Enhance My Jambalaya
Below is my recipe for jambalaya. It is quite good, but does not quite measure up to the best that I've eaten in restos. Somehow it lacks the zing and snap (for lack of better descriptors) of a really first-class jambalaya. Please chime in with suggestions.
4 T. veg. oil
3/4 lb. chicken breast, diced
1/2 lb. ham, diced
1/2 lb. smoked sausage, sliced
1 cup celery, diced
1 cup onion, minced
1 cup bell pepper, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
14 oz. can tomatoes with juice, minced
3 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup tom. paste
1 T. Tabasco
1 bay leaf
1/2 t. salt
1 t. oregano
1 t. thyme
1/2 t. allspice
1 1/2 cups long grain rice
1. Heat 2 T. oil over medium-high heat in stock pot.
2. Add chicken and brown on all sides for 10 minutes.
3. Remove chicken from pot.
4. Add remaining 2 T. oil to pot and heat.
5. Add ham, sausage, celery, onion, green pepper and garlic; cook for 9 minutes stirring frequently.
6. Stir in tomatoes, broth, tomato paste, Tabasco, bay leaf, salt, oregano, thyme and allspice.
7. Return chicken to pot. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
8. Stir in rice. Cover. Simmer 40 minutes, stirring frequently and adding additional broth if rice begins to stick to bottom of pot.
re: Perilagu Khan
I dunno, probably not, although maybe at a large Asian grocer. I like to roast duck and reserve every drop of the rendered fat so it's never been an issue for me.
but there's a thread topic for you. I tried finding beef tallow or suet once and just got a bunch of puzzled looks.
Duck fat would be insane, but are you using a touch of acid to finish this off? To my mind the only thing missing is a squeezed lemon and then taste for salt before serving. You could also replace the plain diced tomatoes w/ roasted garlic tomatoes for a little extra kick and add a few drops of hot pepper sauce for depth of flavor, not zing.
mama - re duck fat: insanely delicious!
I once had a sauce (different intent) of roasted tomatoes, red bell pepper and garlic, but that WAS amazing. so good tip I imagine the char would add a nice smoky element.
OP PK: as for the ham, can you get Tasso or as a sub smoked ham hock in the area? you say smoked sausage, but can you find Andouille or even just Chorizo? these would add complexity and you don't need much.
re: Perilagu Khan
I've made a variety of Louisiana dishes that have tomatoes & ham/sausgae in them, and putting in a little coffee can give a nice depth of flavor. Sort of like adding cocoa powder to chile -- you may not specifically taste the ingredient, it just gives a little extra richness of flavor to the whole pot.
IMO you'll get the zing you need from cayenne and/or crushed red pepper (I know you have Tabasco) and Worcestershire sauce. My favorite new seasoning blend of the moment is Mrs. Dash's line...the Onion & Herb blend would enhance the dish alot. I added some (well, I've been adding it to everything lately) to my okra gumbo and it was perfect. Also, I know you have ham and sausage in the dish but 1/2 teaspoon of salt doesn't seem like enough to season all the food you have cooking together.
A few ideas:
-swap out some of that oil for butter, which will definitely amp up the flavor
-swap in bone-in, skin-on dark meat chicken for the boneless, skinless breast. You can remove the skin and bones just before serving. The bones and skin will enrich the flavor.
-add some wine or beer in place of the chicken broth. If you're not morally opposed, you could also add a little chicken bullion (or Better Than Bullion) to dial up the umami
-a light splash of soy sauce or Worcestershire sauce also kicks up the flavor
-add another bay leaf
-use fresh herbs over dried, and use more of them
-what about parsley? is that heresy?
-in addition to the fresh, use some dried garlic and onion, which add another layer of flavor
-probably not traditional for jambalaya, but you could lightly toast the rice by adding it in step 5.
-Emeril seasons his with "creole" seasoning, which includes paprika. Try it?
If you slightly change your method, you can get much more flavor out of that tomato paste than you do with just adding it in with the wet ingredients. Try adding the tomato paste separately at the end of step 5 (scrape the rest of the ingredients in the pot to one side). Sauté the tomato paste until it turns a nice, deep, dark reddish-brown color. Then perhaps deglaze with a little white wine or beer before adding the tomatoes.
Oh yes, she's right about the bone in chicken, don't use breasts, too lean. You need thighs or legs, I only use thighs. Don't worry that you don't "like" dark meat, this is no sissy dish!! You take the chicken out after it's done, and shred the meat and add back to the dish. Breast meat is way too bland for this.
But, fresh herbs get drowned out in this dish, since the rice makes it rather bland, you need the OOMPH of dried spices. No parsley, this ain't no frou-frou dish!!
But other than that, good call, CM!!