jambalaya and salad
Now, I consider myself to be a pretty good cook, but I'll be the first to admit that my range does not extend much beyond Italian food, American food, and maybe some basic French stuff. However, with the Saints playing in the Superbowl earlier this month, I got inspired to make some jambalaya, which is definitely outside my culinary comfort zone. My mom hates sausage and peppers, but selflessly agreed to my dinner plans, and cooked everything with me.
I found two recipes that we used, but I wasn't quite happy with the result. Sometimes AllRecipes can come through with something great, but I think the tendency there is for recipes that are overly simplified for the home cook. With such short cuts, it is difficult to develop any real depth of flavor. Unfortunately, in this instance, we took a cue from the AllRecipes jambalaya that we probably shouldn't have, and served our jambalaya over rice, rather than cooking the rice with chicken stock and all the other ingredients, as the second recipe had instructed. There wasn't much to taste other than the smoky and spicy andouille sausage, green peppers and tomatoes. If I made this again, I would definitely cook the rice in with all the other ingredients, as I suspect that would impart the whole dish with a richness and depth of flavor that it sadly lacked.
I wish I knew more about Creole and Cajun cuisine, as I felt completely out of my element trying to make a New Orleans classic. We used chicken and shrimp in addition to the sausage, and stuck to the so-called Holy Trinity of green peppers, onions and celery. Basically, we cooked it all up with tomato paste and canned tomatoes... It was fairly tasty, but I wasn't satisfied. I would definitely try this again and try to infuse the rice with the flavors of the dish, rather than mixing it in after it has been cooked. As it was, it just didn't seem like real jambalaya, even to my inexperienced palate. However, I did happily eat the leftovers while watching the Saints win!