I know I’ve made this point before, but I’ve really been thinking about it quite a bit lately: we never have the same thing for dinner more than once a month — and sometimes in more than a month. It isn’t because anyone demands it. If that was the case, the chief cook and dishwasher would put on a sign stating she was on strike and walk around outside our house just when everyone was coming home from work.
I think the hunkster knows that, and although he might make a stink just for the entertainment value, I don’t expect to be walking the streets any time soon.
Our dinner menus revolve around two things: What’s in season, and what’s being featured in my magazines. And since magazine publishers know what’s in season, the two cancel each other out. No one complains, but I do wonder why neither of my guys looks at me and requests a taco or a hamburger once in a while. Or maybe a good old plate of spaghetti. I’m beginning to feel sorry for them.
So in my routine traipsing through Food & Wine, I tagged a one-pot meal I knew would come in handy. I’d either not want to make a mess of the kitchen which does seem to be in that perpetual state these days, or I’d need something quick. How can anyone go wrong with either of those criteria?
"Crab and Andouille Jambalaya" made its debut last week on a night when the hunkster wasn’t going to be home until 8PM and my son, who is in the dungeon over some missing school assignments and banned from the computer, accepted my request to join me in making dinner. He actually looked relieved to have something to do which was great for me because I always feel badly for him after I lower the boom in those circumstances. I’m a push over.
And what a coincidence that his budding cooking skills could allow me to submit the dish to Meeta of What’s for Lunch, Honey? and Monthly Mingle’s "One Dish Dinners" which is due today, and isn’t that quite the surprise. I did create a very detailed Food Event calendar this past weekend that I have sworn allegiance to, so we’ll see if this improves my procrastinating. Bets anyone? I didn’t think so.
The dish just happened to be the first meal to grace my brand spanking new Mario Batalli lasagna pan. Everything went right in it according to the recipe and worked out just fine. I made sure to read the directions since I wasn’t completely sure it would work well on the stove top, but as long as the heat stayed at medium to medium high, everything worked out well.
I prepped all ingredients for my son, handed him the recipe, and made myself available for his questions. I did make some alterations to the recipe for the purposes of our taste preferences and some color. The original recipe is linked below.
Crab and Andouille Jambalaya
1/4 c. extra-virgin olive oil
12 oz. andouille sausage cut in half lengthwise, then into 1" pieces
1 lg. onion chopped
1 green pepper, seeded and chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 tsp. Old Bay seasoning
1-1/4 c. brown jasmine rice (9 oz.)
1-1/2 c. chicken stock
1-1/2 c. water
1 thyme sprig
salt and pepper to taste
3 chopped roma tomatoes
1/2 lb. lump crabmeat
3 scallions, chopped
red pepper flakes
In an enameled cast-iron casserole, heat the olive oil and add the sausage, cooking over medium-high heat until lightly browned. Scoop into a bowl.
Add the onion, bell pepper, celery and garlic to the casserole, cover and cook over medium high heat until softened, stirring occasionally. Add the Old Bay, rice and reserved sausage, cooking until the rice is opaque, about 5 minutes. Add the stock, water and thyme, and season lightly, before bringing to a boil. Cover (I used a jelly roll pan…) and cook over very low heat until rice is tender and liquid absorbed — longer than the 15 minutes the recipe states. Just before all the liquid is absorbed, add the tomatoes and stir.
Add the crab and scallions and fluff with a fork, covering again to let the crab get hot, about 3 minutes.
Serve with a sprinkle of red pepper flakes.
Notes: The brown jasmine rice can be found at Trader Joe’s. It’s most likely the reason the jambalaya took longer than 15 minutes to absorb the liquid, but we like brown rice, so it was worth the extra 10 minutes. I added tomatoes for a bit of extra flavor and moisture because I enjoy their flavor with onions, peppers, and celery. This is not a particularly inexpensive meal in spite of its relative ease to fix. The lump crabmeat was about $9 and the andouille about $5. I’m thinking that the suggestion of kielbasa is a great one, and adding shrimp instead of the crab would be great. Old Bay is a seasoning I happen to keep in my pantry for these infrequent opportunities. It is used in crab and shrimp dishes and includes celery salt, bay leaves, and mustard seed among other spices.
If you’ve never had jambalaya, try this, and then try one of the many other varieties. I’ve long since lost my first jambalaya recipe, but this one comes about as close as I’ve seen. The chicken, sausage, and shrimp are amazing together. I didn’t make mine in a crock-pot because I didn’t own one!