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I'm new + Q 4 Jambalaya

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So I'm new to this board but I've been cooking since I was 7, it's always been big in my family to know how to cook well and damnit I'm good!
I can make the best damn cornbread or black bean chili and I'll take you on! Cooking is hella fun and I love food!
especially spicy...

I'm in college right now in Florida so my budget is limited but I managed to stock up on some good dried beans and stuff. My roommate can make hamburger helper and feel like a genius, so I do most of the cooking.

I'm here tonight because I'm making jambalaya with beans in place of meat, and I'm wondering which two types of beans I should use with yellow rice. I've got pinto, navy, black, and Lentil.

So I'm glad to be on this board it looks great and I hope to share a lot of awesome food with yall!

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  1. can't help you there. To me, if its jambalaya, there's going to be meat in it. Probably crawfish and andouille

    1. Welcome to the board!

      While you'll get 'it's not jambalaya without the meat', you can make a bean and rice dish with some of the flavor profile. I'd use black and kidney beans. If this will be totally vegetarian, I'd start with some homemade stock, fry up some tomato sauce when building the seasonings and maybe sneak in a little shoyu for some extra umami.

      Good luck, report back, and happy eating!

      4 Replies
      1. re: alwayscooking

        thanks for the tip! I figured black and pinto as well, theyre soaking now.

        Yea I know im a grass eater so its not gonna be traditional jambalaya but spicy rice and beans with onions and peppers sounds hella good to me!

        Shoyu is what now?

        1. re: chavalotti

          Opps sorry - soy sauce.

          Add as a fellow vegetarian, when making this dish I'll add some homemade VWG sausage and/or mock meat (tofu and VWG) for some additional texture and flavor. And as a reminder (although you probably already know this), when you make the vegetable stock, you can add some kombu for even more umami.

          1. re: alwayscooking

            cool! I actually have konbu(how many college kids got that?) cuz i make my own miso soup sometimes. I'll add that and I have some tempeh idk if that would work at all...I honestly don't know WHAT to do with tempeh. I think I'll save it for another day.

            1. re: chavalotti

              Personally, I'm not a huge tempeh lover but that could be just my inability to find a good recipe or way to use it.

              When using the kombu, don't let it stay in warm water too long or your dish will get fishy. I'll stop lecturing now!

              Have fun.

      2. Welcome to you!! Glad to see you like to cook.....

        Right off the top of my head I'd say use red kidney beans. Only because it seems that those are the beans of choice for many Cajun/Creole bean & rice dishes and there is precedent for the red beans & long grained rice Jambalaya. Most often, though, there is some meat such as Andouille or other sausage, and/or shrimp. But I have seen strictly vegetarian recipes as well. Good luck and let us know how it all turned out. We Love report backs.

        Edit: Shoyu is Soy Sauce.

        6 Replies
        1. re: Gio

          if a recipe calls for fennel seed what can I use in its place?

          1. re: chavalotti

            Anise seed can be substituted. Both have that slight black licorice flavor that can be subtly tasted in sausage.

            1. re: chavalotti

              Chopped Fennel bulb or Anise. There is no actual substitute, unfortunately... it tastes like licorice. You name sounds Italian.... if I said Finocchio would you know what I mean? That's what fennel seed tastes like. You could possibly use a liqueur... Anisette, but I think you probably don't have that on hand. What's the recipe and how much of it depends on the fennel seed?

              1. re: Gio

                I am Italian and yes I know Finocchio...I think Im OK without that I hate licorice. I'm going by this recipe http://busycooks.about.com/od/meatles...
                i wasnt sure what fennel's purpose was
                also, with ten minutes to these beans are still pretty firm, how long should they take to soften up?

                1. re: chavalotti

                  In case your waiting, I'll but in again on Gio's post [sorry Gio].

                  If you are using dry beans, they require a soak - either long or short. For a short soak method, put beans in a pot, cover with 2-3 inches of water, bring to a boil, then simmer until done - check every 10-15 minutes (you can add additional water if necessary) until just tender.

                  1. re: alwayscooking

                    short soak method is boil for 5 minutes, then let sit for an hour. then cook as if regularly soaked. http://www.centralbean.com/storeandso... (this link says 2-3 minutes).

          2. I agree about using red beans. But that raises the question, are you making red beans and rice, or jambalaya?

            To me a jambalaya, like a paella or a risotto, is a way to infuse the flavors and spices of the main dish into the cooked rice. So substituting beans for the meat/seafood doesn't give it enough of a flavor impact, IMO.

            Are you subbing the beans for budget reasons? Or for vegetarian reasons?

            Cuz if its for the $$$ I would encourage you to add some cheap, spicy sausage. And go ahead and use some fish fumet for the stock. You can generally get cheeks and fish bones real cheap and make a nice pungent fumet.

            If meat and fish are just not going to happen, how about taking some root vegetables and grilling them to near doneness, then tossing them into the rice + beans + stock + spices or the final jambalaya baking step? Fennel would be excellent for this. Sun chokes, winter squash, chayotes, or a variety of similar textured veggies cut into pieces barely big enough to grill that will absorb as much of the smokiness as possible. The key is to have similar cook times -- eggplant, pearl onions, zucchini, celery might work on the softer/quicker cooking side. Toss them in a spiced oil mix before grilling to get some extra zing.

            4 Replies
            1. re: BernalKC

              i eat fish but not mammals, thats why im using beans, and im using pinto and black beans. I cant afford a lot of exotic veggies but I have a friend who can so I'll try what you said, sounds awesome.

              1. re: chavalotti

                Have fun with it. One thing that you might watch for is the vegetable cooking times. Since the grilling will get the vegetables close to done, you might want to partially cook the rice+stock+spices mixture on the cooktop before adding the veggies and baking.

                Also, if you're pescatarian (a term I learned on this board) there are tons of seafood jambalaya variations. Basically, whatever you can afford and whatever looks good at the fish counter -- cut into bite size bits and cook with the rice. Definitely use a fish fumet for the stock.

                1. re: BernalKC

                  cool, whats fumet?

                  1. re: chavalotti

                    It is another terms for fish stock. Usually made with trimming from fish filleting. Often uses some white wine as all or part of the liquid, but that is not at all necessary. If you search for recipes you'll see all kinds of ingredients. The only ones that matter are fish pieces water. The other key is to use cheesecloth or a fine sieve to filter fish bits (and bones) out of the resulting stock.

                    Definitely gives the dish a major flavor boost.

            2. That's OK AC . I'm recuperating from a fall and had to lie down.

              Chavalotti: That recipe actually looks pretty tasty. I see that the fennel seed used is only 1/8 t. I suppose it's there because fennel seed is used in sausages. You can leave it out. Bernal gave you some interesting tips, especially for the fish stock. Go for it! Happy Cooking.....

              5 Replies
              1. re: Gio

                you ok?

                1. re: alkapal

                  Almost..... thanks for asking. I briused my Coccix... tailbone.... last Wednesday night. It isn't very comfortable to sit too long.....Thank goodness for foam pillows.

                  1. re: Gio

                    i did that in a slippery carport after a high kick back in my college days. i feel your pain.

                    1. re: Gio

                      Stop doing those high kicks Gio! And feel better.

                      1. re: alwayscooking

                        Thanks Alwayscooking.... It's a good thing no one saw me. It wasn't a pretty sight and it has become a colossal waste of valuable time!

                2. This may not help now, but you might want to consider making "Pelau".

                  It's essentially a meatless Jamaican jambalaya.

                  We made it for an eclectic potluck dinner and it was a big hit. The hitch was the type of squash. It calls for "Hubbard". Hubbard is a HUGE winter squash. I subbed butternut and the cubes broke down more than expected/desired, but was still delicious.

                  Just Google "Pelau" and you'll get a plethora of hits. Choose the one that looks yummiest to you.

                  Oh, and welcome to the board! Great bunch of Hounds, here!