Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Live It Up Big Easy Style With Easy Jambalaya

There's something special about Southern food. It's warm, it's comforting, it's bad for your health, and it tastes so good. And I love it.

One of my favorite dishes is jambalaya. It's comfort food at its best. And this jambalaya recipe is easy to prepare.

1 lb. ground sausage
1-2 chicken breasts, cut into small pieces
1/2 green bell pepper, diced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
2-3 stalks celery, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 Tbsp. parsley
1 Tbsp. basil
1 Tbsp. oregano
2 cups long grain white rice
2 cups tomato sauce
2 cups chicken broth
1-2 Tbsp. hot sauce
1 Tbsp. butter

  1. Cook the two cups of rice until about halfway through the cooking process and then remove from the heat. I cook my rice in a rice cooker and let it go until just a little after it really starts bubbling up and getting frothy. You want the rice to be partially cooked before being added to the other ingredients. The rice will soak up the liquid in the jambalaya later on, but if you don't partially cook the rice first, it will be rather crunchy.
  2. While the rice is cooking, melt the butter in a pot over medium heat. Add the bell peppers, celery and garlic. Saute for a minute or two before adding the sausage. Cook until sausage is just about browned.
  3. Move the sausage and veggie mixture to one side of the pot and add the chicken. Cook until browned on all sides and mix all the ingredients together.
  4. Add the parsley, basil and oregano. Drain any excess water from the partially cooked rice and add the rice to the pot.
  5. Pour in the tomato sauce, chicken broth and hot sauce. Salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Mix well and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook uncovered until the rice is tender. Stir occasionally so the liquid is moved around and all the rice can soak up the liquid. This takes about 20-30 minutes.
This jambalaya is pretty straightforward and doesn't take that long to prepare, but it does take some tender care. The trickiest part is the rice. Occasional stirring is key. If the rice isn't quite done, add more water.

The dish is hearty and has a kick without being too spicy, though you can ramp up the heat by adding more hot sauce during cooking. It is particularly delicious when topped with shredded mozzarella cheese. 
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