Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Shrimp Jambalaya

Jambalaya is a popular rice, meat, and vegetable dish enjoyed in America, especially Louisiana. Jambalaya has been a favorite dish for generations because it is inexpensive, tasty, and can be altered to include whatever the chef/cook may have on hand. Seafood is also a common ingredient in Jambalaya, but local recipes may also include any type of game caught that day.

Although every family has its own recipe for jambalaya, there are two main categories, Creole and Cajun.  The difference lies in the order in which the ingredients are cooked and use of tomatoes.

Creole jambalaya, which is also sometimes known as “red jambalaya,” includes tomatoes. This dish begins with the holy trinity of vegetables (onion, bell pepper and celery) and meat being cooked together. The most common meat used for jambalaya is smoked sausage (andouille) and chicken. Once the meat and vegetables have cooked, tomatoes, stock and rice are added to the pot. The entire pot is brought to a boil, covered, and cooked until the rice has absorbed all of the stock. The resulting mix has a slightly red hue from the tomatoes.

Cajun jambalaya doesn’t include tomatoes and generally has a brown color. The brown color is achieved because the meat is first cooked in the pot alone, and allowed to brown and caramelize. The trinity is cooked next, followed by the addition of the stock and rice. When the stock is added, the browned bits of meat dissolve into the broth giving the final product a brown color. Cajun jambalaya tends to have a deeper, smokier flavor than Creole jambalaya due to this browning process.
Cajun jambalaya is found in most rural areas of Louisiana, whereas Creole jambalaya is more popular in New Orleans and the surrounding areas where Creole culture is more prevalent.

The exact origin of jambalaya is unknown; it is most likely the result of multiple ethnicities mingling in the port city of New Orleans centuries ago. Jambalaya is similar to Spanish paella, which was brought to the area by Spanish explorers. Saffron, which is the main spice used in paella, may have been difficult to find in the new world and may have been replaced with tomatoes to create what we now know as Creole Jambalaya.
Research Source: About Food Reference

I thought it’s time to bring the taste of New Orleans to the dinner table with this easy one pot classic, jambalaya. It’s pack with shrimp, andouille sausage and veggies.

Shrimp Jambalaya
Copyrighted 2014, Christine’s Pantry. All rights reserved.

1 1/2 cup uncooked rice
2 1/2 cups water
1 (14.5 oz.) can diced tomatoes
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 (13 ounce) smoked andouille sausage, cut into 1/4 inch slices
1 onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon creole seasoning
1 tablespoon seafood seasoning (I used old bay)
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
3 green onions, chopped

In a Dutch oven, add rice, water, tomatoes, tomato sauce, smoked sausage, onions, bell pepper, salt, pepper, garlic, creole seasoning and seafood seasoning (old bay). Bring to a boil over medium heat. Cover, and simmer 20 minutes. Add shrimp and green onions, and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, or until shrimp are pink. Enjoy!


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