Thursday, April 14, 2016

Rice Cooker Mixed Jambalaya/22 Recipes Down

Tonight's recipe, Rice Cooker Mixed Jambalaya, comes from Just a Bunch Of Recipes, and it's the product of having a well stocked kitchen. While it's not a true Jambalaya in the browning and sauteeing sense, it is an incredible dish.

"Jambalaya is a Louisiana Creole dish of Spanish and French (especially Provençal) influence. It consists of meat and vegetables mixed with rice. Traditionally, the meat always includes sausage of some sort, often a smoked sausage such as Andouille, along with some other meat or seafood, frequently pork, chicken, crayfish, or shrimp. The vegetables are usually a sofrito-like mixture known as the "holy trinity" in Creole and Cajun cooking, consisting of onion, celery, and green bell pepper, though other vegetables such as carrots, tomatoes, chilis, and garlic are also used. After browning and sauteeing the meat and vegetables, rice, seasonings, and broth are added and the entire dish is cooked together until the rice is done.

"Jambalaya is similar to (but distinct from) other rice-and-meat dishes known in Louisiana cuisine. Gumbo uses similar sausages, meats, seafood, vegetables and seasonings, however gumbo includes filé powder and okra, which are not common in jambalaya. Gumbo is also usually served over white rice, which is prepared separate from the rest of the dish, unlike jambalaya, where the rice is prepared with the other ingredients. Étouffée is a stew which always includes shellfish such as shrimp or crayfish, but does not have the sausage common to jambalaya and gumbo. Also, like gumbo, étouffée is usually served over separately prepared rice."

This recipe called for chicken, shrimp and spicy smoked sausage, along with chicken broth. As it turns out, I had leftover turkey and turkey stock in my freezer, so I used that instead of chicken. I already had a bag of peeled and deveined shrimp in the freezer too, per written instructions by Sam himself. And the sausage? I had half a package of leftover alligator/pork sausage from supper two nights before. It all came together like the perfect culinary storm. :)

What did I learn from this recipe?
I learned that I didn't need a rice cooker for this recipe. I had one a long time ago, a gift from Michelle the Cooker, but I actually wore it out. Instead, I used my Crock Pot. It's one of those "newer" slow cookers that cooks incredibly hot, even on low, so I set it to warm in the morning when I went to work. When I got home eight hours later, the rice (which I had added in the morning) still wasn't cooked yet, even though the shrimp was done. I turned the slow cooker to low and we went to the gym. When we got home and hour later, the rice was perfect.

The entire dish turned out so well. And like good pasta or chili, the flavors are going to be even better as leftovers! This is definitely something to make again, because with just little tweaks to the meats, it can really become different versions of the same dish.

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