Sunday, January 27, 2013

Spicy Shrimp & Andouille Jambalaya with Beet Greens

On opening the fridge, I realized I had some serious cleaning out to do in there. Where did all those fridge-real-estate-hogging bits and pieces come from? Oh everything was good, but wouldn't be for long if I didn't get crackin'. I needed more space!

There was a big bag of beautiful yellow peppers I'd picked up on my last walk through the Strip District.  $2 for a big basket? You know they came home with me. I'd roasted beets last week and saved the tops - you don't throw out beet tops do you? You won't after this recipe.

There was a nice piece of andouille in the meat drawer, 3 jalapenos that were ready to give up the ship, half a bag of shrimp in the freezer, the last few stalks of celery in a bag and a couple of slices of ham left from last Sunday's dinner. With those ingredients on hand and rice in the pantry, dinner was decided. Hello Jambalaya!

There's a lot to be said about a one pot dinner that can clean out your refrigerator and be an authentic Cajun treat. And it feeds (not literally) an army. Leftovers for the week, YES!

Spicy Shrimp & Andouille Jambalaya 
with Beet Greens

  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 3/4 pound ANDOUILLE, or other smoked sausage, sliced in half lengthwise then across to make half-rounds about 1/4" thick
  • 1/2 pound ham, diced small
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 large green bell pepper, seeds removed, diced
  • 2 medium yellow bell peppers (or use red or orange...whatever you have), seeds removed, diced
  • 2 large jalapeno peppers, seeds removed, finely minced
  • 4 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, fire roasted is my favorite, add all the juices, too
  • 3 fresh thyme, sprigs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 3 Tablespoons cajun seasoning, I used Slap Ya Mama - nice and spicy!!!! (if you don't like big heat, use less)
  • freshly ground black pepper, LOTS - to taste
  • 4 cups chicken stock, I used a box from the store shelf, feel free to use your own homemade if you have some!
  • 2 cups long-grain white rice
  • beet greens, the tops from 1 bunch, washed and sliced across into about 1/2" ribbons (if you don't have beet green around, kale works beautifully!)
  • 12 large shrimp, raw, peeled and deveined, tails left on
  • 1 teaspoon cajun seasoning

Heat oil in a large Dutch oven or other stove to table cookware.  Once the oil is HOT, but not smoking, add andouille and ham and saute until WELL browned. Remove meats with slotted spoon and set aside.

Add to the remaining oil in the pot, onion, celery, green and yellow peppers and jalapeno.  Once the veggies are about halfway to translucent, add the minced garlic and continue cooking until the onions are translucent and the rest of the veggies are soft.

Next add the diced tomatoes and seasonings and continue cooking for a few minutes until everything is nicely melded.

Now add the chicken stock, rice and greens, stirring until the rice is evenly distributed throughout the veggies.  Bring to a boil.

Add the meats and stir well again and bring to a boil again. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer about 25 minutes. 

Toss the shrimp with the teaspoon of cajun seasoning. Uncover the pot and place the shrimp on top of the rice, cover and continue cooking until the shrimp are pink.  Do NOT overcook the shrimp. 

Spoon into bowls and serve with good crusty bread!

NOTE: Be sure not to overcook your rice OR your shrimp.  Nobody likes mushy rice or rubbery shrimp.
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