfectly.
This was an excellent, hearty stick-to-your ribs meal. It reheated well, and as I said, it was so tasty, we didn't mind the repetition of eating it night after night. It would also make a crowd-pleasing meal for a party.
Date Cooked: January 11, 2009
Degree of Difficulty: Medium
* This recipe is not online.
2 years ago