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Amelia's Jambalaya

The Challenge

This week, we had 2 recipes, Viennese Iced Coffee and this one, Amelia's Jambalaya, which you can find here, or on page 161 of Foolproof. Spoiler alert: There's a surprise ending!

Lea's Take:

This was another recipe I had been looking forward to making. Josh made jambalaya years ago for his volleyball team and Mr. Good Eater LOVED it. He was only 10 or something at the time, so I was sure he was going to love it this time, too. Taste is in his wheelhouse.

I took out my trusty Dutch oven and got to work. Honestly, I don't think I've used a cooking apparatus more in this challenge than the Dutch oven. Not even Mary's workhorse, the food processor, has been used as much.

When I did my shopping for this recipe, I was slightly worried about using the andouille sausage. It had had a terrible effect on Mr. Good Eater the last time we used it, and I didn't want that to happen again. But, I wanted all the flavors to be there and figured I could tell him not to eat that particular meat.

I, of course, didn't use the chicken thighs (I can already see you shaking your head, Mary) [Mary: That's okay, I used both thighs and breasts because John doesn't like thighs.]. That was probably a mistake, but, well, I wanted something in there that Mr. Picky Pants would actually eat.

Did you know that onions, peppers, and celery together is called the Holy Trinity in Cajun cuisine? Me neither! That's about all I have to teach you in this recipe. The other actions were all things we have done before, so I made this recipe pretty easily {Mary: See how much we're learning during the Challenge!?}. And it was one of those that had to simmer on the stove for a while so I had time to wash all the dishes!

Mary's Take:

I've never made jambalaya before, so I, also, was excited to make this one. We were telling some friends about it and they remarked how much they love it, so, rather than halve it, I made the full recipe and invited them to share. Many of you know one of my greatest pleasures in life is to feed others [Lea: And I'm so glad we are the recipients of that pleasure.].

The recipe says you can use either andouille sausage or kielbasa, and we elected to go with the andouille also. John offered to run down to Cleveland's West Side Market to get it for us. If you haven't been to the Market, you're missing out on a treasure. We take all visitors to the city there. It's Cleveland's oldest public market (at over 100 years old) and has stalls for produce outside, and an indoor building (which quick research tells me was built in the Neo-Classical/Byzantine style) housing stalls for meat, seafood, cheese, spices, bakery, and other wonderful finds. I love going there.

Anyway! First step is to brown the sausage, then the chicken. When those are nicely colored, remove them from the pot and begin sautéing the veggies (the Holy Trinity, as Lea pointed out).

Next, add the tomatoes, jalapeño, garlic, tomato paste, thyme, oregano, and scrape the browned bits with a healthy dose of white wine. Put your meat back in the pot, add the stock, bay leaves, and rice, and bring to a boil.

The recipe says to cook this for 20 minutes, then add the shrimp and let the pot steam for 15-20 additional minutes, but, as we've established I'm a terrible rice maker, so it took mine a good 45 minutes to make sure all the rice was cooked. Some was cooked, some was still crunchy. I kept turning the heat on and off and stirring for fear the rice would burn on the bottom of the pot. Finally, it was done. Shew.

The Verdict

Lea: I had decided to halve the recipe and kept forgetting that I halved the recipe, so I'm not exactly sure my measurements were correct, but it tasted similar enough to the jambalaya I've had in the past.

Josh: It's good.

Mr. Good Eater: I like it (although, I should note he only had one helping).

Mr. Picky Pants: This is really good. (This is the surprise ending! He liked it! Better than his brother! He liked it so much, he had it for dinner the next day, too! I about fell over.)

Mary: This makes a TON of jambalaya. It says it serves 8, but we probably could have fed 12. It's spicier than I would have been able to serve for a Sunday family dinner, as we have some who are more sensitive to spice. You could switch to kielbasa and lessen the jalapeño and cayenne if you wanted to reduce it. We served it with the Endive, Orange & Roquefort Salad (my second time that week to have made it) to help cool our tongues.

John and our friends enjoyed it as well...we even got a "Spectacular!" rating, so I'd say it was a hit! Pot food, once again, for the win!

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