My husband Roger is unofficially retired. Our definition of “unofficially” is still willing to work but old enough to retire. Seriously, after 41 years in the work force, the man deserves a break. Little did he know that volunteering to trade roles with me wasn’t going to be the break he thought it would be. Nevertheless, he has jumped into cooking with both feet; and we’re both cleaning up the splashes.
Roger is a scientist and, as such, worked in high tech labs for most of his working career. He now considers the kitchen just another laboratory. He is also very organized and fond of multitasking. Each week we brainstorm about dinners for the work week, and he has learned to check our pantry inventory before going food shopping. He has found out the hard way that pantry staples don’t magically replenish themselves!
One week, we were deciding between making jambalaya and a shrimp and andouille gumbo. The jambalaya recipe had been on my “to try” list for a while, but he had made the gumbo once before. As I’ve mentioned previously, when I’m intent on finding the perfect recipe, I’ll compile a Word doc with many versions. This particular file had over 20 pages of jambalaya recipes in it (not at all unusual for me). We decided on one of the jambalaya recipes which he would make one night while I was at work rather than the gumbo.
Without telling me, when Roger realized how much time he’d be at the kitchen counter and cooktop, chopping and sautéing, he decided that he would multitask and make the jambalaya AND the shrimp and andouille gumbo, both quite involved recipes—especially considering that he’d have to make a roux for the gumbo. He had his laptop on the kitchen counter with a split screen and was scrolling back and forth and running back and forth between the counter and cooktop. Can you guess what happened? After getting well into the recipe we had chosen, he inadvertently started adding ingredients from the wrong jambalaya recipe and following those directions. It’s a wonder he didn’t add gumbo ingredients to the jambalaya and vice versa! By the time I got home, though, he had it all under control; and his mistake turned out to be so delicious that he’s been making the jambalaya that way ever since.
Mardi Gras is only a few days away. That’s reason enough to make this wonderful jambalaya!
p.s. By the way, I should mention that Roger is not a fan of parsley. Other than one comment by me below, the recipe is in Roger’s very own words!
- 1 1/4 cups brown rice
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1 large onion
- 3 ribs celery, chopped
- 1 green bell pepper, chopped
- 1 red pepper, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/2 tsp. each: dried thyme leaves and oregano
- 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (I use cooked rotisserie chicken breast from the supermarket)
- 1/2 pound bulk Italian sweet sausage, cooked and chopped. Choose a good quality sausage because this stands out in the Jambalaya.
- 1 can (28 oz.) diced tomatoes (drained).
- 1 can (15 oz.) red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 tsp. chili powder
- 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley (optional per Roger; not optional per Fran!)
The original recipe called for cooking the rice in the broth with the vegetables. It seemed to take forever for the rice to cook in the mix. In the interest of getting cooked rice without soggy vegetables, I cook the rice in a separate pan using the broth as the liquid.
So, start the rice cooking using the chicken broth instead of water. While the rice is cooking, chop the celery, green pepper, red pepper, and onion in a food processor. Use pulse mode to get them finely chopped, but not puréed. If you prefer to have the vegetables chunky, dice them by hand instead. Of course, the garlic is finely minced, so you should do that separately.
In an 8-quart stock pot on the stovetop, sauté the onion, celery, peppers, and garlic in approximately 3 tbl. olive or canola oil. Add additional oil if needed. Celery should be tender crisp. By this time, the rice should be partially cooked (15-20 minutes). Add the rice mixture, oregano, and thyme to the veggies. Cover and cook on medium until rice is done. Check the rice after 15 minutes. You may have to add a little water. While the rice is cooking, cook the sausage in a frying pan. Once the rice is cooked, add the tomatoes, beans, chicken, sausage, chili powder, and cayenne to the mix and stir it. Add parsley if you must. It is ready to serve.
Source: A Roger recipe