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My husband, Dave, made me dinner last night. And it was not one of the two things he knows how to make well -which would be; grilled filet mignon, garlic bread, along with his mom’s caesar salad recipe… or the Male Chauvinist Pig Chili recipe that he cut out of our local newspaper’s food section some 26 years ago! No, he made jambalaya! I’m sure there are many of you reading this right now, who have never made jambalaya… so as you might imagine, this was really something. I believe it was the New Orleans Saints’ victory over our Arizona Cardinals on Saturday, that inspired him. Although we are both sad that the Cards didn’t go all the way, we are proud they took the NFC West title for the second year in a row and congratulate them on their great season. Now we’re going to put our hopes on the Saints to get to the Super Bowl. Dave, thank you for the night off and for the truly delicious dinner! xoxo

To make jambalaya, you begin with the Cajun/Creole “trinity”; a mixture of onion, bell pepper, and celery. Most cuisines have their own “trinity”, here are a few: French= carrots, celery, onion; Italian = tomato, garlic, basil; Chinese = garlic, ginger, scallions; Greek = lemon juice, olive oil, oregano; and Mexican = corn, chilies, beans.

I do not care for the flavor of green bell peppers (too much of a “green vegetable” taste for me), you may have noticed that the majority of my recipes use red, yellow, or orange bells (sweeter and not green tasting). You, of course, can use green bells instead. There are a wide variety of proteins used in jambalaya; from chicken and sausage to shrimp and ham, to duck or even alligator. The roots of Creole jambalaya are in the French Quarter of New Orleans, it is a close relative to Spanish paella. It began as an attempt by the Spanish to make their beloved paella in the New World, but the key ingredient, saffron, was not available, so tomatoes were used instead. Next came the French influence on the dish and the spices from the Caribbean changed it into the dish it is today.

Dave’s Creole Jambalaya

2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup peeled and chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup finely chopped green onions
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
3 garlic cloves, peeled and diced
1/2 cup chopped fresh tomatoes
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1 cup long-grain white rice
4 cups chicken broth
1/2 pound sliced Andouille sausage
1/2 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 pound boneless and skinless chicken breast, cut into bite-size pieces
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon Emeril’s Essence Creole seasoning

Heat a large pot over medium-high heat, add oil and sauté onion, pepper, and celery for about 4 minutes, stirring often.

Stir in green onions, parsley, garlic, tomatoes, Worcestershire, Tabasco, bay leaf, oregano, and thyme, and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in rice and add broth. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook until rice is tender, stirring occasionally for about 15 minutes. Once the rice is tender add the sausage and chicken. Cook for 10 minutes or until chicken is just about cooked through. Stir in the shrimp and cook for another 5 to 8 minutes, or until the shrimp is pink on the outside and opaque when cut through the middle. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and Creole seasoning.

Serve with hot crusty bread or cornbread.

Serves 4

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1 Marissa { 01.18.10 at 2:28 PM }

Looks good Daddy!

2 Linda Hopkins { 01.18.10 at 5:15 PM }

Hey Missy! It WAS good! Maybe he’ll add this to his repertoire and make it for you next time you’re home 🙂

3 jeffrey markett { 01.19.10 at 8:28 AM }

Quite impressive Dave, much better than your Merk’s cheese recipe

4 Linda Hopkins { 01.19.10 at 8:37 AM }

Jeffrey, what was that recipe? “Buy a tub of Merk’s cheese and a box of Wheat Thins crackers. Open cheese tub, cut off plastic liner. Open cracker package. Use one or two crackers at a time and ‘scrape’ the cracker along the top of the cheese tub, pop into mouth. Repeat.”

5 jeffrey markett { 01.19.10 at 9:55 AM }

First, it was not just any Merk’s cheese, it was the bacon flavored because it went perfectly with Olympia beer, the crackers were varied rye, whole grain, etc.. all suitable to the bacon flavor, the Merk’ always served at room temperature able to spread perfectly. As you would say the perfect finger food while entertaining.

6 Linda Hopkins { 01.19.10 at 10:22 AM }

Thank you for the clarifications, Jeff. It sounds so much more refined now! eew!

7 Ronnie Jaap { 01.19.10 at 11:58 AM }

Way to go Dave!! Hope you enjoyed your night off Linda!

8 Marissa { 01.19.10 at 6:29 PM }

Daddy, make me some bacon Merk’s with a variety of crackers!

9 dave hopkins { 01.19.10 at 7:22 PM }

I’m sorry my dearest of all daughters, but Merck’s cheese cannot be “made”. It appears out of the mist of the Northern Wisconsin Highlands, after you have spent the day reading books on the pier and chasing frogs, or if it’s raining you go golfing (sorry to you AZ types, that’s the way it is in Wisconsin!) You shoot some skeet off the back porch, crack of a few pellets into the beer can so they’re easier to crush, and head out on the snowmobile for a night on the town! And yes, the weather does change that fast in Northern Wisconsin.

10 Linda Hopkins { 01.19.10 at 10:17 PM }

After a little on-line research (boy-o-boy, do I LOVE google!) I discovered that we’ve all spelled it wrong all day – it is Merkts, not Merks or Mercks and the only store sorry enough to sell it here in AZ is Albertson’s. Now you kids know what to get your dad for an extra special Wisconsin-style treat! You can check it all out at http://www.merkts.com…. But back to original thought here – the Jambalaya was Amazing, and Dave, thanks again for making it for me 🙂

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