My loving boyfriend, barbecue man, is sick. Just for some background information, barbecue man got his name because when we met he was an event coordinator for a barbecue company, so obviously he was properly named barbecue man (or even more specifically rough tough sexy barbecue man, but I will save you from the mushy stuff). Anyways, barbecue man is sick and he is always so sad when he is sick. So I decided he needed something spicy to clear out his sinuses. So I’m making jambalaya!
When I was about seven years old I moved to Florida and lived there for about four years, and thus began my love of southern cooking. I like to fancy myself a southern belle at heart, even though I am very obviously a California girl (*cue the Katy Perry music). I moved back to California when I was 11 and really grow up here, but there has always remained a part of my heart in the south. I have always been obsessed with good old fashioned soul food and southern hospitality. I love the idea of a big plantation party decorated straight out of Southern Living magazine, with lots of old ladies in cocktail dresses sipping mint juleps, and noshing on Paula Deen style food. That probably only sounds amazing to me. But stereotypes aside, Jambalaya is the ultimate in soul food. And there is nothing like some Cajun spice to knock the boogers out of my sad, sick boyfriend.
The way I make Jambalaya is not the way you will see it made in the south, this is my own monster. A Frankenstein- like concoction I created when I was homesick in college. It’s something that is ever changing, as you can put in what ever leftover veggies or meat you have in your fridge.
I start by cooking down half an onion in a couple tablespoons of vegetable oil.
I then add one cup of rice. I suppose you are kind of toasting the rice. I actually have no idea why I do this, but it generally makes the rice less gloopy (you know, that adjective that describes overly starchy rice). Just trust me.
I then add two cups of water. I also drop in a bullion cube… which is something you will never hear Ina Garden say. But I’m gonna go ahead and say it. I’m a little on the lazy side and never seem to be prepared enough to keep chicken broth around. If you are trying to watch your sodium use a low sodium chicken broth instead if bouillon cubes though, because those suckers are salty. I also then add 2-3 tablespoons of tomato sauce. This was my favorite recipe in college because I could never finish a whole jar of tomato sauce while living alone- I know you hear me, single ladies. You can add more tomato sauce if you like it particularly tomatoey, but I find the more you add the more it tastes like spaghetti. We are not making spaghetti, we are making Jambalaya.
I then add a ton of Cajun seasoning. If you can’t measure a ton, then you should read another blog. Just kidding, if you want a real measurement I probably put about a half a tablespoon of the seasoning in. I prefer the kind of Cajun seasoning in the little green and white bottle with the very Italian looking man on it. But you could be fancy and make your own seasoning. I will warn you, the more you add the spicier this will be. Also the more you add the saltier this will be. Consider yourself warned. Bring this great big glob of ooey gooey gopher guts (*continue children’s song here) to a boil and then turn the stove down to a simmer. Put a lid on and let it simmer for about 10 minutes. Once the rice starts to get tender add in the chopped veggies, chicken and sausage. You could also add shrimp if you are feeling fancy- or if you’re a shrimp farmer that lives close to the ocean. Stir this in, put the lid back on, and let your potion keep brewing.
Check on your Jambalaya frequently after 15 mins, It should be almost done. I like to take the lid off of the pot around then and cook it with the lid off. I find that makes a dryer Jambalaya- it’s less gloopy (again, that adjective for starchy rice). In the end it should look something like this…
Just kidding! That’s a picture of my lunch that I sent to barbecue man the other day. I learned to use paint on my phone…you proud? It should actually look like this…
I think barbecue man will be happy with it. And hopefully the more we have these nice cooking adventures, the better I will get at taking pictures of food. I don’t think Saveur magazine will be hiring me just yet.
1 cup white rice
1 chicken bouillon cube
2-3 tablespoons tomato sauce
A ton of cajun seasoning
Chopped bell peppers
½ diced onion
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cups water