Chicken and Shrimp Jambalaya

Jambalaya. The very word evokes hot nights on the bayou, fiddle music, and cold beer. Ever since I first visited New Orleans almost 20 years ago, I can’t get enough of this stuff. It’s the rice/andouille/tomatoes/cayenne thing. And the shrimp.

This recipe comes to me from Tiffany, who made this for a boudin party (that’s a separate post) we had at my house (new kitchen means I want to cook all the things, and those for which I have no recipes, I want other people to make in my kitchen).

Chicken and Shrimp Jambalaya

1 medium onion, quartered
1 stalk celery, quartered
1 red bell pepper, seeded and quartered
5 cloves garlic, peeled
2 tsp. vegetable oil
4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
12 oz. andouille sausage, cut into 1/4-inch slices and halved
1-1/2 cups long-grain white rice
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes, drained (reserve 1/4 cup juice )
1 cup bottled clam juice
1-1/2 cups chicken broth
2 bay leaves
1-1/2 lbs. shrimp (31-40 count), peeled and deveined
2 tbsp. minced fresh parsley

Combine the onion, celery, bell pepper and garlic in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until chopped fine.

Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the chicken to the pot, skin-side down, and cook until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Turn the chicken and cook until golden brown on the opposite side, about 3 minutes longer. Transfer the chicken to a plate and set aside. Lower the heat to medium and add the andouille. Cook, stirring often, until browned, about 3 minutes. Transfer the sausage to a paper towel-lined plate and set aside.

Lower the heat to medium-low and add the chopped vegetables to the pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables have softened, about 4 minutes. Add the rice, salt, thyme and cayenne; cook, stirring constantly, until the rice is coated with the fat, about 1 minute. Add the diced tomatoes, reserved tomato juice, clam juice, chicken broth, bay leaves and cooked sausage to the pot. Stir to combine.

Remove the skin from the chicken pieces and place the chicken on the rice so that the side the skin was just removed from is now facing down. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and let simmer for 15 minutes. Stir once, keeping the chicken in the same general position, and continue to simmer until the chicken is no longer pink inside, about 10 minutes more.

Transfer the chicken to a clean plate or cutting board and set aside. Scatter the shrimp over the rice, cover, and continue to cook until the rice is fully tender and the shrimp are opaque and cooked through, about 5 minutes more.

While the shrimp are cooking, shred the chicken. Once the shrimp are finished cooking, discard the bay leaves, stir in the chicken and parsley, and serve immediately.



Shelly’s Chili (The Wilsonator)

Oddly, my Italian family didn’t make a lot of chili. Which we totally should have: it has everything in it I love. EVERYTHING. However, my friend Shelly DOES make chili. She actually makes all soups like nobody’s business (whatever that means… but it sounds good!), but her chili is the best.
After dragging her over to my house many, many times to watch her make the chili, I broke down and asked her to just send me the recipe and directions. I’ve included them as she sent them below, but first, read the notes below the ingredient list:

Ground turkey – one pound
Kidney beans – one can
White beans – one can
Green Tabasco
Chicken broth (low sodium, 100% USDA organic) – one carton
Worcestershire sauce
Apple cider vinegar
Green Tabasco

Chopped or whole plum tomatoes – one can
Any other fresh, local veggies – squash, zucchini

Sweet and Spices
Brown sugar
Onion Powder

Fresh herbs

1. I typically have low-sodium Worcestershire in the house, so I’m liberal with it. If you don’t use the low sodium stuff, be careful because it is salty, and since you add it early you’ll really bring out that salt flavor by the time you’re done. 
2. I use the lowest fat ground turkey I can find. This eliminates trying to drain fat off the top later.
3. The apple cider vinegar is crucial for taste. I typically use at least 1/4 bottle of the Trader Joe’s stuff and add more as I go.
4. I use either peeled stewed plum tomatoes or other no-sugar-added ones. I’ve also had incredible luck with the canned chopped tomatoes that have onions and garlic in the can – Del Monte, I believe – but they have high fructose corn syrup, which I really try to avoid. I like food in my food.
5. I use brown sugar when I have it, but if I don’t have it I add a pinch of Xylitol. Just a pinch. 
6. I use my food processor to slice everything. Don’t make things tough.
7. If you follow Weight Watchers’ Points Plus, this is about five PointsPlus a cup (since the measurements vary on things like corn, it could be more if you go heavy on corn or if you use tomatoes with added sugar), but if you’re using Simply Filling, these are all power foods, so there you go. 
8. I usually make cornbread to go with, because, well, cornbread. Cornbread! ‘Nuff said.


Ground turkey: brown with garlic, onion, celery, carrot, salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce, lots of cumin, paprika and maybe onion powder and a good amount of apple cider vinegar. And that green tabasco you have. 
You can toss some fresh herbs (parsley, cilantro, even basil) in then as well, and add a little bit of your chicken broth here too. 
Cook it up so the veggies are tender and everything gets nice and happy, then add the rest of the chicken broth (one container should be enough) and also add softer veggies here like zucchini, squash, corn, etc. Whatever you want. Also add in canned tomatoes (I like chopped and/or whole plum tomatoes – check sugar content) and canned beans. I like red kidney beans, but you could also use the white ones, which are softer.  
If you didn’t use tomatoes with sugar added, you might want a little bit of sugar (I use brown, but whatever). I like the chili a little bit on the sweet side, and balance it with a little more vinegar, if needed. I also like to add more fresh cilantro at the end. 
That’s about it. Once you get the last veggies and beans and tomatoes in there, you can let it simmer as long as you want, or eat it right away. But I do like to babysit it a little and check the flavors, add things as needed.