Shrimp Jambalaya from Sara Foster’s Southern Kitchen

shrimp jambalaya- sara1_153 copy.jpg

Yet another in the seemingly endless parade of hearty one-pot dishes from the Creole and Cajun traditions, jambalaya is a close cousin of Spanish paella (which comes as no surprise given Louisiana’s previous ownership by Spain). I love jambalaya, whether it’s made in the “red” Creole style, with tomatoes, or in the “brown” Cajun style, without, because even though it requires a little slicing and dicing, it’s actually a fairly fast and weeknight-friendly one-dish dinner—and it really sticks to your ribs. As with this recipe, I often make mine with shrimp, but jambalaya is sort of like gumbo in that it is made with everything from chicken, sausage, pork, and oysters to alligator, boar, venison, and turtle—basically, anything that swims, crawls, grazes, or flies in the vicinity of southerners.

 Serves 6 to 8

2 slices thick-cut bacon, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, diced
1/4 pound tasso or other smoked spicy ham, chopped
3 celery stalks, diced
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and diced
4 garlic cloves, smashed and minced
2 cups long-grain white rice
2 teaspoons sea salt, plus more to taste
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
3 tomatoes, cored and chopped
3 1/2 cups fish or chicken broth
3 bay leaves
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
2 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 scallions, trimmed and minced

1. Cook the bacon in a large skillet or Dutch oven with a tight-fitting lid over medium heat until crispy. Remove the bacon and place on a paper towel-lined dish to drain.

2. Add the olive oil to the same skillet and heat over medium heat until sizzling hot. Add the onion and tasso and cook, stirring often, about 5 minutes, until the onion is soft and golden and the ham is light brown around the edges. Add the celery and bell pepper and cook and stir about 5 minutes more, until tender. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute longer. Add the rice, salt, cumin, black pepper and red pepper flakes and cook and stir about 2 minutes, until the rice is thoroughly coated with the oil. Stir in the tomatoes and cook 1 minute more.

3. Pour in the broth and add the bay leaves and thyme and stir only once. Bring the mixture to a low boil, reduce the heat and simmer, covered tightly, about 20 minutes, until most of the broth has evaporated and the rice is plump and tender.

4. Scatter the shrimp over the top of the rice, increase the heat to low, and cover to steam the shrimp, 7 to 10 minutes, until bright pink and cooked through. Divide the jambalaya evenly between individual serving plates, sprinkle with fresh parsley and scallions and serve hot.


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