Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Shrimp and sausage jambalaya

shrimp and sausage jambalaya, adapted from Mark Bittman's How to Cook EverythingI'm happy to announce that the cookbook of the month for June is Mark Bittman's "How to Cook Everything." Note that this is the original (yellow) version, not the revised (red) edition. That being said, if any of you have had the privilege of owning both, I would love to hear how the two compare and whether it's worth buying the new edition. This book is fabulous because it has a recipe for just about every popular dish that you could think of, plus more. It's also a great resource for simple ways to cook veggies if you happen to come across a new one and don't know where to start. I have a feeling that this feature will come in handy when my CSA starts in a couple of weeks! Because this is a "general" cookbook, I should be able to try out a wide variety of recipes this month.

I decided to make this first recipe because I was looking for a good way to use the rest of the shrimp in my freezer. I originally wanted to make a shrimp and pineapple curry, but I recently had an allergic reaction to pineapple, and I didn't want to risk wasting a bunch of shrimp and an entire pineapple. Hopefully I'll be able to make the curry one of these days because this weekend I was able to eat a small amount of pineapple with no adverse effects, and I'm hoping that the reaction was either the result of a weird pineapple or the massive quantities that I ate that day. But for now, here is a delicious way to use shrimp in jambalaya.

Shrimp and sausage jambalaya (adapted from Mark Bittman's "How to Cook Everything")

8 oz. hot smoked sausage, sliced (ideally andouille, but I used spicy venison sausage)
1 medium onion, sliced
1 green bell pepper, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 can (14 oz) diced tomatoes, drained
1 cup brown rice
2 1/2 cups chicken stock
8 oz. medium shrimp, peeled and deveined

Begin to brown sausage over medium heat in a large pot, and as soon as it renders a little bit of fat, add the onion and bell pepper and cook until they're tender. Then add the garlic, cayenne, and thyme, and let cook for an additional minute. Stir in tomatoes, increase heat to medium-high, and let cook for 5 min. Add rice and stock, let come to a boil, reduce heat to medium, and cook uncovered until rice is tender (about 50 min). Keep an eye on it while this is cooking, as you may need to add more liquid if it is all absorbed before rice is done. Then add shrimp and cook for an additional 3 minutes. Serves 3.

I loved this! Cajun/creole cuisine often intimidates me, but I love it so much that I sometimes attempt it anyway. This was worth the risk, and it was far simpler than the other dishes that I have attempted in the past. I liked substituting brown rice because it gave the jambalaya a slightly different feel (and somewhat heartier flavor) than typical jambalaya. So far it looks like this month is off to a good start!

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