Monday, March 31, 2014

Chicken & Sausage Jambalaya: Cookoff Worthy Contender?

Last weekend the Hubs & I went to the Sertoma Cajun Cookoff here in Springfield.  My awesome friend Tara got us two free tickets and I was just itching to see what was there.  I’ve thought about entering, but I wanted to check out my potential competition first.
I’m used the the Sertoma Club’s annual Chili Cookoff, which is MUCH bigger with hundreds of booths.  So I was surprised to see only about 20 booths at the Cajun Cookoff. All the same, there was a wide variety of choices, from Bananas Foster Crepes to “Cajun Mac & Cheese” to tiny crawfish pies, gumbo, jambalaya…and a few of those “errrrr” entries where they make something that’s halfway between gumbo & jambalaya and you’re NOT really sure which they were aiming for.
 IMG_20140322_142812 IMG_20140322_143653 IMG_20140322_144559IMG_20140322_145201 IMG_20140322_145744
Clockwise from Top Left: Mini Crawfish Pie (yum); little-too-buttery shrimp & lobster…something (“gumbo” is my assumption, but y’all know how I feel about tomato-based gumbo); burnt roux gumbo (remember kids: if you’re making a roux from scratch, aim for the color of peanut butter, not coffee); a REALLY tasty chicken gumbo topped with fried okra; and too-blonde roux plus crunchy-rice chicken & sausage jambalaya…that for some reason also smelled like weed.  For reals.
It got me wondering:  If I enter, WHAT would  I enter?  There were no etouffees…but then again, I don’t have a “go to” etouffee recipe, and I don’t really want to deal with a full day of people asking me what “E-toofy” is.  There were only a few gumbos—but that chicken gumbo up there is a CONTENDER, I don’t think my recipe would beat it.  But I’m pretty sure I could beat the crunchy rice jambalaya…because after all, I have John Folse & his bible on my side.
  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken, cubed
  • 1 tsp Cajun seasoning
  • 1 lb sliced andouille sausage
  • 1 Tbsp dry roux (or liquid roux) - optional
  • 1/8 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup onions, diced
  • 1 cup celery, diced
  • 1/8 cup minced garlic
  • 3.5 cups chicken stock/broth
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup sliced green onions
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • hot sauce, to taste
  • 2 cups uncooked instant brown rice
In a large (5-6 qt) pot [cast iron, if you have it], brown your chicken in the olive oil.  Then stir in the andouille, reduce heat to medium, and cook for 10-15 minutes.
On top of that, add the dry roux, onions, celery, bell pepper & garlic.  Continue cooking until the veggies are all well caramelized.  Then add the chicken stock/broth/whatever, bring to a boil, the reduce to simmer for 15 minutes.  Now add the mushrooms, green onions, parsley, and stir well, and season to taste w/ S&P and hot sauce. 
Then add the brown rice, bring to a rolling boil, and then reduce heat to low, cover, and let cook for 15 minutes or until the rice is done.
Once everything’s cooked, remove from heat, stir and then re-cover to keep the steam in the pot until time to serve. Check flavors & season again to taste.
Makes about 8 servings. 

Calories 371.3
  Total Fat 17.2 g
  Saturated Fat 5.5 g
  Polyunsaturated Fat 0.3 g
  Monounsaturated Fat 0.4 g
  Cholesterol 54.4 mg
  Sodium 1,106.6 mg
  Potassium 289.4 mg
  Total Carbohydrate 36.8 g
  Dietary Fiber 3.4 g
  Sugars 1.8 g
  Protein 18.6 g

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