It’s Marti Gras with New Orleans Jambalaya

                Valentine’s Day isn’t the only big festive holiday we have in February. Mardi Gras, this year, is just two days after the day of love. A Carnival Celebration of Fun for all. Every year, our family travels to to New Orleans for a few days of Mardi Gras fun.

There are so many flavors and spices to enjoy during this long weekend of culture and food. Some food that comes to mind are gumbo and jambalaya. Our families favorite Bourbon Street dinner is Jambalaya and hush puppies, with a little New Orleans Jazz to set the mood!

Jambalaya

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons cooking oil, divided
  • 2 tablespoons Cajun seasoning, (adjust to suit your tastes/heat preference)
  • 10 ounces (300 g) andouille sausage, sliced into rounds
  • 1 pound (500 g) boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs cut into 1-inch pieces.
  • 1 onion diced
  • 1 small green bell pepper (capsicum), seeded and diced
  • 1 small red bell pepper (capsicum), seeded and diced
  • 2 stalks/ribs celery, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 14 ounces (400 g) can crush tomatoes.
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon each dried thyme and dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or 1/4 teaspoon Cayenne powder)
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup thinly sliced okra (or 1 teaspoon file powder)
  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked white rice (short grain or long grain)
  • 3 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 pound (500 g) raw shrimp tails on or off, peeled, and deveined
  • Sliced green onions and chopped parsley, to garnish

INSTRUCTIONS

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Season the sausage and chicken pieces with half of the Cajun seasoning. Brown sausage in the hot oil; remove with slotted spoon and set aside.

 Add remaining oil to the pot and sauté chicken until lightly browned. Remove with slotted spoon; set aside.  Sauté the onion, bell pepper and celery until onion is soft and transparent.  Add the garlic and cook until fragrant (30 seconds). 

Stir in the tomatoes; season with salt, pepper, thyme, oregano, red pepper flakes (or Cayenne powder), hot pepper sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and the remaining Cajun seasoning.

Stir in the okra slices (or file powder), chicken and sausage. Cook for 5 minutes, while stirring occasionally. Add in the rice and chicken broth, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low-medium. Cover and let simmer for about 20 to 25 minutes, or until liquid is absorbed and rice is cooked, while stirring occasionally. Place the shrimp on top of the Jambalaya mixture, stir through gently and cover with lid. Allow to simmer while stirring occasionally, until the shrimp are cooked through and pink (about 5-6 minutes, depending on the size/thickness of the shrimp being used). Season with a little extra salt and pepper if needed and remove from heat. Adjust heat with extra hot sauce, Cayenne pepper or Cajun seasoning. Serve immediately with sliced green onions and parsley.

Hush Puppies

  •  2 cups cornmeal
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons green onions, finely chopped
  • 1 cup plus 3 tablespoons buttermilk
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • vegetable oil or shortening for frying

In a large bowl, sift together, cornmeal, flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Stir in the onions, buttermilk and egg until thoroughly mixed. Heat the oil to 375˚F and drop the batter by the spoonful (about 2 teaspoons each) into hot oil. Fry until golden brown.

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