Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Rosie Makes Moreover Jambalaya.

Jambalaya is defined as a spicy Creole dish of rice, ham, sausage, chicken, or shellfish with tomatoes, peppers, onions, and celery. As usual, Rosie ain't stickin' to the program and will be making her own version of jambalaya, so apologies in advance to those of you who make the real stuff and to anyone I may offend by my version. Rosie follows the beat of her own drummer. You know that. And it's Moreover Jambalaya, so something that's already been blessed a time or two will be going in for another reincarnation.
First, I'm cooking beans. I can hear the gasps of jambalaya purists loud and clear. Deal with it.
I like beans so red kidney beans are going into this. I added them to salted water, brought them to a boil, then covered and reduced to a simmer. Oh wait! BTB and RTS! (That's Bring To Boil and Reduce To Simmer! Thanks, Chef Burrell for more stoopid acronyms.) Barely simmer until al dente, maybe 30-40 minutes. Don't let go to mush. Taste-check starting about 25 minutes into cooking.
Some of my ingredients: 1-28-ounce can diced tomatoes with green chilies 1 quart carton of chicken stock 1 onion 1 green pepper 4-5 stalks celery 7 cloves garlic 2 red chilies
I minced the garlic and chopped the celery, onion, and pepper.
I went into my walk-in freezer and came out with some skinless split chicken breasts. $1.87/pound! (Just kidding about the walk-in freezer.)
I quickly boned them by hand tossing the bones into my freezer bag so I can make stock later.
I chopped my chicken into bite-sized pieces and diagonally sliced some of the link sausage we got at Smith's Red and White in Rocky Mount.
First, the sausage went into my pan. Medium heat.
When it was slightly browned and releasing grease, I added in the chicken bites.
Let chicken cook about a minute then stir around.
I had a few leftover shrooms.
I wiped them off, sliced them, and shot a picture which Mr. Hawthorne complained about.
He wanted them piled up and shot this way.
Shrooms went into the pan. Cooked about a minute.
Then I added the onions.
And the celery.
And the green pepper.
Some more green stuff.
And the garlic. Always put the garlic in last. If it goes in first, you might burn it. And burned garlic is bitter.
Pour in a 28 ounce can of diced tomatoes with green chilies.
I went out on the deck and picked four leaves off my bay tree and added them to the pot.
I added in a whole carton of chicken broth.
A cup and a half of white rice. (Sorry, Kathy.) After doing some Monday morning quarterbacking, I would've added less rice. As it was, I needed to add another 28-ounce can of diced tomatoes and green chilies at the end. This makes a LOT of jambalaya, or whatever you might want to call it. I'll pour it into quart containers and freeze, waiting for a nice fall or winter day to heat this up and remember the day I made it. That's a nice promise and something to look forward to. I have some ingredients I've never used before which I'm getting ready to show you, but first I must tell you the story of their provenance. I received the most amazing package the other day from one of my readers and internet friends. I'm talkin' 'bout you, Zzzadig.
With shaking hands, I unwrapped the bubble-wrapped treasures in the box. It was like Christmas morning! I'll have to do a separate post about this glorious gift later on about how I'll be using the items, but for now I'll just tell you what was in my care package. Marco Polo Apricot Preserves with extra fruit. I had these preserves on thinly sliced whole wheat bagels, Kathy, with cream cheese for breakfast. Excellent. There's a box of Bahlsen Afrika delicate wafers with dark chocolate. They're almost gone. There's a bottle of Arrington Vineyards raspberry wine. Lot No. 09. Zzzadig, I really wanted to make a dinner using every ingredient you sent me. Sort of a Food Network challenge for me. For the dessert, I wanted Greek Yogurt with the chocolate squares stuffed in it and the raspberry wine pooled around it. I thought that would be delish. However, I don't think the squares will make it. Maybe if I hide them. There are four packages of Extra Fuente Cafe el Indio, Lempira, Fabricado en Honduras. There's a bottle of Picante Bufalo Salsa Clasica and a bottle of Bufalo Jalapeno Mexican Hot Sauce. "Very hot," it says on the label on the Jalapeno sauce. I have a can of Goya fancy pimientos. I've a 17.5 ounce can of Vegeta, an all purpose seasoning. I need to look into this. More about Vegeta later. There's a package for a Cornish hen preparation. It contains a small packet of rice and some other stuff I can't discern. According to the cooking instructions, the unidentifiable stuff might just be dates, chestnuts, and ginseng root! I'm excited. I have a package of Maiz Cancha and I'm looking forward to popping this up. It doesn't pop like popcorn, but it does pop without puffing, according to what I've Googled. It's a popular snack in Andean countries often served alongside ceviche. Lastly, I have dried black fungus and dried Cobanero chili pods. I will be using these items in my "jambalaya" tonight. If at any time, someone wants to jump in here and yell, "Rosie, you're an idiot! You don't know jambalaya from your ass!!!" then feel free to do so. Won't bother me. I have a tough hide. To call me stoked would not begin to describe what I'm feeling. Thank you so much, Zzzadig, for my care package. Now, where was I? Oh yeah. Back to my jambalaya. I'm getting ready to add ...
... dried black fungus ...
... and chile cobanero.
Here are the fungi. Auricularia polytricha. AKA cloud ear, tree ear, wood fungus, mouse ear, and jelly mushroom. It is prized in Chinese cuisine for its "crunchy texture" and is therefore added to dishes only for the last few minutes of cooking. Black fungus has a reputation in Chinese herbal medicine for increasing the fluidity of the blood and improving circulation and is given to patients who suffer from atherosclerosis.
Add to the pot. I really liked the dried dark fungi. Mr. H. commented on the texture of the dried shrooms. When it was in the broth and you were getting ready to eat it, you figgered it was gonna be leathery, then you bit into it and it was an al dente crunch without the ch. A surprising texture.
Here are the chilies cobanero. This is a hot Guatemalan pepper also known as a coban. The coban takes its name from a town in Guatemala's Alta Verapaz region where it flavors a turkey stew called kak'ik, sort of a Guatemalan national dish.
Add to the pot.
Submerse the drieds. Cover ajar and bare-simmer for 20 minutes. ATTENTION please. This is where the MOREOVERS come in. Remember, this post is about Moreover Jambalaya.
Here are the moreover stars. Fried tuna bites and shrimp (very light, excellent batter of 1 part flour and 1 part + sparkling water) and tuna pieces not used in the fried dish the other day.
I peeled the batter off the previous night's fried shrimp and tuna. I rinsed off the rest of the tuna pieces. Added all to the pot.
You just want to heat the cooked tuna and cook the raw tuna. Keep on low and do a minute or so.
Dixie is always close to me. I'm in the kitchen most of the day and she's right there with me.
Dixie's lazy this afternoon.
I added chili powder. Just a teaspoon. Stir and leave it alone. Taste later. Adjust if necessary. I might have added some ancho chili powder too. I knew I thought about it. Pretty sure I added some. BTW, always keep chili powders in the fridge and poppy seeds in the freezer. That's what Mama Hawthorne told me to do and I always did what Mama Hawthorne told me to do.
At the end I added in the kidney beans. It was at this point (I am slow.) I realized I needed the other 28-ounce can of diced tomatoes and green chilies.
Spoonful of yummy.
I served this with a buttered Schwann's baguette so I could sop up every last bit of goodness. There are all manner of flavors in here. You've got the spicy heat of the sausages, the smoky heat of the dried peppers, the intriguingly textured mushrooms, the chicken, shrimp, and tuna and the beans and rice. I enjoyed every bit of this.
I'm going to freeze the rest and look forward to a nice wintry day when I can pull a container out of the freezer and enjoy this again.


Kathy said...

I'm happy about the whole wheat bagel but sad about the white rice. I'm gonna try something like paella or jambalaya (maybe paebalaya?) using BROWN rice and see how it turns out. Maybe when BS comes home for a visit.

Rosie Hawthorne said...

Kathy, you are entirely too sad of late. I have brown rice but I really wanted white with my "jambalaya." "Lighten" up? ;)