Wednesday, February 25, 2009

"Who's Your Mama, Are You Catholic, And Can You Make A Roux?" - Jambalaya

Date I made this recipe: February 24, 2009 (Mardi Gras)

Who’s Your Mama, Are You Catholic, And Can You Make A Roux? – A Family Album Cajun/Creole Cookbook by Marcelle Bienvenu
Published by: Times of Acadiana Press
ISBN: 0-9631637-1-X
© 1991
Recipe: Jambalaya – My Way – p. 72

Well Happy Mardi Gras everybody!

Today is Fat Tuesday, the official kickoff to Mardi Gras and Lent and what better recipe to make than Jambalaya?

I bought this cookbook a long time ago and then stashed it away until it dawned on me to take it out and make something for Mardi Gras. But let me just say that the Hunt for Red October for this cookbook was almost as arduous as finding the baby in the King Cake (a type of coffee cake made for Mardi Gras in which a plastic baby is hidden in the dough; luck follows the person who finds the baby as does the requirement that the person bring the King Cake to next year’s celebration).

At any rate, after searching all my shelves at least four times over, I finally discovered this book sandwiched in between two others on, of course, the very top shelf of my cookbook library. (Note to self: you might want to dust up there sometime).

There were a lot of tempting recipes in this book (that is also filled with family stories of growing up in Louisiana) but I selected the Jambalaya because it was easy. I got the entire thing all cooked and stored in time to get to a 7:00 community band rehearsal. (Sad to say, we northerners didn’t do much to acknowledge the day—no beads were thrown, no breasts were barred, and no cake was devoured—at least until after rehearsal when a few band mates went to the bar to celebrate Mardi Gras. No reports have been filed from the field so we’ll just assume that what took place in Minneapolis stayed in Minneapolis.)

Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler! – Let the Good Times Roll!

Jambalaya – My Way – Serves 6
½ cup chopped green onions
½ cup chopped white onions
1 large sweet green pepper, julienned
1 cup chopped celery with leaves
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/3 cup butter (note: this is a lot of butter and the rice ended up being a little greasy; you might want to consider cutting down just a bit)
½ to 1 pound raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
3 dozen raw oysters or 1 cup chopped ham
1 pound can whole tomatoes
1 cup chicken broth
Salt, cayenne pepper, thyme, bay leaf, hot sauce
1 cup uncooked rice

Saute onions, green peppers, celery, and garlic in butter until wilted. Add shrimp (and oysters); cook for 5 minutes. If ham is used, add when rice is added.

Add the tomatoes, chicken broth, and seasonings, which can be salt and cayenne pepper, a pinch of thyme, a couple of bay leaves and a couple of dashes of hot sauce. Add the rice (and ham), stir a bit and cover. Cook 25 minutes or until rice is tender; mine cooked for about 40 minutes before I considered it done. Add a little tomato juice or chicken broth if the jambalaya becomes too dry.
Post-Script: What are the odds of this? Less than two weeks after writing this blog, my local paper, the StarTribune, featured an article on how to make a roux ("How Roux You Do?") with none other than today's blog's featured author, Marcelle Bienvenu, at the helm. Coincidence? I think not!

No comments: