I’ve always wanted to visit New Orleans. It pulled me long before Chef John Besh entered the culinary scene as a contestant for Iron Chef, and was tugging at me prior to reading Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles. If I believed in magic and ghosts, New Orleans is the place where I’d go to find both.
Instead, New Orleans lures me in with promises of Mardi Gras, the Saints (football, for those who don’t know), history and the echo of what happened 9 years ago when Hurricane Katrina made landfall there. That moment of catastrophe united us briefly as we hoped, prayed and helped.
That’s why I was thrilled when Kita from Pass the Sushi chose Cooking Up a Storm as this month’s Pass the Cook Book Club cook book. It was after Katrina that the The Times-Picayune of New Orleans collected recipes that were lost in the hurricane. Each recipe has the story of how it was found alongside it.
Not only is this cook book appropriate because Mardi Gras is right around the corner, but also because we should never, ever forget what happened down there.
I chose to make the Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya simply because I knew it was the dish that the family would enjoy most. The fact that it was easy to pull together was a bonus.
After browning my chicken (which was sprinkled with Cajun seasoning) and kielbasa (I chose that type of sausage to tone down the spiciness for Dudette’s sake), I added the aromatics and cooked them until soft.
I chose to deviate from the recipe below at this point, opting for chicken broth over water and a half cup of canned crushed tomatoes instead of tomato paste. The rest of the ingredients went in and simmered together for 15-20 minutes. Dinner was served.
This dish is as spicy as the seasoning and sausage used. While I controlled the heat with the kielbasa, I couldn’t do much about the Cajun seasoning (even though I didn’t use a lot), and it was too much for Dudette. But, at least she tried. Hubby and I both loved the jambalaya and went back for seconds as soon as our bowls were empty.
From the easy prep and quick cooking time, it’s obvious that this dish came out of a home kitchen, the type of recipe that is tried and true. I like those.
What I’d Do Different Next Time
I’d use chicken thighs instead of breasts. I found the breast meat to be a little dry.
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 boneless skinless chicken breast halves, about 1 lbs total, cut into 1” cubes
- 1 ½ teaspoons Creole or Cajun seasoning
- ½ lbs smoked sausage or kielbasa, like andouille, sliced ¼” thick
- 1 ½ cups chopped yellow onion
- 1 cup chopped green pepper
- 3 cups water
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 2 tablespoons chopped green onions, greens only
- 1 ½ cups long grain rice
- Heat the oil in a large heavy pot, such as a Dutch oven. Season the chicken with Cajun seasoning. Add the chicken to the pot and cook, stirring, over medium heat until evenly brown, about 5 minutes. Add the sausage and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the onions and peppers and cook, stirring, until softened and golden, about 5 to 6 minutes. Add the water, tomato paste, parsley, and green onions. Stir and bring to a boil.
- Add the rice, cover the pot, and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook until the rice is tender and has absorbed most of the liquid, 15 to 20 minutes. Do not stir! Fluff the mixture with fork before serving.
Have a look at what others in the club have cooked from Cooking Up A Storm this month.
This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of P.F. Chang’s. All opinions are 100% mine.
Do you remember what you were doing on New Year’s Eve? It seems like a long time ago, doesn’t it.
I know what I was doing. It involved comfy clothes, a Sorry board game and Hubby, Dudette and I at home. Asking one of our high school friends to sit for our young lady on such a big night while we went out would have filled me with lots of guilt, so we opted to ring in the new year with a lot of family time.
We made a promise to ourselves though. We said that we’d make up for that last night of 2013 by going out to dinner on Valentine’s Day. It is, after all, a special day for Hubby and me because it’s the anniversary of the day he asked me to marry him.
Apparently mother nature had other plans. It snowed, and snowed and snowed. Instead of dressing up and heading out, once again we found ourselves at home, in comfy clothes, playing board games and drinking hot cocoa.
You see, this year, P.F. Chang’s is celebrating Chinese New Year with a variety of unique dishes featuring traditional ingredients symbolizing good luck and prosperity.
I mean, look at these dishes. This is the kind of menu that makes a gal throw away any willpower and just order the whole kit and kaboodle.
Before we sit down, we’ll chat with the bartender while enjoying one of P.F. Chang’s new beverages. While I think Hubby will go for the Crimson Spritzer, I’ll sip on the Red Goose Martini. The combination of Grey Goose Vodka shaken with pomegranate juice, Thai basil leaves, fresh ginger and lime juice sounds amazing.
Once we’re seated, I’ll have to start with a salad, but will it be the Orange Ginger Beet Salad or the Shanghai Waldorf Salad? I’m thinking the Shanghai Waldorf because it comes with miso-lime vinaigrette and anything with miso makes me swoon.
Hard enough as those two choices for a salad are, it gets even worse when it’s time to order dinner from the Winter Seasonal Menu. Chili Shrimp Bao, Firecracker Chicken, Red Wine and Pepper Braised Beef and Miso Glazed Salmon all call my name, but you know me and my love for beef. And not just beef; flank steak that’s been wok-tossed with a red wine and black pepper sauce, sliced potatoes, broccolini, Napa cabbage, grape tomatoes and Fresno peppers. Swoon.
Then there’s dessert. There has to be dessert. P.F. Chang’s Winter Seasonal Menu offers two amazing choices, Chocolate Raspberry and Sweet Vanilla Cream Wontons.
You can already see the direction in which I’m heading, can’t you. You know that I’m orderinge Sweet Vanilla Cream Wontons. You also know that I won’t be sharing a single one. Don’t judge. You’d do the same thing.
So there we’d sit, Hubby and me, celebrating our New Year’s Eve/Valentine’s Day, drinks in hand (yes, there will be another round after dessert), making a toast for health and happiness in 2014.
Would you like to join us? You’re more than welcome to, you know. In fact, P.F. Chang’s wants to make it easy for you to do so. They’re offering a coupon for $10 off a $40 meal if you have a look at their Winter Seasonal Menu. We’re going to take advantage of their generosity when we go.
One thing though; since winter ends in 29 days, I’m thinking going sooner than later is a good idea. Don’t you? I definitely don’t want to take a chance of missing the wontons, or steak.
So tell me, if we happened to see each other at P.F. Chang’s sometime in the near future, what would you be ordering? Which of these new dishes on the winter menu draw you the most?
This fragrant, savory Basil and Parsley Tortellini Soup from The Lion and the Rose transports the diner to Italy in a heartbeat. It’s delicious.
I would hate to have to come up with a meal for the most influential man in the world. That may be one of the reasons that I have adored Kate Quinn’s historical fiction books about the life of Pope Alexander VI, one of the most powerful men. Ever.
If you’ll recall, I’ve shared about Kate’s work before. Several months ago, I made Elderflower Frittelle and Vanilla Sugared Biscotti, both from The Serpent and the Pearl. The book followed many characters, but my favorite is Carmelina, cook to Guilia Farnese, the Pope’s paramour. Not only does Carmelina manage to keep the kitchen running smoothly, but her creations for the Venus of the Vatican rival the foods of the Pope’s kitchens themselves.
In the early part of the second book, The Lion and the Rose, Carmelina is charged with creating ‘peasant food’ for a visiting Duke and his friends. As she wisely surmises, the rich menu she comes up with is ‘how lordlings think peasants eat’ and now what would actually be on their table.
Included is a stew of venison, using a stag that was brought in by the very same Duke that Carmelina is planning to feed.
This recipe is taken from Bartolomeo Scappi’s cookbook, Opera dell’arte del cucinare. I followed the directions exactly and was pleased with how easily the stew came together.
Since venison can be gamey and somewhat tough, it’s best to marinate the meat for as long as possible. The recipe suggests three days.
Absolutely delicious. The venison was fork-tender and delicious. The flavor was fantastic and not at all gamey. I have not always had the best of luck with preparing venison so I am thrilled to find this recipe. Hubby felt the same way. He loved this.
The recipe suggested serving the stew over polenta, but since we don’t like it (sorry to all my Italian friends), I made Parmesan mashed potatoes instead.
- 1 small Italian parsley
- 2 bay leaves
- 4 cloves
- 1 thyme sprig
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 4 juniper berries
- 4 pounds boneless venison shank or shoulder, cut into 1-inch cubes
- Black pepper
- 2 cups dry red wine
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 onion, minced
- 1 carrot, minced
- 1 celery stalk, minced
- ½ extra virgin olive oil
- ¾ cup grappa or brandy
- ¼ cup flour
- 4 plum tomatoes, seeded, peeled, and diced
- 2 cups beef broth
- ½ cup heavy cream
- ¼ cup Parmesan
- Rosemary sprigs for garnish
- Tie first six ingredients in a cheesecloth bag. Place in a large bowl, and add the venison, garlic, onion, carrot, celery, salt, pepper, and wine. Cover and refrigerate for three days, tossing every eight hours.
- Remove venison from marinade and blot dry; reserve marinade and cheesecloth bundle. Heat olive oil in saute pan over medium high, and cook the venison and any clinging vegetables until browned all over, about 10 minutes total.
- Deglaze pan with ½ cup of grappa. When the grappa evaporates (about 3 minutes), stir in the flour and cook for 5 minutes, stirring. Add the reserved liquid from the marinade, the cheesecloth bundle, tomatoes, and broth. Bring to a boil, cover, and cook over medium-low for two hours, or until tender, adding broth if needed. Pour in the cream and the remaining quarter cup of grappa; cook 5 minutes, uncovered. Discard cheesecloth bundle.
- Meanwhile, make polenta. When polenta is ready, stir in butter and Parmesan. Serve venison hot, mounded over polenta and garnished with rosemary.
Be sure to check out the rest of the dishes that are a part of Kate’s virtual potluck party for The Lion and the Rose’s book release.
Inn At The Crossroad: Roman-Style Tenderloin
Island Vittles: Potato Chips and Candied Walnuts
Little White Apron: Salad of Blood Orange, Fennel, and Olives and Beef en Brochette
Lost Past Remembered: Fish Pie Flavored with Oranges, Nutmeg and Dates
Taking On Magazines: Venison Stew with Brandy Cream Sauce and Tortellini with Basil and Parsley Filling
Between The Sheets: Endives Stuffed with Cheese and Drizzled in Olive Oil and Pastries Layered with Honey and Blood Oranges
Kate Quinn: Tourte of Walnuts and Pecorino Cheese