My sister was driving out for a vist from the East Coast. One of our cousin’s dad lives a couple of towns over from my village in far northeastern Illinois, so they decided to share the drive and take two, or mebbe one day to do it from central Virginia.
Thing is, my sister is up with the dawn, and our cousin Larry, a farmer, is as well, so I knew they’d get an early (as in “you have got to be kidding me!”) start, and would more than likely arrive sometime late afternoon, early evening-ish.
What to do for dinner?
Soup! I could start it in the early afternoon, and just keep it simmering on a back burner until my sister dropped our cousin at his dad’s, then let her GPS lead her back to “The Village of Country Living.”
I chose a jambalaya recipe, which just happened to be vegetarian, but… well, see, I had some shrimp and some beer braised, then grilled Portuguese garlic sausage in the fridge that were just sitting there, getting older.
Turned out perfectly.
•2 tbsp cooking oil
•1 cup diced red pepper
•1 cup diced green pepper
1-1/2 cup diced celery
•2 cups diced onion
•3 cloves garlic, smashed
•2 tbsp chopped Fresno pepper (or jalapeño)
•1 tsp paprika
•1 tsp garlic powder
•1/2 tsp Vadouvan French Masala Curry*
•1/2 tsp dried thyme
•1/2 tsp dried oregano
•1/2 tsp dried parsley
•1/2 tsp Aleppo pepper
•1/8 tsp Cayenne
•1(14 oz) can diced fire roasted tomatoes
•2 bay leaves
•1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
•2 tbsp Sherry Peppers Sauce
•5 cups chicken stock
•Sliced cooked sausage
•1/4 cup sherry
•Chopped fresh parsley
(to toss over the jambalaya when you serve)
No Sherry Peppers Sauce? No Problem! Just mebbe add an extra hit of decent sherry and some of your fave hot sauce, to taste.
*You can substitute plain curry powder, or leave it out, if you like.
Add the cooking oil to a large pot over medium high heat.
Once the oil is warmed, add the onion, red and green peppers, and the celery.
Cook for about seven minutes, then stir in the garlic and sliced chiles, tomatoes, seasonings, and the Worcestershire sauce, and cook for another minute or two.
Stir in the rice, then slowly add three cups of the chicken stock.
Reduce the heat to medium and cook for about 30 minutes, until the rice has absorbed most of the liquid.
Note: since I had no set time for dinner, once the rice had soaked up all that liquid, I stirred in one more cup of stock and the sausage, then moved the pot to the simmer burner over low heat for another 45 minutes.
When my sister was close, I added one last cup of chicken stock, the shrimp, and the sherry, then let the jambalaya rest until she arrived, got settled in, and had a rather large glass of wine in front of her.
As it happened, I also had some sliced sweet potato brioche in my freezer, so cut that into long strips, then slowly toasted in olive oil and a dash of Worcestershire until all the sides were nicely toasted and crispity.
The brioche turned out to be perfect to dip into our jambalaya.
Nice dinner. Nice sister. Fun times!