Friday, November 25, 2011

Spicy Goodness In One Pot: Kitchen Sink Jambalaya...and a Red Gold Tomato Prize Pack Giveaway!

I hope all of you had a wonderful Thanksgiving surrounded by loved ones...we had a fantastic, albeit quick, trip home to Houston to spend time with our families. We ate (a lot), visited with family (a lot), and generally just had a really great time. We made it back here around noon today, and I've been spending the afternoon putting up my Christmas decorations and downloading Christmas music into my iPod. I plan to take advantage of this long holiday weekend to get my holiday preparations well underway before heading back to crazy work deadlines again on Monday!

The recipe I'm going to share with y'all today is one of my favorites: Kitchen Sink Jamabalaya. It's full of all sorts of yummy ingredients, and it makes enough food to feed a nice-sized crowd. One of Michael's cousins and his wife spent the night with us last weekend, so I wanted to make us a nice dinner. Since jamabalaya is cooked and served from one pot, that means less cleanup...and more time to spend drinking wine and watching The Hangover for the gazillionth time and laughing with family!!

If you've never eaten jambalaya, I can best describe it as paella's Cajun cousin: both dishes contain a combination of sausage/chicken/seafood, rice, and spices. The spices are quite different, however. Much like gumbo or chowder, there are as many ways to make jambalaya as their are cooks who make it. After trying many recipes over the years, this is the way that I make my jambalaya. We like our jambalaya pretty spicy at Casa Garcia, but I keep it on the moderate side and make sure to bring a bottle of Tabasco to the table so everyone can adjust the heat to their liking.

Some cooks don't use tomatoes in their jambalaya, but I use both tomato paste and a can of diced tomatoes. This gives the jambalaya added depth of flavor...and color. The nice people at Red Gold Tomatoes recently sent me a fantastic tomato prize pack that contained three cans of their diced tomatoes, a recipe book, and all sorts of other goodies. Even better? They also offered to send one of you one of these fun prize packs as well! I used their diced tomatoes in my jambalaya. The flavor of these canned tomatoes is really fantastic...they tasted summer fresh in late November! I waited to share this recipe now, because you can easily substitute 2 cups of leftover diced turkey breast for the raw chicken breast that the recipe calls for. 

Kitchen Sink Jambalaya
a Weekend Gourmet Original

Step 1:  Add 1 tbs. olive oil to a 5-quart Dutch oven over med-high heat. Add 1 cup diced tasso and sautee until it starts to brown. Then add 1 small chopped yellow onion, 2 sliced celery stalks, and 1/2 a chopped bell pepper. Cook for about 10 minutes, until the veggies are tender.

Note: tasso is a spiced Cajun ham that can be difficult to find outside the TX/LA Gulf coast. If you can't locate it in your grocery store, simply sprinkle 1 cup diced ham with 1 tbs. Cajun seasoning, stir to combine, and let it sit overnight in the fridge for the flavors to combine. That should approximate the flavor pretty well.

Step 2:  Add 2 tbs. Cajun seasoning of your choice. My favorite is Chef Paul Prudhomme's Poultry Magic. Stir to combine and add two bay leaves. Add 2 cups diced chicken breast and 1.5 cups andouille sausages that's been cut into half moons. Cook until the meats are browned, then add 1/4 cup tomato paste. Stir well to combine.

Note: andouille (an-doo-ee) is a spicy Cajun smoked sausage that can be difficult to locate outside of Texas and Louisiana. If you can't find it, simply substitute your favorite kielbasa in its place.

Step 3:  Add 4 cups chicken stock, 1 can diced tomatoes (my preferred brand is Red Gold), and 2 cups converted rice. This is important, because regular white rice can make your jambalaya gummy. If you can find it, I think Zatarain's rice makes the best jamabalaya. Stir to combine and bring to a boil. Lower heat to low, cover, and cook for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, add 1.5 cups of medium peeled and deveined shrimp. Stir, cover, and continue cooking for five more minutes. Add 3 sliced green onions and 2 tbs. parsley to the jambalaya and remove from heat. Cover and let the jambablaya sit for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Step 4:  To serve, spoon jambalaya onto plates directly from the pot. Simply serve with salad and toasted garlic bread. We debated whether to serve white wine or red wine with jambalaya, since it contains seafood and chicken. However, we ultimately decided on a Malbec from Argentina since the jambalaya is a spicy dish. The two paired very well together!

If you'd like to win a Red Gold Tomato prize pack containing three cans of diced Red Gold Tomatoes, a recipe book, and all sorts of other fun tomato's what you need to do. First off, go visit the Red Gold website. Then come back here and leave me a comment telling me how you would use these tomatoes in your holiday cooking. For a second entry, you can Like Red Gold on FacebookPlease make sure to leave your e-mail address in your comment so I can easily find you if you're the winner. I'll accept entries until Wednesday, November 30th. I'll announce the winner next Friday. 

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