4 days ago
Thursday, June 18, 2009
This week's CEiMB recipe, Jambalaya with Shrimp and Ham , was chosen by Anonymous New York. This had to be one of the best all-around dinner experiences we've had in weeks around here. Despite my best intentions to prepare ahead of time, I am usually the person chopping vegetables for that night's dinner at 6 p.m. The kids are crazy, the house is a wreck, and there I am, peeling garlic.
Well, this week my older two have swimming lessons, so I've been sitting in the oppressive Alabama heat for two hours every afternoon, getting eaten by killer mosquitoes while my kids learn to prone float. The lessons are taught in the backyard pool of a woman who's taught swimming in town for years. She is truly a gifted swim teacher, and my kids have learned so much from her, but she does not have a potty available for her 3-10 year old students. Don't get me wrong -- I don't blame her. I wouldn't want 100 wet little people a week trekking through my house either, but the upshot of it all is that I end up spending at least half the time there dealing with potty emergencies. She has a longstanding "don't ask, don't tell" policy with respect to her bushes, which we moms do appreciate, but sometimes bushes just don't cut it. So I end up driving one kid or the other to the nearest real potty and then racing to get back before the other kid's lesson is over. By the time we get home, I'm mildly delirious and completely zapped of any energy that might have otherwise been used to chop a pepper.
Therefore, I actually planned ahead for a change and completely prepared all of the ingredients for this jambalaya on Tuesday night, and then just threw it all together for dinner on Wednesday. Wow, our whole evening ran so much more smoothly! I really need to get into the habit of doing this.
Start out by cooking some bell peppers, onions, and garlic, then adding chicken stock, rice, ham, diced tomatoes (I used fire roasted) and an assortment of spices, and cook covered for 20 minutes. Add some shrimp at the end and cook it for a little bit longer, and serve with hot sauce (I forgot that part).
David and I LOVED this dish. I thought it had just the right amount of spiciness - plenty of kick, but not enough to cause physical pain. If you like pain, you could always add more cayenne. I think this would also be good with smoked sausage (turkey or otherwise) instead of the ham, or with chicken instead of shrimp. This might be my favorite Ellie recipe yet -- it is definitely a keeper!
JAMBALAYA WITH SHRIMP AND HAM, ELLIE KRIEGER 1997
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more, to taste
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more, to taste
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon tomato paste
6 ounces diced, smoked ham
2 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can no-salt added diced tomatoes
1 cup uncooked long-grain white rice
1 pound peeled and deveined medium shrimp
Hot pepper sauce
Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over a medium heat. Add the onion, peppers and garlic and saute until they begin to soften, about 10 minutes. Mix in the next 11 ingredients, salt through the diced tomatoes. Bring to a boil. Stir in the rice, cover, reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until rice is done and most of the liquid is absorbed. Add the shrimp and cook, covered, for 5 minutes more, or until shrimp is cooked through. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Serve with hot pepper sauce.