One of my current resolutions is to cook from the freezer and pantry. I've managed to accumulate all sorts of great food, so this shouldn't be such a painful task. Another goal of mine is to concentrate on recipes from my ever-growing cookbook collection. It's so easy to dial up a wonderful recipe on the internet that it's become somewhat of a crutch for me.
I had some Aidell's chicken andouille sausage in the freezer, and decided to look for a Cajun-inspired dish. Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything has a Jambalaya recipe, and one of the variations is Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya, also called "brown jambalaya." Sold!
Bittman's basic shrimp jambalaya recipe (red jambalaya) is found here. To make a brown jambalaya with chicken (turkey in my case) and sausage, you omit the ham, tomatoes, and shrimp, and add chicken and sausage and also increase the amount of stock. I made a few further changes to fit my ingredients, which also made the dish quicker to prepare:
- The recipe contemplates using uncooked sausage and chicken. My andouille was fully cooked and I also had cooked turkey pieces in the freezer.
- As written, the recipe serves 8. I decided to cut it in half. I used 6 oz. of the sausage (1/2 pack), which I cut into slices. The heaping cup of turkey scraps were bite-sized.
- I first cooked 1 cup each of onions and red bell peppers in olive oil with salt and pepper. My burner's medium-high was hotter than Mark Bittman's, though, because my veggies nearly burned in under 10 minutes of cooking.
- Next, I stirred in the 1 cup of rice, 1 T. garlic, 1/2 tsp cayenne, 1 tsp thyme, sausage and turkey over medium high heat for just a minute or two. Note that the linked recipe calls for par-boiled rice, but the book does not. I used uncooked white rice - medium grain. According to the book, you could use the same quantity of cooked brown rice, and I will try that some time.
- Then I poured in 3 c of chicken stock. At this point, the pot is supposed to simmer uncovered on medium for around 30 minutes. Although I turned my burner a bit lower than medium, it still cooked pretty fast. The stock was mostly absorbed in around 15 mintues. I covered it and let it rest for about 15 minutes. I took that opportunity to make up a big salad.
We loved this quick, easy and tasty dish. It made a perfect weeknight dinner. Sticking to the recipe and using uncooked andouille and chicken would be even better, as the sausage would flavor the vegetables and the chicken would absorb the flavors as it cooked. I think chicken thighs would be perfect in this recipe.
I used the recommended amount of cayenne pepper, and for us the jambalaya had a nice kick, but it wasn't too spicy as to be distracting. If you are sensitive to spicy food, however, I'd say to reduce the cayenne.
I would serve this to company in a heartbeat; the best part is that it could be made ahead.
My bayou-born husband gave this recipe his stamp of approval!