Chicken & Sausage Jambalaya

December 19, 2016 – When I really feel the need for comfort food, I go back to the beginning.  The wonderful foods of Louisiana.  Gumbo.  Red beans and rice.

And jambalaya!

Let me clarify a misconception I’ve heard.  Even worse, a misconception I’ve seen served in restaurants.  Gumbo and jambalaya are not the same!

Gumbo is a roux-based soup served over rice.

The best way to describe jambalaya is that it’s more of a casserole with cooked rice folded in toward the end of the process.

What they have in common is that historical necessity to make the most of what food was available about which I have written before.  As with gumbo, you can put most any meat, seafood, or poultry in jambalaya.  The name comes from the French word for ham, “jambon.”  Hence, ham or some form of pork is usually included.  After that, it’s a case of ‘What’s in the refrigerator?'”chicken-sausage-jambalaya-december-19-2016

We had a couple of boneless, skinless chicken breasts and some excellent sausage.  While I prefer andouille sausage, we had kielbasa.  To be specific, we had kielbasa wiejska, or farmhouse sausage, one of the three types of Polish kielbasa.  It would do nicely.

This amount of meat would not produce the large pot of jambalaya that one would expect to see bubbling on a Louisiana stove.  But there were only two of us.  It would produce just the right amount.

I used Tony Chacere’s Creole Seasoning.  It is spicy and adds a little heat.  If you don’t want spicy, just season with salt and pepper.

The tomato sauce I had on hand was made with fire-roasted tomatoes.  More flavor to the pot.

Like so many Louisiana dishes, jambalaya begins with the “Trinity.”  Chopped onion, celery, and green pepper sautéed in oil.  I admit that we didn’t have a green pepper.  But we had a jalapeno.  What the heck!  It’s a pepper and it’s green.  And it added another dimension of flavor and spice.

In fact, it was terrific!

Jambalaya

(Serves two)

2 tablespoons olive oil

Two boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces

Two links andouille or kielbasa sausage, cut into 1/4 inch slices

Tony Chacere’s Creole Seasoning to taste (or salt & pepper to taste)

1/2 onion, chopped

1 celery rib, cut into 1/4 inch slices

1 jalapeno (or sweet green pepper), chopped

3 cloves garlic, chopped

1 cup tomato sauce

2 tablespoons parsley, chopped

1 green onion, sliced

2 cups cooked rice

Heat the oil over medium high heat.

Add the chicken and sausage.  Brown for three to five minutes.  Keep an eye on the chicken.  It will brown quickly.  You don’t want to over cook it.

Remove the chicken and sausage with a slotted spoon.  The sausage especially will have released more oil.  Drain most of it off, leaving only enough to saute’ the Trinity.

Add the onion, celery, pepper, and garlic to the pot.  Saute’ until tender, again three to five minutes.

Stir in the tomato sauce.  Return the chicken and sausage to the pot.  Cover and simmer for about five minutes.  Add the parsley and green onion.  Saute’ for another three minutes, covered.

Fold in the cooked rice.  Add more tomato sauce if additional liquid is needed.  Cover and simmer for a final five minutes.

Garnish with fresh parsley and chopped green onion.

Bon temps!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hunter’s Stew

December 16, 2016 – My wife’s craving for mushrooms continued.

Fortunately we still had mushrooms on hand.  The question was what to do with them.  Steak and mushrooms?  Hard to beat that.  But how about something more adventurous.  More wintry.   After all, it is December.

Hunter’s stew.  Steak and mushrooms and potatoes transformed.

Hunter’s stew is a dish that shows up in both German and Polish cuisines.

The Polish version includes cabbage, or sauerkraut, as a major ingredient.  The German version does not.

We didn’t have cabbage or sauerkraut on hand.  We went with the German version.hunters-stew-december-16-2016

Most of the recipes call for beef broth.  I usually like to use water and let the beef make its own broth as it stews.  Seasoned well, I think the end result is tastier.  Unlike chicken broth, canned beef broth, in my view, is overpowering.

In place of salt, I used Tony Chacere’s Creole Seasoning.  It contains sufficient salt, along with a collection of other spices that add flavor and heat.  It was a good decision.

For the beef, I like sirloin.  Sirloin isn’t as tender as a ribeye or T-bone or tenderloin.  To my taste it’s not the best choice for the grill.  But for stewing or braising, it’s more tender than cheaper cuts.  A good choice.

Our stew was amazing.

Hunter’s Stew

(Serves two)

6 tablespoons butter

1 pound beef, cubed

1/2 an onion, chopped

1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced

water, as needed

Tony Chacere’s Creole Seasoning, to taste, or salt, to taste

pepper, to taste

1/2 cup parsley, chopped

1 potato, cubed

 

Brown the beef, onion, and mushrooms in the melted butter.

Season to taste.

Add water.  Let the stew simmer over moderately low heat for about an hour and a half.  Stir occasionally.  Add water if needed.

Toss in the potatoes.  Continue to stew until the potatoes are done.

Add water if needed.  But not too much.  Let the stew cook down slowly.  It will thicken as the liquid evaporates.

If it’s not thick enough, mix a tablespoon of flour into a like amount of water.  Add that to the stew to thicken.

Garnish with additional parsley.

 

Bon temps!

 

Strogonoff

December 14, 2016 – It’s no secret that we enjoy experimenting in the kitchen.  We have our favorites.  But we also enjoy preparing variations on old standards.  Our most recent experiment was a Strogonoff.  Or Strogonov.  Either spelling works.

No one knows for sure who created the first Strogonoff.  It first appeared in the middle of the 19th century.  It’s most commonly made with beef.  But not always.  In South America shrimp has been the protein ingredient.  In Scandinavia, sausage Strogonoff is popular.

The original recipe was beef only.  Onions were added at some point.  Mushrooms didn’t make the pot until sometime in the early 20th century.pork-strogonoff-december-14-2013

We had a pork tenderloin.  My wife was craving mushrooms.  Why not Pork Strogonoff?  Why not, indeed.

Here’s what we came up with.

Pork Strogonoff

(Serves two)

1 pork tenderloin (approximately 1 pound)

8 oz sliced mushrooms

Salt & pepper, to taste

4 tablespoons butter

2 cups chicken stock

1 cup white wine

pinch of dried thyme

pinch of crushed red pepper flakes

1 teaspoon white pepper

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon onion powder

1/4 cup minced parsley

1 tablespoon flour

1 cup  cup sour cream

1/4 cup mustard (preferably Creole or other hearty mustard)

Egg noodles

Season the pork with salt and pepper to taste.

Brown the tenderloin and mushrooms in the butter.

Remove the tenderloin and let it rest.

Add the chicken broth and wine.  Simmer for three to five minutes to let the alcohol in the wine evaporate off.

Meanwhile, cut the tenderloin into bite-size cubes.  Add them back to the pot.

Add the thyme, red pepper flakes, white pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and parlsey.

Simmer over low heat for about 10 minutes.  Be careful not to overcook the pork.

Add the flour and stir to thicken the sauce.

Add  the sour cream and mustard.  Stir to combine.

Serve over egg noodles.

Garnish with a little more chopped parsley.

Bon temps!