January 13, 2006

That's What I Call Southern

I love the south for the friendly people, beautiful land, and that good ole' Cajun food. I have quite a few friends that are the true Cajuns and the food they cook up is out of this world.

Two of my parents friends come up every May to my family's cattle sale with crawfish and we make the best jambalaya ever. This recipes for jambalaya is for chicken, but you can substitute whatever meat you want. My all-time favorite meat to use is fresh crawfish. You can find crawfish tails in just about every grocery store around in the frozen section.

Hold on though, cause this jambalaya will open every sense and tastebud in your mouth - it will have you warmed up in no time. I like hot food, but if you like it a little milder I would use 1/2 tsp less of the cayenne and chili powder.

Also, I use an extra kick to my own jambalaya- sassafras root (it will be in a seasoning called Gumbo File). It's a natural thickener and make the juices of the stew perfect. A trick I learned from my southern friends in Louisiana- The Whipple Family.

Chicken Jambalaya
This is a traditional Cajun dish in which rice is used to sop up the rich juices of the stew.

2 tsp canola oil
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 green bell peppers, seeded and diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, chopped
1 lb boneless skinless chicken, cut into ½ inch cubes or shredded lightly
2 tsp each dried thyme leaves and oregano
1 1/2 tsp chili powder
¼ tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
2 cups chicken stock
1 1/8 tsp salt
1 tsp of peppercorns
1 can (28oz) stewed tomatoes
1 can (15ozl) red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
¾ cup brown rice
1 bay leaf
¼ cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley

Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Cook celery, garlic and onion for about 5 minutes or until softened. Add chicken, thyme, oregano, chili powder and cayenne; cook stirring for 5 minutes.

Add chicken broth, green bell peppers, tomatoes, kidney beans, rice and bay leaf; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally for about 20 minutes or until rice is tender. Let stand 5 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and discard. Stir in parsley before serving.

Makes 4 servings.

Turkey Option: You can use boneless skinless turkey for the chicken.

Seafood Addition: Add 8 oz of small raw shrimp, peeled and deveined during the last 10 minutes of cooking.

1 comment:

Cooking Queen said...

Cajun food is my absolute favorite also. Your blogs have been great. can't wait to see what you have next!