Jambalaya

This year for my birthday, my sweetie bought me an enameled cast iron pot. It’s several months later, and I’m still beaming. Many girls want diamonds. Me…. shiny red cookware. Suddenly, I had to find new recipes to showcase my new friend. Jambalaya was one of those recipes that fit the bill. The inspiration to cook jambalaya came from a Cajun party at my church. Our senior pastor being from Louisiana, they went crazy with the theme. It was a blast. One of my favorite things was the Jambalaya that they served. That evening, it became my new goal to find a way to make a good jambalaya at home. I have tried it on the stove top, and using a slow cooker, and have played around with it to suite our tastes. I might get a lecture about it not being totally authentic, but seeing as I did not grow up in Louisiana, it does not hurt my feelings at all 🙂 I have tried it with shrimp and it’s great, but today I have none. I am also using a pretty spicy andouille, but there are some not so spicy ones available. If you can’t find andouille, or do not like a lot of spice, just use any smoked sausage.
For those of you who have not had jambalaya before, here’s a little history. Creole Jambalaya originated in the French Quarter in New Orleans. It came about as a variation of Spanish Paella blended with Caribbean influences. It usually consists of celery, onions, green pepper (referred to as the “holy trinity” ), meat (typically chicken and andouille or some kind of smoked sausage), seafood (often shrimp), vegetables (tomatoes and sometimes okra),rice and stock. And lastly, it is delicious. History class dismissed. Let’s get to cooking.
Ingredients:
3 Tablespoons Oil
14 Ounces Andouille Sausage
3 boneless, skinless Chicken Breast, cubed
1 large Onion, diced
1 Cup Celery, diced
1 Green Pepper, seeded and diced
3 Garlic Cloves, minced
2 (14 Ounce) Cans Crushed Tomato (or Petite Diced) I used a 28 oz can this time.
2 Teaspoons Cajun Seasoning
4 Cups Chicken Broth
3 Bay Leaves
2 Cups uncooked Rice
1. Heat oil in a large stock pot, or cast iron pot. On medium high heat,brown the sausage. Take out and set aside on a plate. Add a little oil if needed, then brown the chicken. Set aside with the sausage. (The intent is not to cook the meat all the way, just to brown it for flavor).
2. Using the same pan, saute the onion, celery and green pepper until they start to soften. Add in the garlic, and stir for about a minute. Add the tomato, Cajun seasoning, the chicken broth and the bay leaves. Bring to a boil.
3. Add in the rice. Stir a few times. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat to medium. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Now add in the sausage and chicken. Stir then cover and simmer for 10 more minutes until the rice is tender.
Enjoy.
I also included a recipe by Emeril Lagasse for a creole seasoning, if you can’t find one:

Emeril’s ESSENCE Creole Seasoning (also referred to as Bayou Blast):

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
Combine all ingredients thoroughly.

Yield: 2/3 cup
Devotion For the Day:
The Value of Relationships:

A while back, our Pastor Chris Hodges preached on the topic of relationships. I came across my notes, and thought I would share what stuck with me. His title: We are better together. Well anyone who reads this is probably going… Duh! I know that! The truth is that we all know that it is true that we are not an island and we need people. The problem is that what we know in our heads does not always translate to how we live out our lives. Do we really have friends around us that know us well enough and love us enough that we can be real and vulnerable? Are we that kind of friend? One of my hubby’s favorite verses is Proverbs 27:17  “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another”. That is what real friends do. They sharpen us and enrich our lives, as we do the same in theirs. Pastor Chris loves to make the statement “we are all one step away from stupid”. We laugh.. but it’s so true! A good friend can spot the pit you are about to walk right into and stop you in your tracks. Alternatively, they could pull you out of a pit and dust you off when you need a hand.It was just a reminder for me this week to take the time to invest in meaningful.. authentic relationships. This is where real life change occurs. This was God’s vision for the church. I was reminded that church is not what we do for an hour or two on Sunday morning, it is the fellowship and relationships we build day to day that are the foundation for REAL Christian living. 
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