Jambalaya

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We’ve got leftover Rice, Chicken, Kielbasa, and plenty of vegetables. What to make for dinner? My mind jumped immediately to Jambalaya. I love jambalaya ever since my mom brought our first box of Tony Chachere back from a visit to New Orleans. Since then it’s become one of the foods I order whenever I can, and I’ve tried many different varieties.

For me jambalaya combines chicken and pork with rice and fresh veggies to make a thick and hearty soup. Combining chicken and pork is just always a good idea. I’m not the biggest fan of poultry and generally find it to be rather bland and dry… but you add some sort of pork product to it and it’s anything but fowl.

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For my bastardized jambalaya I started out with the Trinity. Trinity is the basis of creole cooking, much like mirepoix in French cuisine, and is Onion, Bell Pepper, and Celery. I added carrot, because I forgot that it wasn’t supposed to be in the trinity, and also added some seeded Jalapeno, Orange Bell Pepper, and finely minced garlic.

Then I cut the raw chicken breast into cubes, and chopped some Polish Kielbasa on the bias. After that, I remember that we had some Genoa Salami laying around, so I minced that as fine as I could get it. 

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I then heated some Garlic Infused Canola Oil in the bottom of a sauce pot and added the cubed chicken breast. I cooked it with salt and pepper until it looked cooked through, then added the kielbasa and salami.

When everything started to brown I added the veggies. I cooked everything at a high heat, because I wanted the veggies to caramelize somewhat, but I also wanted them to retain some freshness and be crisp.

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I sprinkled in my spices: a mixture of garlic and onion powders, more salt and pepper, oregano, thyme, red pepper flakes (rpf), cayenne, paprika, and cumin. I also sprinkled in some Louisiana hot sauce.

As everything started to stick to the pan I deglazed with some cheap American beer, then added four cans of tomato and four bay leaves.

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I let everything simmer together for an hour and spread the leftover rice out on a baking sheet. I folded in some of my garlic infused oil and baked the rice for twenty minutes to make it a little crispy. This is a trick I’ve learned to use with rice and pasta to make it hold up a little better in a soup. Otherwise, leftovers turn into tasty mud.

After adding the rice, the jambalaya was done. I was really wishing we’d had some shrimp to add to it, but c’est la vie. We bowled it up, and I added more rpf and hot sauce on mine. It was phenomenal, and there weren’t any leftovers.

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