I look for any excuse to cook for a special occasion – especially fun things like Fat Tuesday, St. Patricks, Cinco de Mayo, even the opening ceremonies of the Olympics (we had friends over for a Chinese feast!). While menu planning this week, I knew Fat Tuesday had to be Cajun themed.
We started the day out at IHOP for free pancake day. If you didn’t hear about it you missed out! IHOP was giving away a free short stack of pancakes to everyone to raise money for The Children’s Miracle Network. Fat Tuesday was originally known as “Shrove Tuesday” – the day before the Christian time of fasting and prayer called lent. Apparently, one of the Shrove Tuesday traditions is eating pancakes. Read more on Wikipedia…
On to dinner. I’d been craving jambalaya for the last few weeks so there was no hemming and hawing over what to make (which is abnormal for me – usually I pour over recipes for hours). I’ve tried several recipes over the last few years and have recently found my favorite – it’s Emeril’s Cajun Jambalaya. I love all the veggies along with the trio of shrimp, andouille and chicken – it also has a great flavor and a good amount of heat. Surprisingly enough, this comes together relatively quickly, especially if you buy deveined shrimp. I definitely recommend this next time you are in the mood for a cajun dish!
(Recipe source Emeril Lagasse)
12 medium shrimp, peeled, deveined and chopped
4 oz chicken, diced (can sub chopped cooked chicken if you have some on hand)
1 tbsp creole seasoning (Emeril’s Essence or any other cajun seasoning)
2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup chopped tomatoes (I use drained diced if I don’t have fresh on hand)
3 bay leaves
1 tsp worcestershire sauce
1 tsp hot sauce (or more if you like heat)
1 tsp cayenne pepper (optional – not included in the original recipe but good if you like heat)
3/4 cup white rice
3 cups chicken stock
5 oz andouille sausage, sliced
salt and pepper to taste
In a bowl, combine shrimp, chicken and Creole seasoning. If you’re using pre-cooked chicken do not add the chicken in with the shrimp. Work in seasoning well.
Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in onion, celery and bell pepper and cook about three minutes. Add garlic, tomatotes, bay leaves, worcestershire, hot sauce and cayenne. Stir in rice and slowly add broth. Reduce heat to medium and cook until rice absorbs liquid and becomes tender, stirring occasionaly, about 15 minutes. Then add shrimp, chicken and sausage. Cook until meat is done, about 10 more minutes. Season to taste with salt, pepper and creole seasoning.
Yield: 4 servings