Sunday, March 29, 2009

Cooking the Book - Commander’s Kitchen - Seafood Jambalaya

After my success with the chicken etouffee from the “Commander’s Kitchen” cookbook, I decided to try out another New Orleans favorite, seafood jambalaya.

The recipe for seafood jambalaya starts like so many good things, with pork.

About a pound of andouille sausage is the first ingredient. I believe I picked this particular specimen up at Tony’s seafood at Baton Rouge.

With my pot on high heat, I added two tablespoons of butter and began to saute the andouille.

There’s nothing quite like the smell of seasoned, smoked pork and sizzling butter.

Once the andouille had sauteed for 6 or so minutes, I added in my vegetables.

1 large bell pepper, 1 large onion, 3 ribs of celery all in large dice are in the bowl, along with a whole bulb of garlic that has been peeled and minced.

I added all the vegetables into the pot, along with some cajun seasoning, salt, & pepper to taste.

The idea is took cook everything long enough for the vegetables to caramelize, in this case, about 8-10 minutes.

With everything nice and caramelized, I went for the gusto and added in almost every other ingredient.

First in were two large, cored, peeled, seeded, and chopped tomatoes’

Next was a pound of peeled and deveined shrimp, and a pound of crawfish tails. The recipe actually calls for 1/2 pound of fish fillets, but I prefer crawfish. Let’s not forget the two, hard to see bay leaves.

With almost everything in the pot, I added 3 cups of thrice rinsed long grain rice.

Everything was gently stirred and incorporated.

Then 6 cups of water were poured into the pot. With all but one ingredient in the pot, I brought the mixture to a boil, covered, and reduced it to a simmer for about 15 minutes.

After the 15 minutes were up, I took a look at the pot.

The rice had absorbed most of the water, thus making it the time for the last ingredient.

With the heat turned off, I grabbed my the last part of the seafood jambalaya.

1 pint of shucked oysters in their liquor

I folded them into the jambalaya, put the top back on, and let the residual heat cook the oysters for about 8 or 9 minutes.

I knew that oyster liquor was a rich liquid, but I didn’t expect this.

With everything added, the jambalaya had turned almost into a risotto. Maybe it was the panola popcorn rice, maybe it was the oysters, who knows?

Dressed with some sliced green onions and little tabasco, this was a delicious dish.

The real beauty of the jambalaya is the simplicity. Without a complicated roux, this is the perfect dish to introduce someone to creole cuisine. I know that I heard nothing but rave reviews from this dish, with my webmaster Sam going as far as to say that this was the best dish I’ve made so far. Lofty praise, but the real credit is again, to the Commander’s Palace and their excellent recipes.

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