I am back! :-)
While a big schedule change, a stubborn refusal to burn the candle at both ends and procrastination kept me away, a little support, a little feedback and a couple compliments brought me to life almost with immediate effect.
This time I have a recipe with me which I fell in love with the first time I tasted it. Its a Sausage Jambalaya.
Sausage Jambalaya is primarily made in two styles. Creole and Cajun. I have adopted the Creole style where you add tomatoes, whereas in Cajun style, you don't. My choice of style is purely due to the ease and not at all on the basis of taste. Being fortunate enough to try both styles during my short stint in Atlanta, I have to say each style brings with it its own amazing individuality and flavors.
Now there are different versions of this delicious, wholesome dish in both styles, all over the web. My version happens to be a little spicy, with a kick enough to keep reaching for a sip of water but not enough to feel the burn. I also tend to brown my sausages and use the fat from it to saute my veggies, with no place for any added oil. I have made the same recipe in the past, discarding the fat from the sausages, and using butter, and have to tell you it really gives the rice a delicate aroma. But that stopped when I took a sniff of that sausage fat I was about to discard.
The hot links or Andouille sausages (smoked, spicy sausages), whichever you use, have all that spices dissolved into that fat and carries an arsenal of flavor dimensions. So its up to you entirely to pick your evil. Go for butter, or go for sausage fat, or find a middle ground to dump half the sausage fat and replace it with butter. I have done all three and still cant pick one side! Sigh!
So here goes the recipe:
Serves 8. Cooking time: 25 minutes. Prep time: 15 minutes.
6 hot link sausages/ Andouille sausages - sliced into coins
3 cloves of garlic- minced
3 stalks of celery
1 large onion
2 fat carrots
1/2 cup green peas (not sweet peas)
3 bay leaves
1 can of Rotel or any store brand chopped tomatoes and chiles
1 tbsp creole seasoning *Recipe follows*1 tsp dry thyme
3 tbsp chopped cilantro
2 cups rice- washed and drained
3 1/2 cups of chicken/vegetable stock
For Creole Seasoning:-
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp Onion powder
2 tbsp each dried Oregano, Thyme and Basil
1 tbsp cayenne pepper
3 tbsp Paprika
Mix everything together very well and store in an airtight container. Remember, this recipe doesn't add salt so that you don't go overboard with sodium, as your stock, sausages and tomato-chile can already has some. But that makes it extra important that you check the salt before rice goes in to cook mode.
Method:-Chop the celery, onion and carrots into uniform dices.
In a 3-5 qt non-stick Dutch Oven, brown the coined sausage until lightly browned. Drain and keep aside, leaving the rendered fat on the pan.
Add the minced garlic, diced onions and the bay leaves and saute until the onions are sweaty. Add the peas, celery and carrots to the onions, saute for a couple minutes. Add the creole seasoning and dried thyme, stir well.
Now add the drained, uncooked rice and stir gently to mix well.
Add the stock to the rice mixture. Increase heat and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.
Lastly add the can of tomatoes and chilies and stir well.Then is the time for that all important salt check. Add salt or pepper if it needs it. Now reduce the flame to a low, close the lid and resisting temptation for a peek, let the lid stay closed and cook for 15 minutes.
After 15 minutes, remove the lid, sprinkle the chopped cilantro on top, stir gently. Serve hot with a generous dollop of sour cream on top. Enjoy!