Monday, December 28, 2009

Creole Turkey Jambalaya

Hope everyone enjoyed the holidays! If you cooked a turkey, here is a tasty recipe for using up some leftovers.

As I understand it, there are two kinds of Jambalaya: Creole and Cajun. It seems the main difference is that the Creole version contains tomatoes and the rice and stock are added near the end. The Cajun version does not have tomatoes, and I believe the rice and stock are added at the beginning and simmered for longer.

Traditional recipes call for fresh tomatoes, but in my neck of the woods, it is nearly impossible to find good fresh tomatoes in the winter. There are some good hydroponic tomatoes grown in Ontario now, however, I have yet to find them in Chinatown. If fresh tomatoes are available, by all means, use them! Add them before you deglaze the pan and saute them until they are browned. This will add a whole other dimension of flavour to your dish as it brings out the sweetness of the tomatoes.

Feel free to use other meats and seafood. I've done this with ham instead of sausage and it was fantastic. I've also used soaked, salt cod instead of the shrimp. It had a stronger fish flavour and it was delicious. I don't cook much shellfish, but I imagine that any kind would be great.

If you wanted to make this a dish that is cooked longer, such as something you do in your crockpot for the day, be sure to add the shrimp in the last bit of cooking because it will become rubbery otherwise.

I do this dish in my big cast iron pan for maximum browning and flavour. I have used my electric skillet previously and I did not feel that the flavour had enough depth.

Ingredients:

1 cup cubed, cooked turkey (or chicken)
1 cup cubed smoked sausage (kielbasa is perfect and easy to find)
Few handfuls of cooked shrimp (still frozen shrimp is perfectly find)
1 large green pepper, seeded and chopped
1 large cooking onion, chopped
2 ribs of celery, chopped
1 small can of diced, stewed tomatoes
4 cups of good chicken broth (purchased boxed broth is perfect here)
3 cups of uncooked, parboiled rice (or rice of your choosing, I have not tried this with brown rice)
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon black pepper
Salt to taste

1. Saute your meats and veggies together until the veggies are soft and the meats are slightly browned.
2. Deglaze the pan with about half of the stock. Be sure to scrape all of the browned bits from the bottom of the pan.
3. Add the tomatoes, seasonings, rice and the rest of the stock. Stir well to combine. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
4. Test for seasoning, but avoid taking rice during your test as it will not be cooked. Adjust seasonings as needed.
5. Add the shrimp, cover and simmer for another 10 or 15 minutes until the rice is cooked all the way through.

Serve and enjoy!

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