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Shrimp and Sausage Jambalaya

There was sausage. There was shrimp. There were Costco Ancient Grains. What can I make? Jambalaya!! What is that you say…

Jambalaya  is a Louisiana origin dish of Spanish and French (especially Provençal cuisine) influence, consisting mainly of meat and vegetables mixed with rice. Traditionally, the meat always includes sausage of some sort, often a smoked sausage such as andouille, along with some other meat or seafood, frequently pork, chicken, crawfish, or shrimp. The vegetables are usually a soffritto-like mixture known as the “holy trinity” in Creole and Cajun cooking, consisting of onion, celery, and green bell pepper, though other vegetables such as carrots, tomatoes, chilis, and garlic are also used. After browning and sauteing the meat and vegetables, rice, seasonings, and broth are added and the entire dish is cooked together until the rice is done.

Jambalaya is similar to (but distinct from) other rice-and-meat dishes known in Louisiana cuisine. Gumbo uses similar sausages, meats, seafood, vegetables and seasonings. However, gumbo includes filé powder and okra, which are not common in jambalaya. Gumbo is also usually served over white rice, which is prepared separate from the rest of the dish, unlike jambalaya, where the rice is prepared with the other ingredients. Étouffée is a stew which always includes shellfish such as shrimp or crayfish, but does not have the sausage common to jambalaya and gumbo. Also, like gumbo, étouffée is usually served over separately prepared rice.

Shrimp and Sausage Jambalaya (for TWO people, half the recipe!)

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces sausage, sliced into 1/4″ slices (Costco Kielbasa works just fine)
  • 2 cups of peeled, deveined shrimp
  • 4 cups of chicken broth or stock
  • 1 large red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 large green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 cup of instant rice/ Ancient Grains
  • 2- 14 oz. cans of petite diced tomatoes
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp of dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp of paprika
  • 3 cloves of minced garlic or 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt to taste
  • freshly cracked black pepper

Instructions

In a large stock pot on medium heat, add olive oil, onions, peppers, garlic and the bay leaf. Cook for 5 minutes covered.

Add tomatoes, sausage, chicken broth or stock and remaining seasonings and cook on medium heat for 25 minutes.

Add instant rice (here I used Costco’s Ancient Grains) and shrimp. Stir and cook for 5 minutes or until rice is tender and shrimp turns orange. Cover and let stand for 10 minutes.

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Linguine with Red Clam Sauce

Checked the pantry and found a large can of clams…should I make chowder or linguine? No potatoes…decision made…linguine! Pinterest to the rescue again.Quick and fairly straight forward if you use the canned clams. Certainly would make a special dish for a memorable dinner…

Linguine with Red Clam Sauce
Prep Time: 15 minutes Cook Time: 20 minutes Yield: serves 4 to 6**
Ingredients
• 1 pound linguine
• 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
• 4 anchovies, packed in oil
• 3 cloves garlic, minced
• 2 shallots, minced
• 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
• 1 cup dry white wine
• 18-ounce jar diced tomatoes
• 3 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
• 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
• 2 pounds littleneck clams* OR 13 oz. canned clams drained (save the juice)
• Parmesan cheese
Directions
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add linguine and cook for 3 minutes. The pasta will finish cooking in the sauce. Strain the pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta water, and set aside. If using clam juice discard the pasta water
2. In a very large sauté pan over medium heat, heat oil. Add anchovies, garlic, shallots, red pepper flakes, and a pinch of salt. Sauté for 3 minutes until the anchovies “melt” and the shallots become translucent. Add wine and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook until the wine reduces by half, about 5 minutes. Next, add tomatoes, 2 tablespoons of parsley, thyme, and reserved pasta water or clam juice. season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Bring to a boil.
3. Add linguine and clams to the sauté pan and cover. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes or until the clams open. Discard any clams that do not open.
4. Garnish with the remaining parsley, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, and a pinch of sea salt. Serve immediately. Pass the cheese…

Chickpea, Sweet Potato and Quinoa Curry

A cold night in the Yucatan calls for a nice warm curry! It was 24 degrees C…LOL. One of my favourite chefs, Stefano Faita of Montreal fame created this tasty dish AND its VEGAN for my friend, Jaromey!

Packed with protein and flavour, this vegetarian one pot curry is quick and easy. For a milder flavour, rinse quinoa before using.

INGREDIENTS
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 small onion
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 tbsp. chopped ginger
1 tbsp. curry paste, or to taste
1 tbsp. garam masala, or to taste
2 cups vegetable stock or chicken stock
1 cup canned diced tomato
2 small to medium sweet potatoes, small dice
1 (14-ounce) can chick peas, rinsed and drained
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2/3 cup quinoa
1 cup packed baby spinach
Juice of 1 lime
2 tbsp. chopped cilantro

PREPARATION
Add vegetable oil to large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, ginger, curry paste and garam masala. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions start to soften, about 3 to 5 minutes.
Increase heat to medium high. Add 1 1/2 cups vegetable stock, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, chickpeas, and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer. Add quinoa. Stir. Cover and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes until sweet potatoes are tender, adding remaining 1/2 cup stock if curry looks too dry.
OPTIONAL – Right before serving, stir in spinach. Let spinach wilt slightly. Finish with lime juice and fresh cilantro. Serve.

For more great recipes from Stefano, check out this CBC link to his TV show –

In the Kitchen With Stefano Faita

Ultimate Vegetable Soup

Blame it on Costco! Too many great vegetables luring us to buy them. The result…better cook these before they spoil! Pinterest to the rescue, another great recipe worth sharing.

Ultimate Vegetable Soup

Ingredients
1 onion
3 cloves garlic
2-3 carrots
1 zucchini
1 1/2 cups cabbage (I skipped the cabbage this time)
2 cups broccoli
2 cups cauliflower
1 1/2 cups sliced mushrooms
1 1/2 cups cut green beans (frozen or fresh)
1 1/2 cups peas (frozen) (didn’t have any)
1 1/2 cups corn (frozen or canned)
Large handful spinach, or more (skipped this too)
15 oz. can diced tomatoes (and/or fresh)
8 cups vegetable broth
Salt to taste

Directions
Prep veggies: mince garlic and dice onion, carrots, zucchini, mushrooms. Roughly chop cabbage if using, and cut broccoli and cauliflower into small bite-sized pieces.
In a large stockpot over medium heat, saute onion for 5-7 minutes. Add garlic and cook 30 seconds.
Add broth, tomatoes with juice, and all veggies (except spinach if using).
Increase heat and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 20-30 minutes or until veggies are desired tenderness.
Stir in spinach or not, and salt to taste.

*Notes:
Vegetable soup freezes wonderfully!
The frozen veggies work great as “fillers” if you want to quickly and easily add more veggies.

Slow Cooker Butter Chicken

The History of Butter Chicken

http://butterchicken.ca/the-history-of-butter-chicken/

Butter chicken (or murgh makhani) is part of Indian cuisine, popular in countries all over the world. The origins of butter chicken can be traced back to New Delhi. Butter chicken is regarded to have been first introduced by a restaurant called Moti Mahal, located in Daryaganj . Butter chicken is usually served with naan, roti, parathas or steamed rice.

It is thought that butter chicken was hastily prepared by a Delhi eatery chef post dinner time for a harried VIP customer who wanted “some” chicken dish. A chef named Simon Mahli Chahal first prepared this when he only had half of a Tandoori chicken which he tossed with liberal amounts of butter, tomato, and garam masalas to improvise for an delicious delicacy he was supposed to make for the ruler of Mareelun. He forgot to buy enough ingredients so he ended up with this dish.

Though various versions exists for the recipe, typically dressed chicken (with or without bones) is marinated overnight in a yogurt and spice mixture usually including garam masala, ginger, garlic paste, lemon or lime, pepper, coriander, cumin, turmeric and chili. The chicken is traditionally cooked in a tandoor, but can also be grilled, roasted or pan fried. The sauce, is made by heating and mixing butter, tomato puree, and various spices, often including cumin, cloves, cinnamon, coriander, pepper, fenugreek and fresh cream. Cashew paste can also be added, and will make the gravy thicker. Of all the spices added to the dish it is dried fenugreek leaves (Urdu/Hindi: Qasuri Methi) that makes the greatest contribution to the characteristic flavour of the dish. Once the sauce is prepared, the prepared chicken is chopped and cooked until the gravy and chicken have blended. The dish may be garnished with white butter, fresh cream, sliced green chillies and Qasuri Methi.

While I love butter chicken, sometimes I want to do something simpler. Here is the Canadian Living recipe using a slow cooker!

This can easily be left to simmer away in a slow cooker for eight hours prior to adding the chicken. It yields a large quantity of sauce that freezes well if you’re feeding a smaller group.
Ingredients
• 2 onions, diced
• 3 cloves garlic, minced
• 3 tbsp (45 mL) butter
• 2 tbsp (30 mL) grated fresh ginger
• 2 tbsp (30 mL) packed brown sugar
• 2 tsp (10 mL) chili powder
• 3/4 tsp (4 mL) ground coriander
• 3/4 tsp (4 mL) ground turmeric
• 1/2 tsp (2 mL) ground cinnamon
• 1/2 tsp (2 mL) ground cumin
• 1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt
• 1/2 tsp (2 mL) pepper
• 1 can (28 oz/796 mL) diced tomatoes
• 1 cup (250 mL) sodium-reduced chicken broth
• 1/4 cup (60 mL) almond butter or cashew butter
• 3 lb (1.4 kg) boneless skinless chicken thighs, quartered
• 1 cup (250 mL) sour cream
• 2 tbsp (30 mL) chopped fresh cilantro
Preparation
In slow cooker, combine onions, garlic, butter, ginger, brown sugar, chili powder, coriander, turmeric, cinnamon, cumin, salt, pepper and tomatoes. Whisk broth with almond butter; pour into slow cooker.

Cover and cook on low for 5 to 8 hours. (Actually, it was ready in about 4 hours…must be our altitude)

With immersion blender, puree sauce until smooth. (I choose not to puree sauces as I like the chunkiness of the ingredients!) Add chicken; cook, covered, on high until juices run clear when chicken is pierced, 30 to 40 minutes.

Stir in sour cream. Serve sprinkled with cilantro.