Thursday, January 20, 2011
The exciting thing about cooking is that there is always something you’ve never tried. And when you try it, you regret not knowing such a delicacy existed for all those years. You feel cheated, but at the same time thrilled at the thought of so many more foods for you to discover. Some of the discoveries I’ve made in the last two years include pretzels, applesauce, latkes, cheese steaks and bicycle wheel sized pizzas just to name a few—basically just a whole bunch of US specialties. Believe it or not, Juicy Juice came up in Chemistry class the other day and I had no idea what the teacher was talking about. But I guess you Americans have missed out a lot too. For example, have you tried a Pavlova? How about Hokey Pokey ice cream? Or Anzac biscuits? I didn’t think so.
I fatefully stumbled upon this recipe for Jambalaya from Emeril Lagasse the other day. At first I thought that it was Brazilian or something of the like, but after some Wikipedia-ing I found that it’s actually a Creole dish. The picture looked alluring enough and it was exactly the kind of dish I needed in the middle of winter. What other incentive did I need to try it out?
What I like a lot about this dish is how flexible you can be with the ingredients. Everything goes into a big pot and you can easily adjust the flavorings and even the major ingredients. Sometimes, simple substitutions can dramatically increase the nutrient value of a dish. I used brown rice in place of white rice for some added fiber, B vitamins and Iron. In addition, I added green beans for extra vitamins and minerals, and replaced the sausage with vegan sausage to decrease the total amount of fat. A generous bowl of this hearty meal gets you servings of carbs, vegetables, and protein.
Not to mention warmth, satisfaction, and a healthy dose of happiness.
12 medium shrimp, peeled, deveined
4 ounces chicken, diced
2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp dried oregano
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped celery
3 tablespoons chopped garlic
1 cup chopped tomatoes
3 bay leaves
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp hot sauce
3/4 cup brown rice
3 cups chicken stock
5 ounces vegan sausage (or whatever you prefer), sliced
1 cup green beans
Salt and pepper
1. In a bowl combine shrimp, chicken and the next five ingredients. Mix well.
2. In a large saucepan, heat oil over high heat with onion, garlic, and celery for 3 minutes.
3. Add tomatoes, bay leaves, Worcestershire and hot sauces. Stir in rice and slowly add chicken stock. Reduce heat to medium and cook until rice absorbs liquid and becomes tender, stirring occasionally, about 25 minutes.
4. When rice is just tender, add shrimp and chicken mixture, green beans, and sausage. Cook until meat is done, about 10 minutes more. Season to taste with salt and pepper.