I’m a Midwestern girl through and through. Having traveled to 48 of our beautiful states, I have learned firsthand that cooking is regional, as is taste. I’m not super excited to suck the brains out of a crawfish like the folks in the south any more than I really enjoyed an authentic Bah Hahbah Maine Lobstah.
I’m really not interested in trying to recreate the beyond amazing food I had in New Orleans since I wouldn’t know where to begin, but I can make you a casserole so comforting that will make all your PMS symptoms disappear. Well, not really, ’cause if I could I’d be making a LOT more money.
All that to say that I have no business making jambalaya. I don’t buy okra and I’m probably not going to have the yummy sausage sold in southern grocery stores in my fridge. But, I have this dish I make that resembles the flavors and we love it so I thought I’d share.
Again, don’t try comparing it to any southerner’s cooking. But, if you need a dinner you can make for your family with ingredients you probably already have in your cupboard, that might be jambalaya-ish, I’m your gal.
First, while you heat a skillet to medium heat on the stove with 1/2 c. butter in it, chop an onion, 2 stalks of celery, and four cloves of garlic that you’ve minced or chopped very finely. Add the veggies to the pan and sauté for several minutes until they are tender.
When the veggies are soft, add 1 lb. smoked sausage that has been cut into bite-sized pieces, 2 cups either long-grain or brown rice (not instant), 3 cups of chicken broth (you may need to add more later), 1 can of tomatoes (you can use the kind with green chilies if you like it spicy), 1 T. worcestershire sauce, 1 T. hot sauce (we like Frank’s), 1 T. browning sauce (this is called Kitchen Bouquet and is near the worcestershire sauce in the grocery store–good to have on hand if you don’t already), 1tsp. salt, and 1 tsp. pepper.
Wow! Big list, huh?
Bring all this to a boil and let it simmer uncovered on medium heat for up to an hour until all of the liquid soaks nicely into the rice and plumps it up ’til it’s nice and soft.
Since you’re stirring this goodness occasionally, you will notice if the liquid absorbs and the rice isn’t quite cooked yet. This happened to me this time and I just added a cup of water (or you could add more broth) one at a time until the rice fully cooked.
At this point, if you like shrimp, you can throw in as much cooked shrimp as you’d like. Don’t let it sit in there long, though or it will overcook and get tough and yucky.
We like this served with biscuits or corn muffins. No worries, those recipes will come along one of these days. For now, enjoy some kinda jambalaya-ish dinner, Midwestern-style!
Jambalaya-ish Grocery List
1/2 cup butter
2 celery stalks
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 lb. smoked sausage
2 cups uncooked long-grain or brown rice
1 can tomatoes, (with green chilies if you like some spice)
1 T. worcestershire sauce
1 T. hot sauce
1 T. browning sauce (if you have it–it would survive without it if necessary)
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
Cooked shrimp optional