Monday, February 19, 2007

Chicken Jambalaya West Side Style

The lovely wife and boys one and two are currently at the Southern Retreat, and I am stuck here in NYC on call. Although I miss them desperately, their absence gives me a chance to make a spicy (boys won't eat), rice (wife will eat under protest) dish that I happen to like: jambalaya. There are a zillion potential ingredients in this dish but, in my mind, there are several key elements to jambalaya: red and green peppers, andouille sausage and white pepper. In this dish I add chicken but almost any protein source can be added, particularly seafood. This will easily feed four people.


1 large red pepper, diced (2 if they are small)
1 large green pepper, diced (2 if they are small)
1 large onion, diced
handful of mashed cherry tomatoes (or one diced regular tomato)
3 celery stalks, cut up
4 cloves garlic, diced

3 andouille sausages (about 10 ounces), cut into large bite size pieces
4 skinless chicken thighs, bone out, cut into pieces
2 chicken brests, cut into 3/4" pieces

2 cups basmati rice (if you use a good rice such as Trophy Gold, you don't need to was)
One quart chicken stock
Olive oil to sautee'

1 teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon salt or more, depending on saltiness of stock
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon or more Frank's RedHot sauce


Large skillet with cover
Second skillet to brown meat

Combine all spices in a bowl and save for later. This will allow you to mix them in evenly and easily. Add olive oil to the skillet and brown the onions and garlic. Add the other vegetables (celery, peppers) and continue to sautee. Meanwhile, brown the sausage and quickly brown the dark meat chicken. DO NOT brown the white meat, it will dry out. Add the browned meat and raw white meat chicken to the vegetable mix and add the two cups of rice. Stir around a bit on medium heat. Add the stock and spices. Stir a bit more, and drop heat to low when mixture starts to boil. Cover. Every now and then, continue to stir mix so it doesn't burn on the bottom and cooks evenly. It takes about twenty minutes to cook. Add a few tablespoons of water if it looks like it will dry out before the rice is cooked. Serve in bowls with hot sauce on side.

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