Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Jambalaya with Grits

Anyone who knows me well knows that I love grits, especially cheese grits.  So when making jambalaya I took the opportunity to serve it over grits instead of cooking rice into the dish.  The jambalaya is full of flavor from the shrimp, sausage, and chicken combination, and goes well with the creamy and mild grits.  It would also be good over rice or pasta if preferred.  As always, adjust the spiciness to your own taste level.
1 yellow or white onion, finely diced
1 green pepper, finely diced
2 celery stalks, finely diced
1 jalapeno with seeds, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, minced 
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons cajun seasoning (or more to taste)
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3-4 fresh tomatoes, cored, seeded, and diced
1 lb chicken, cut into bite sized pieces (I used boneless skinless thighs, but white meat is fine too)
3/4 lb raw medium shrimp
3/4 lb smoked sausage, or spicy andouille sausage, diced
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
2 cups chicken broth
3 green onions, thinly sliced 
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the grits:
4 cups water
1 cup old fashioned grits
1 teaspoon salt (or more to taste)
1 cup shredded white cheddar cheese
dash of garlic powder
freshly ground black pepper

Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large pot over medium heat.  Add the onion, celery, green pepper, garlic, and jalapeno.  Sprinkle in some kosher salt (1/2 teaspoon or so).  

While this mixture is sauteing, heat a skillet over medium-high.  Add the last tablespoon of oil and let it heat.  Sprinkle one tablespoon of cajun seasoning over the chicken and mix until it is evenly coated.  Place the chicken in the skillet and cook for 5-7 minutes until it is browning on the outside and cooked through.  Remove to a bowl.

Next, cook the shrimp.  Before placing them in the skillet, sprinkle them with cayenne pepper with some salt and pepper and mix until even.  Cook them for 1-2 minutes on each side until they are opaque and remove to the bowl with the cooked chicken.  
While you are cooking the proteins- remember to occasionally stir your veggies which should be reduced to medium-low.  They should be pretty soft by now, so add one tablespoon of cajun seasoning to the mixture, along with the tomatoes.  Next, on to the sausage. Add it to the empty skillet and cook for about 5 minutes until it starts to brown.  Remove it and place in the bowl with chicken and shrimp.  
Add all the cooked proteins to the vegetable mixture with 1 cup chicken broth and the final tablespoon of cajun seasoning.  
Put the butter in the skillet that has all of the sausage drippings, and reduce heat to medium-low.  Let the butter melt, and whisk in the flour.  The roux should start to bubble up as it cooks.  After about 5 minutes, add the remaining cup of chicken broth and whisk until it thickens.  This gravy will thicken the jambalaya mixture.  

Mix it in to the jambalaya and let this cook, covered over medium-low heat for about 5-10 more minutes before serving.  Make sure to taste it as you are cooking so it's seasoned properly!

For the grits- I would recommend starting them around the time the chicken is cooking.  Heat your water with salt to a boil and whisk in the grits.  Cover and turn heat to low.  Let this simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes.  
Add the cheese, garlic powder, and more salt and pepper if needed.  Remove from heat until ready to serve.

Place a couple large spoonfuls of grits into a bowl, and top with jambalaya.  Top with sliced green onions.  Enjoy this spicy, savory, and creamy dinner!

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