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Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Shrimp and Sausage Jambalaya

Back in September, Mario and I decided to start a new tradition. We established a regular Friday restaurant night for our family. We didn't want this to be a fast food night, we believe the kids are getting old enough, and can be well behaved enough to eat in some nicer places. We also think that it's a good idea to expose them to some different cuisines.

So far we've taken them out for Indian, Lebanese, Cantonese and most recently we took them out to a Cajun restaurant. They loved all of it. Interestingly, they seem much more willing to sample new things when they are in a restaurant, than when they are at home. They loved the Indian food the most. Imagine that! I don't think I even tried Indian food until I was in my 30's.

As usual, I am making a really short story very long. What I am leading up to is the fact that I often get inspired by these dinners out, and when I saw my kids devour the healthy looking Jambalaya at the Cajun restaurant, I decided this dish would make a great addition to my at home repetoire.

So I set about finding a good recipe. I ended up using bits and pieces of several recipes that I found on-line. This recipe had quite a bit of kick, so if you don't like the heat (or if your kids won't eat spicy food) then ease back on the cayenne and paprika.

Shrimp and Sausage Jambalaya
(makes about 6 cups of Jambalaya)

1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/4 tsp hot paprika
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp basil
1/4 tsp oregano
1 tbsp butter or oil
1 cup diced Andouille sausage
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 cup diced pepper
1/2 cup diced celery
1/2 cup diced tomato
3/4 cup long grain white rice
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1 1/4 cup chicken stock
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
3-4 cloves garlic
1 1/2 cups shrimp (about 1/2 pound)
3 tbsp green onion

1. Mix the spices and seasonings together (first 7 ingredients).

2. Preheat the oven to 350F.

3. In a large oven proof dutch oven or skillet, saute onion, celery, green pepper and garlic in butter for a few minutes until softened.

4. Add sausage and cook another minute or so. (Note: I wasn't able to find Andouille in my local grocery store, so I used a lean Kolbassa instead, it worked fine, but Andouille would be the more "cajun" choice... or at least less "polish").

5. Add the tomatoes, tomato sauce, rice, stock, spices, and worcestershire. Bring to a boil and then set the pot in the oven uncovered for 25 minutes (most of the liquid will be absorbed).

6. Add the shrimp and the green onion and return to the oven for 10 more minutes, or until the shrimp is cooked through.

(Note: I weighed everthing with my digital food scale as I added it and calculated the nutrional information to be roughly 215 calories per 1/6th of the recipe. The recipe makes about 6 cups.)