Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Counter Culture Jambalaya

It's Fat Tuesday!  Laissez les Bon Temps Roulez!  While Fat Tuesday is usually all about indulgence, I am putting a healthy twist on a Louisiana favorite - enter, Counter Culture Jambalaya.
 This classic Southern one-pot dish is usually heavy and meat-laden, so my translation is a healthful, delicious, and rather Bittman-esque version.  I like my Jambalaya Creole-style (made with tomatoes), heavy on the spice, and just lightly studded with shrimp and andouille (for all you Coloradans - one of my favorite local sausage companies, Continental Sausage, makes a tasty and sustainably raised andouille which is often available at Whole Foods and, of course, Marczyk Fine Foods for the Denverites).  
When you cook it low and slow and use a heavy hand with the seasonings, the flavor of this Jambalaya is so good you don't need all that extra protein!  Using brown rice also yields a more toothsome texture and a nice, toasty flavor and is well worth the extra cooking time.  Tony Chachere's is the quintessential Cajun seasoning, and is pretty widely available, but there are lots of other versions that would work well.  
For those of you who really like to sweat (this recipe yields a medium-spicy Jambalaya) add more hot sauce, rather than spice mix, so you don't make it overly salty.  I used Tapatio, but if you are lucky enough to have any Louisiana hot sauce on hand - that would be even better!  If using a salt-free spice blend, make sure to add salt to the dish.

Counter Culture Jambalaya 

serves 4

2 T olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, diced
2 celery ribs, diced
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 28 oz. can San Marzano diced tomatoes
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
2 bay leaves
1 T Tony Chachere's Cajun seasoning (or other cajun spice mix)
1 1/2 cups long-grain brown rice
1/2 pound raw shrimp
1 Andouille sausage, sliced
2-4 tsp. red hot sauce
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 bunch scallions, sliced
1/4 cup chopped parsley

In a large dutch oven (or large pot) heat olive oil on medium-high.  Add onion and celery and saute until slightly browned, about 5 minutes.  Add garlic and peppers and saute another 5 minutes.  Add tomatoes, stock, bay leaves and Cajun seasoning and bring liquid to a boil.

Add rice and stir well.  Allow mixture to return to a boil, then reduce heat to low and cover.  Allow to simmer, stirring occasionally, until rice is almost  cooked, about an hour.  Add shrimp and sausage, mix well, and continue to cook until rice has absorbed much of the liquid and is tender, about another 20 to 30 minutes.  Remove from heat, add hot sauce and Worcestershire sauce and stir well.  Cover and allow to sit for another 10 minutes.  Serve with plenty of parsley and scallions on top and hot sauce on the side.