The Denver Broncos make their yearly visit to the Black Hole, aka Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, to do battle with the Raiders this week. Most of us will spend the day safe at home, but we can still do some Tailgating from our backyard patios. Better yet, it's getting cooler outside, maybe an indoor party might be better. After all, Autumn is in the air. It's great football weather. It's also a great time to make a batch of Red or Green Chile, a stew, or even a Jambalaya, which is what's on the menu this week.
I had just written this down for a friend recently and knew I would end up sharing it with you all. Now Jambalaya is a Cajun dish and it would likely make a better theme for a matchup with the New Orleans Saints. But the Broncos won't be playing them this season and this is a party food. The Broncos are going to win this week right? They are going to begin a winning streak right? In that case, we will want to celebrate like it's Mardi Gras. a victory over the division rival Oakland Raiders demands it!
Now just because this is an indoor suggestion, don't take it to mean you can't have this at your own Tailgate party. I know plenty of people down in Louisiana that do most of their cooking outdoors. So don't let that deter you, fire up the grill and let's get cooking.
Chicken & Sausage Jambalaya
2 Boneless, skinless Chicken Breasts, chopped into 3/4" cubes
2 Cups Smoked Sausage (Andouille is good, but about 1/2 of a Hillshire Farms link will work). Slit the Sausage in half length-wise and then chop into bite-size pieces.
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery (I peel mine before chopping)
1 cup chopped Green Bell Pepper
1 cup peeled, chopped tomatoes
1/2 cup tomato sauce
3 cups chicken stock
1 1/2 cups uncooked rice
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Bay leaves
2 teaspoons Creole seasoning, (Cajun seasoning such as Cajun Magic will work too)
1/2 teaspoon Thyme
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
Hot sauce (Tabasco) to taste
1/2 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper (optional)
1 Tablespoon Black Pepper
1/4 teaspoon Salt
2-3 green onions (scallions), chopped (for garnish)
vegetable oil (for browning meat)
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 stick butter
For the Roux:
Using a skillet, melt the Butter over low heat and incorporate the flour a little at a time, to avoid lumps. Keep stirring so it doesn't burn. If it gets too thick add butter, too thin, add flour. When it turns a golden brown, remove from heat and transfer to a bowl to let it cool. This will be used later to thicken the Jambalaya.
Next, on medium heat and using a Dutch oven or Stew Pot (Cast Iron is ideal for this, but not necessary), brown the meat in enough vegetable oil to coat the bottom of the pot. Make sure you scrape the bits off the bottom and sides. Next add the onion, celery, bell pepper and garlic to saute. You may season with a little salt and pepper here if you like. Add the tomato sauce, Bay leave, Creole seasoning, Thyme, Cayenne, Tabasco and Black Pepper. Taste and add salt if needed.
Next, add the chicken stock and the rice and bring to a boil. Add the Roux that was held in reserve and stir. Put a lid on the Dutch Oven and reduce heat to a simmer for 3-4 minutes, then turn the heat off. Leave the lid on for this entire process, the rice will finish cooking in a few more minutes and everything will be nice and fluffy.
Remove the lid and add the scallions. Don't forget to remove the Bay Leaves. Serve it up in a bowl.
Note: You can use Shrimp in place of one of the meats. Just exchange the amounts equally. Also, the shrimp would be added at the end, just before you put in the chicken stock and the rice, because shrimp don't need much time to cook.
This should feed about 6 people and make them very happy.
The Broncos don't play until the afternoon, so you will have just enough time to fix this dish. In fact grab some help and cut the prep time in half.
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