Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Jammin' Jambalaya

Need to cook for a crowd and want to make something ahead of time? That's the way I prefer to cook when I have people over. That way I can actually enjoy my own gathering. I visit so many homes where the woman (because let's face it that is more often the case than not) disappears into the kitchen so much it's as if she's not there.

Not fair, say I. So cook ahead and sit right down to enjoy a festive holiday drink. (And if you're still seeking a special drink for this time of year, do check out our post last year on my husband's Cranberry Corker. It is killer good.)

On to the jambalaya

serves 6

1 onion, diced
4 slices bacon, diced (I used turkey bacon but I'm sure the real thing is even lovelier)
1 pound shrimp, deveined and tails removed
hot pepper flakes and jalapeno flakes to taste. Start with 1/4 teaspoon and move from there
salt and pepper to taste
1 14-ounce can artichokes, drained and cut into quarters
3/4 cups large black olives, cut in half
1 cup rice
1 28-can diced tomatoes with juices
about 3 cups chicken or vegetable broth

In a large Dutch oven (large being at least 3 1/2 quarts, which I don't actually own so I had to start here and then transfer to a regular casserole dish later when I realized my miscalculation) heat a little olive oil and saute the onions and bacon together. (Is there a better smell in the universe?)

After about 6-8 minutes, when the bacon is getting crispy and the onions nice and translucent, add the pepper flakes. If you're a real heat fiend you could add a few splashes of hot sauce. Saute a few more minutes.

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil. The remove from heat, cover, and place in the oven. Bake, covered, for about 35-45 minutes. The timing is based on when the rice is nice and cooked. Serve with crusty bread and you are good to go.

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