Sunday, December 28, 2008


Girlfriends came over tonight, and despite the margaritas and glasses of wine, despite the cacophony of children in the background, and despite all the catch-up chatter, we managed to pull together a dinner, mostly from ingredients out of my freezer; chicken breasts, andouilli sausage (that came from a small sausage maker we visited last spring located near my dad in northern California), shrimps, and sliced bell peppers. It was a humble one pot meal, the best kind really, thrown together in a hurry and eaten with gusto.

This meal is one of my favorites, and the recipe is adapted from Cooking Light Magazine, although with the changes I've made I doubt it could qualify as "light."

Cajun Jambalaya

2 tablespoons canola oil
1 pound andouille sausage cut into (1/4-inch-thick) slices
3 cups finely chopped red bell pepper
3 cups finely chopped yellow onion
2 cups finely chopped celery
2 bay leaves
2 1/2 cups chopped skinless, boneless chicken breast
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped jalapeƱo pepper
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup tomato puree
2 3/4 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 cups basmati rice
1 pound peeled and deveined shrimp (tail left on)

1/4 C chopped parsely

Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add sausage; cook until sizzling quiets (about 8 minutes), stirring occasionally.

Add bell pepper, onion, celery, and bay leaves; cook until vegetables are golden brown, sizzle loudly, and begin to squeak (about 14 minutes), stirring occasionally. Add chicken and next 8 ingredients (through garlic); cook 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add tomato puree; cook 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add broth, and bring to a boil. Stir in rice. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes. Add shrimp and push into rice slightly. Simmer for another 5 minutes. Discard bay leaves. Top with parsley.

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