Since we moved to Iowa a year and a half ago, the holidays have been quiet, but a very welcoming quietness if I do say so myself! We both have crazy work schedules and sometimes it is even hard to sit down and eat together during the week, and even on the weekends for that matter. So, when we get a holiday that we can spend together, just the two of us…. Well, the three of us if you count Tater Dog, we take FULL advantage of the time.
I tend to ‘go to town’ on my days off and cook just about everything I possibly can without totally emptying our freezer and pantry. This statement is even more so true during the holidays. This year, I made two dishes that really make our bellies happy. Ever since I can remember eggs benedict was the only thing I would order off the menu at a restaurant. In fact, I had a little guide as to who have the best eggs benny and who overcooked their egg yolks. Eggs benedict from scratch was my breakfast of choice Christmas morning. Don’t worry, if it s one of your favorites, too, I will be sure to add it to the blog in the near future!
BUT! Behold! Brandon requested a dish that one may not really think of for a traditional Christmas feast… And, well, I find it difficult not to make a dish he requests because he does not do it very often.
It involves three proteins, brown rice, and a spicy tomato sauce for the base. Any guesses?!?! That is right….. it is JAMBALAYA! I find it very difficult not to yell “HOT JAMBALAYA” every time I dish it out and serve it up. Thank you Mrs. Doubtfire!
Many think that it takes all day to cook this meal, but I have a few tricks up my sleeve to enhance the flavors and give your mouth a punch of deliciousness. One being that I make my own shrimp stock to really pull in that seafood flavor. While this step takes a little bit of time, it won’t take you all day; and, the good news is that you already have all of the ingredients that you’d need to make it if you choose to do so. If you would rather not make your own shrimp stock, you can easily substitute it for a carton of chicken or vegetable stock. I am just a first believer in not wasting any part of the protein, so yes, the shrimp tales and shells make for an excellent, flavorful stock.
If you are currently doing a round of Whole30 this recipe is as east as substituting the rice, for cauliflower rice. I would recommend cooking down the mixture a little longer before adding the cauliflower rice so you don’t over cook it! And, of course, leaving off the sour cream as a topping. When making this Whole30 compliant, make sure you read your labels. This is so important. You want to make sure that your can of crushed tomatoes and seasonings are compliant.
I did, however, fry up some okra in coconut oil and coating in coconut flour to add a nice textural element to this dish. It was paleo and perfect!
Let’s get cookin’, shall we?! For a printable version, click here!
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled
1 pound chicken breast, half inch cubes
1 package Andouille sausage, cut into thin rounds
1 large white onion, diced
2 bell peppers, diced
3 stalks of celery
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 jalapenos, seeded and diced1 cup of okra, sliced thin
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1 ½ cups brown rice
3 cups of shrimp or vegetable stock
4 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
28oz crushed tomatoes
3 tablespoons coconut oil
Let’s Get To It!
1. In a large skillet, add 2 tablespoons of oil and heat over a medium-high heat
2. Add the sausage rounds and cook a few minutes on each side to get a little bit of color
3. Next, add the cubed chicken and cook about 5 minutes until all sides are no longer pink
4. Remove from the pan and set aside
5. To the pan, add the last tablespoon of oil and cook the peppers, onions, garlic, and celery until nice and soft, about 5 minutes. By cooking the vegetables in the pan after the protein, it adds extra flavor to them!
6. Return the sausage and chicken to the pan with the vegetables along with the 4 teaspoons of Cajun seasoning and just toss together for 2 minutes
7. Next, add the rice, shrimp stock, can of crushed tomatoes, bay leaf, thyme, and parsley and bring to a boil
8. Stir it really good and then reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for about 25 minutes being sure to stir occasionally so the rice does not burn to the bottom
9. Once the liquid is just about dissolved, add the shrimp and okra, stir to ensure that all of the shrimp is covered, then turn off the heat, cover, and let sit for an additional 5 minutes or until the shrimp is pink and cooked through.
10. Serve it up and top with your desired garnishes!
While this may not be a traditional holiday meal, if you are Italian, this may be the perfect addition to your seven fishes Christmas Eve tradition. You can swap out the sausage and chicken for other seafood options like scallops or mussels! Enjoy and until next time…