My family has started a new tradition- a Mardi Gras meal of Jambalaya followed by King Cake (my first post) for dessert. YUM! I served this version of Jambalaya for our second annual feast. It is from The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook by Matt Lee and Ted Lee. I was initially interested in cookbooks by the Lee Brothers when one of their newer cookbooks was written up in the New York Times. My husband went to High School with Matt Lee in Charleston, South Carolina. This recipe is from their first cookbook- I think it’s great. I love the story, background, and description they have written with each recipe. I substituted Old Bay for the Lee Bros. Shrimp Boil, and used homemade turkey stock, chorizo, and a sweet onion.
Yield: 6 servings
- 1 pound headless medium shrimp (41-50 per pound), shells on
- 3 1/2 cups chicken broth
- 1 T Lee Bros. Shrimp Boil (I used Old Bay)
- 1 T canola oil, plus more if necessary
- 10 ounces smoked andouille sausage or chorizo, cut on the bias 3/4 inch thick
- 6 chicken thighs, skinned (about 2 pounds) (I used boneless)
- about 2 tsp salt
- about 2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup chopped yellow onion (about 1 large onion)
- 5 large garlic cloves, chopped
- One 28-ounce can whole Italian tomatoes, drained, juice reserved
- 1 cup long-grain rice
- Six 3-4-inch-long fresh thyme stems
- Peel the shrimp and place in a bowl, reserving the shells separately. In a medium saucepan, bring the chicken broth to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp shells and the shrimp boil, turn the heat to low, and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove the shells and discard. Turn off the heat.
- In a broad-bottomed 4-quart pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Add the sausage, turning the pieces with tongs until the outer surface of the sausage pieces are browned all over, about 6 minutes total. Remove to a plate and reserve the sausage.
- Brown the chicken: Add the chicken thighs to the sausage fat in the pot- in batches, if necessary; don’t crowd the pan- and sprinkle them with pinches of salt and pepper. Sauté them on one side until they are a rich golden brown, about 4 minutes, agitating them every so often and adding drops of oil, if necessary , to keep them from sticking. Turn the thighs, sprinkle them again with pinches of salt and pepper, and sauté until the other side is nicely browned. Remove to a plate and reserve.
- Add the onion, garlic, and 1/4 cup reserved tomato juice to the pot and sauté, stirring and scraping up any brown bits from the bottom, until the vegetables are softened and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes, crushing them as you add them. Turn the heat to media-low and simmer until the ingredients are thoroughly mixed and thickly soupy, 4-6 minutes. Add the chicken, nestling the thighs in the stew. Then add the sausage and any juices that may have drained from the chicken and the sausage.
- Strain the broth into a measuring cup and add enough of the remaining tomato juice to make 3 cups of liquid. Add the liquid to the pot and then add the rice. Cover and cook over low heat for 25 minutes, or until the rice is tender and has absorbed most of the liquid. Turn off the heat and add the shrimp, stirring to distribute.
- Let the jambalaya rest for 10 minutes before serving. The rice should be plump and very moist but not soupy. Serve in bowls, and garnish with thyme.
Lee Bros. Shrimp Boil
A shrimp boil is a spice blend that combines with water to make an instantly spicy and aromatic broth, a perfect medium for boiling all sorts of fish and shellfish. This recipe makes enough to season 4 gallons of water. Budget 1 T per 1 quart water.
Yield: Makes 1 scant cup
- 1 T peppercorns
- 1 T celery seeds
- 6 bay leaves, shredded with scissors
- 1/2 cup kosher salt
- 3 T ground cayenne pepper
- Pound the peppercorns, celery seeds, and bay leaf with the salt in a mortar, in batches if necessary.
- Place in a small bowl and stir in the cayenne. Stored in an airtight container, it will keep for up to 2 months.