I love cajun food -- it is Southern, spicy, and soulful. It is the perfect comfort food and is easy to adjust based on your preferred flavors and 'heat-tolerance.' As an added bonus, the ingredients are rather simple and most folks have the items on hand to be able to make most cajun recipes.
I am also planning a trip to New Orleans this coming March, so I'm trying to get my palate ready for my travel adventure celebrating food (and music!). So first up on my list is the traditional cajun cuisine, Jambalaya. Here is the recipe I use and just so you know, I like it to be saucy (not soupy) to give it that full flavor.
1 green pepper, diced
1 onion, diced
3 stalks of celery, diced
1 jalapeno, diced
1 tbl of butter
1 tbl of vegetable oil
1 cup of frozen okra
1 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes
1 cup of rice
2 1/2 cups of chicken stock
1/2 chicken breast, diced
12.8 oz Andouille sausage
6 oz frozen shrimp
1 tsp of hot sauce
1 tsp of worcestershire sauce
1 tbl of cajun spice
1. Slice and dice all your vegetables -- onion, celery, green peppers, and jalapeno. Leave the seeds and membranes in the mix, as it adds heat and flavor to the dish. Same with celery leaves.
2. Dice the chicken. Sprinkle with salt and a pinch of cajun spice.
3. Heat a stock pot/Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Melt one tablespoon of butter with one tablespoon of vegetable oil. Add chicken to the butter/oil mixture and heat until cooked through (about 10-12 minutes).
4. While the chicken is cooking, slice the sausage and add to the pot. Cook with chicken for about 5 minutes (10 if the sausage is not pre-cooked) to blend flavors.
5. Remove chicken and sausage with a slotted spoon.
6. Add all the vegetables to the pot (onions, peppers, celery, jalapeno, and okra). Saute until tender (about 8-10 minutes). Add one tablespoon of cajun seasoning. Mix and cook for one minute.
7. Add chicken and sausage back to the pot with the vegetables.
8. Add diced tomatoes, worcestershire sauce, and hot sauce. Cook over medium heat for 15 minutes to blend flavors.
9. Add chicken stock and rice to the pot. Simmer over medium heat for 30 minutes until rice is fully cooked. Stir often to keep the rice from sticking to the bottom of the pot! Also, add any additional chicken stock as needed to ensure a lighter consistency/broth to cook the rice all the way through.
10. Once the rice is fully cooked, add the shrimp to the pot. Cook until the shrimp are cooked through, about 10 minutes.
11. Your jambalaya is ready! Add a dash of hot sauce and salt to taste.
Enjoy your ragin' cajun dinner!