The TallyCast

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North Florida Jambalaya

jambalaya

Leftovers destined for tomorrow's lunch box.

I know I’m a little bit presumptuous to call anything made in Florida, “Jambalaya“.  There are geographies and cultures that claim the word for their own culinary traditions.   According to that unquestioned source of all knowledge, Wikipedia, jambalaya originated in the French Quarter of New Orleans where it evolved from Spanish paella.

For me, jambalaya is usually a spur of the moment creation and each version is different.  In general it’s a mixture of veggies and meat and/or seafood cooked in a fat.  When the veggies are cooked down and the meat is almost done, some rice is added and then a broth.  The mixture is cooked down.  Some like it soupy and some like it dry.

Here’s how i did it tonight:

  • In a cast iron chicken fryer, melt 1/8 cup of unsalted butter and add about the same amount of oil.  I used a very light olive oil (called pomace  oil).  Bring the oil to frying temperature.
  • Add a half cup or so of chopped peppers, a couple of stalks of chopped celery, a chopped medium to large onion and a couple of cloves of smushed and chopped garlic.  You can use whatever kind of pepper strikes your fancy, but green bell peppers are traditional.  Start it frying.
  • Add 3 boned and chopped chicken thighs and 1/2 to a full cup of pork sausage.  You can use smoked or fresh sausage.   I like using local pork and tonight’s fresh came from Thompson’s Farm in Dixie Georgia.    Tonight I used fresh ground sausage.
  • I put cilantro into almost everything and tonight’s jambalaya was no exception.  I cleaned and broke down a large bunch.  The chopped stems were added and cooked with the meat.  I reserved the chopped leaves.
  • After the meats are mostly cooked, add a cup or so of raw rice.  You can use what you like but short grain works best for this kind of dish.  Tonight I used “sushi”  rice from the New Leaf Market.
  • Let the rice cook in the pan until it changes color.  You want it fry just a bit and but not so much that it darkens.
  • Add about two cups of liquid.  I used a combination of commercial chicken stock and white jug wine.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste and about 1/2 of the reserved cilantro leaves.
  • Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.
  • When almost all the liquid is absorbed and/or evaporated, add the remaining cilantro and a cup or so of raw cleaned shrimp; tail-on if possible.
  • When the shrimp is cooked, remove the pan from the fire and let the dish rest for a few minutes.
  • Serve with a good beer, green salad and a selection of hot sauces.
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