Migration — Jammin’ Jambalaya

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Like the rest of Creole culture, this recipe is a little bit of everything: Spanish paella with an African accent (the spices) and a little dose of France (the roux). This version comes mostly from the cookbook published by the folks at Gourmet with a few modifications. Apologies for the lack of column lineup.
SHRIMP JAMBALAYA
serves six
1 medium onion, finely chopped                        nutmeg, a few grains
1 small green pepper, finely chopped                1 Tbsp. flour
(1 stalk celery, finely chopped)           2 large cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. oil                                                           4 cups shrimp shell stock
2 Tbsp. parsley, chopped                         5 tomatoes, chopped (note)
2 bay leaves, crushed                                        1 cup juice from tomatoes
1/2 tsp. black pepper                                           1/ 2 tsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp. ground thyme                                          1 cup uncooked rice
cayenne, a few grains                                         (med. grain River rice)
cloves, a few grains                                             salt to taste
2 lb. raw shrimp, shells on
Everything can be prepared the day before serving up to adding the shrimp.
For the stock: Rinse and shell the shrimp. If serving the next day, cover and refrigerate the shrimp. Rinse the shells again and place in a sauce pan with water to cover. Add salt. Can also add vegetable or chicken bouillon. Bring pot to a boil, cover and simmer at least 15 minutes, longer is better. When finished, strain and reserve the liquid. Discard the shells.
For the jambalaya: Heat the oil and sauté the onions, green pepper and/or celery until the vegetables begin to soften. Add parsley, bay leaves, thyme, cayenne, cloves and nutmeg. Sprinkle with flour and stir until everything is blended. Add garlic and salt. Cook over medium heat for two or three minutes, stirring constantly to eliminate raw flour taste. Add shrimp stock, tomatoes, tomato water and chili powder. Bring mixture to a boil and gradually stir in rice. Cover and simmer gently for 25 to 30 minutes or until the rice is al dente, stirring occasionally.
When ready to serve, heat the rice mixture to boiling and stir in rinsed shrimp. Simmer until shrimp turn pink. Don’t over cook.
Note: I use canned tomatoes unless it’s the middle of the summer. For fresh tomatoes boil water and slide the tomatoes in for 30 seconds, remove, and when cool enough, slip off the skins. Extra liquid will probably be required unless the tomatoes are very juicy.

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