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  • Writer's pictureTommy Centola

Jambalaya helps make dinner dollars stretch

With the price of food increasing, everyone is looking to make their dollar stretch. Jambalaya is a great dish to help you in these times. It’s a great one pot dish that is also easy on the person doing the dishes. This flavor-able entrée is sure to please the entire family.

With so many variations, Jambalaya recipes are almost infinite. You can use whatever protein you have in your refrigerator or freezer. Today, I am sharing three recipes using what I consider non-traditional Jambalaya proteins, shrimp in LeRuth’s Broken Shrimp Jambalaya, turkey in Turkey Jambalaya and black-eyed peas in Black-eyed Pea Jambalaya. Gather up your ingredients and Let’s head to the kitchen!

Here’s a recipe from someone I consider the best chef ever, Warren Leruth. This is a recipe that he would cook for the employees before the restaurant opened for dinner. These meals were never fancy but very delicious.

LeRuth’s Broken Shrimp Jambalaya

1 ½ pounds broken shrimp (cooked)

1 cup peanut oil

4 chopped onions

5 toes garlic, chopped

3 cups chopped green onions

1 chopped green bell pepper

2 tablespoons paprika, salt, black and cayenne pepper

¼ pound sliced smoked sausage

3 cups rice

5 cups water or shrimp stock

Heat oil. Add onions, garlic, green onions, bell pepper, sausage, and dry seasonings and sauté well. Add shrimp pieces, rice and shrimp stock. Bring to a boil, cover and over very low heat steam for 20 to 25 minutes. Stir with fork and replace cover.

Here’s a great recipe to use leftover turkey from a holiday. If you’re like me, you don’t have to wait for a holiday. Pick up some turkey and make it any day of the year.

Turkey Jambalaya

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 1/2 cups chopped onion

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 cup chopped green bell pepper

1 cup chopped red bell pepper

2 1/2 teaspoons paprika

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 cup uncooked long-grain rice

2 cups chicken stock

1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained

2 cups shredded cooked turkey

6 ounces andouille sausage, chopped

2 tablespoons sliced green onions

Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic; sauté 6 minutes or until lightly browned. Stir in bell peppers and the dry seasonings; sauté 1 minute. Add rice; sauté 1 minute. Stir in stock and tomatoes; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes. Add turkey and sausage; cover and cook 5 minutes. Sprinkle with green onions.

This is a take on what is know as Hoppin John. The addition of andouille helps bring it to the bayou country. Either way, it’s good eating.

Black-eye Pea Jambalaya

6 slices bacon

1 cup onion, chopped

1/2 cup green bell pepper, chopped

1/4 cup celery, chopped

1 teaspoon garlic, minced

1 1/2 cups ham, diced

1/2 pound andouille, sliced

3 cups chicken stock or broth

2 cans black-eyed peas, undrained

2 cups uncooked rice

1/4 cup green onions, sliced

Salt and pepper to taste

1/2 teaspoon Creole seasoning

1 bay leaf

Cut the bacon and put into a Dutch oven and cook until slightly browned. Add the onion, bell pepper and celery; sauté for about 5 minutes until soft. Add the garlic and cook another minute. Add the ham and sausage and cook another 3 minutes. Add the broth and black-eyed peas; bring to a boil. Stir in the rice and green onions. Season with salt, pepper and Creole seasoning. Add the bay leaf and return to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to sit covered for another 10 minutes before serving. Fluff with a fork.

Jambalaya has always been one of my top three dishes to cook and eat. It definitely is a comfort food that’s great in hard times or prosperous ones. If you think that jambalaya is not an exotic dish, look at it this way: Jambalaya is just Cajun Stir-Fry.

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