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Travel the World...Through Cooking! (page 2)

Travel the World...Through Cooking!

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Updated on Jan 7, 2009

Jambalaya

This classic Louisiana dish is a lot like Spanish paella. Some think that its name comes from the Spanish word jamon (ham), because the recipe often includes ham. Others think it came from the Creole words jhamba (gift) and laya (rice).

Makes 6 Servings

Equipment:

  • Knife
  • Cutting board
  • Large skillet with a lid
  • Tongs
  • Plate
  • Wooden spoon

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about ½ pound/225 g), cut in half to make 4 pieces
  • 2 links (½ pound/225 g) andouille sausage, cut into ½-inch (1.25-cm) coins
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup long grain white rice
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Salt and pepper
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 (14½-ounce) can diced tomatoes (NOT drained)
  • 1 cup frozen sliced okra
  • 6 ounces (170 g) raw jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
  1. Heat the oil in the large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook until browned, 4 to 5 minutes. Using the tongs, turn the chicken and cook until browned, 4 to 5 minutes. Move the chicken to a plate and set aside.
  2. Reduce the heat to medium. Add the sausage, onion, pepper, and celery. Cook, stirring frequently, until just tender, about 4 minutes.
  3. Add the rice, garlic, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and thyme to the skillet. Season with pepper. Stir until blended.
  4. Add the tomatoes and their juice and 1 1/4 cup water. Bring to a boil. Stir frequently, scraping up any brown bits from the skillet.
  5. Add the chicken and reduce the heat to low. Cover and simmer until the rice is barely tender, about 15 minutes.Carefully remove the lid. Scatter the okra and the shrimp over the top. Put the lid back on.
  6. Simmer until the rice is tender and the shrimp is cooked through, about 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and carefully remove the lid. Gently toss the mixture to combine. Serve hot.

Creole vs. Cajun?

Louisiana is known for two distinct cultures: Cajun and Creole. Cajun comes from the word Acadian, which refers to the French Canadians who fled Canada when the British and French went to war. Many Cajuns ended up in rural Louisiana, and Cajun cooking is “country” food: hearty one-pot meals made from local ingredients. It’s often mixed with rice to feed more people. Creoles are descended from French and Spanish settlers who moved to New Orleans. Creole food combines local ingredients with classic French cooking styles. Both Cajun and Creole cooking use the “holy trinity” of bell pepper, onion, and celery.

Croque Monsieur

A classic French Croque Monsieur (or “Mister Crunch”) is a grilled ham and cheese sandwich topped with a French cream sauce called béchamel. You can also add sliced tomatoes or use other types of cheese like blue cheese, Brie, or cheddar.

Makes 4 Servings

Equipment:

  • Small saucepan
  • Whisk
  • Large skillet
  • Spatula
  • Knife
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