Monday, August 8, 2011


Couldn't resist the Seinfeldism (Newman on The Soup Nazi episode).

This weekend I attempted Chicken and Smoked Sausage Jambalaya after reading Cajunlicious' guest post  from Nola Mommy.  The recipe is both easy to understand and cost effective for those on a tight budget.

So before I start heating anything, I always prepare all of my ingredients ahead of time.  This allows me to cook in a more calm environment where I can focus on flavors and cooking style instead of rushing around the kitchen trying to cut or measure something before the meal burns.

The Jambalaya recipe calls for 1 cup diced onion, 1/2 cup diced celery and 1/2 cup diced green bell pepper, and 1 Tablespoon minced garlic (which I conveniently had already minced in a jar in the fridge).

Celery dicing tip:  Slice the celery stalks lengthwise first, then line them up at one edge and dice into small squares.

The result is evenly sized celery squares that are perfect for sauteing.

Bell Pepper de-seeding tip:
Turn bell pepper upside down and slice sides away as you would peel an apple.

Then slice sides lengthwise to make perfectly sized bell pepper slices.

If you want to dice the pepper slices, line up the slices at one end like you did the celery slices, and cut into evenly sized squares.

The recipe calls for 8 oz (1/2 lb) smoked sausage, and I picked Polska Kielbasa to use in the dish because I love the stuff.

Dice the kielbasa by slicing into rounds and then quartering the rounds into four cubes per round.

Next, cube the 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast and season with approximately 2 Tablespoons Cajun seasoning.  (The recipe calls for only 1 teaspoon but I found 2 tablespoons nicely coated the chicken.)  Mush the chicken around to coat all the cubes.

Preheat your stock pot on medium-high with 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil.

Measuring cooking oil tip: Count to 1 while pouring the oil and that is one Tablespoon. If you need two tablespoons, count to 2, etc.  No need to dirty a measuring spoon to measure cooking oil!

Heat the oil until a piece of chicken inserted into the hot oil causes it to sizzle.  Then the oil is ready to cook the chicken properly.  Put all of your chicken in the hot oil and cook for about 5 minutes, turning the chicken once after 2 and a half minutes.  this will cook the chicken long enough to cook the outside until golden but not fully cook it through so it doesn't dry out.  If you find the chicken is sticking to the bottom of the pot, turn down the heat a bit.

Next add the kielbasa and cook it for about 5 minutes longer, just to heat the kielbasa through.  Then add the garlic, bell pepper, celery and onion and cook for another 5 minutes.

While the vegetables cook and soften, use this time to dissolve the Tablespoon of dry dark roux in 1/2 cup warm water.

For those of you like me who live on the East Coast and have no idea what I am talking about when I say dark roux, you can order it here.  Roux is a mixture of flour and fat, usually butter and cream, that is used in this recipe to color the jambalaya.  For more information on how to make a traditional roux, click here.  Making a roux is time consuming and many prefer to buy the less caloric and easy to store powdered roux.  The link listed above is where I got mine.

Now after the five minutes are up, add the dissolved roux and cook for an additional 10 minutes, occasionally stirring to mix and coat everything in the pot.

Next, mix in the 2 cups uncooked long grain white rice and 3.5 cups low sodium chicken broth.

Add a bit more Cajun seasoning if you so desire (Nola Mommy's suggestion and I have to say that I did it and it tasted great).

Bring to a boil and cover.  Cook on medium for 30 minutes, mixing occasionally so the bottom doesn't burn.

Nola Mommy suggests sprinkling the top with some sliced scallions as garnish, which is what I did in the picture at the top of the post.  She also suggests adding Tobasco sauce to the dish, which I did, approximately 10 shakes per bowl, and it brought out the flavors and added some welcomed heat to the dish.

Overall, this dish was a success.  My DH requested this to be on our regular menu, which is what I use as part of my success-o-meter.  I also loved the flavors in this simple dish.  My only issue was I added more than the required vegetables which created too much liquid in the pot, making my rice come out too mushy.

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1 comment:

  1. Success-o-meter says: SUCCESS!!!!! This was awesome, smoky and subtle. I didn't need the Tabasco either, although it added an alternate flavor.