musings, mutterings, and creative muddle. . .

Friday, February 12, 2010

Gumbalaya - Everything But the Chicken Sink

Are you in for a special treat!  Theres' some Cajun slow-cooker Chef-ing going on in the kitchen today featuring (drum roll please). . . . . Hubster!

Come join us ~

It all started many years ago when we hosted  Louisiana Family-T in our Guest House.  It was our first real introduction to true Cajun, New Orleans style, cooking and we loved it!  We still keep in touch with Family-T (they came to visit us often during our Guest House days and we've gone to visit them) and think of them every time we decide to cook Cajun.  Or reverse that.  Either way - Cajun and Family-T go together.

So Hubster was cruising recipes about a week ago and came across one for Jambalaya that intrigued him. 
With the usual modifying, keeping Family-T in mind, we made it our own kind of Gumbo/Jambalaya cross.  Ready for this?

Hubster's Easy-Cooking Gumbalaya

1 pound cubed chicken breast (we used leftover baked chicken)
1 pound andouille sausage
1 pound shelled and de-veined shrimp
1 28oz can diced tomatoes with juice
1 sm. can tomato paste
1 cup chicken broth
1 large onion, chopped
1 large green bell pepper, chopped
1 cup chopped celery
2 tsp oregano
2 tsp parsley
1 tsp garlic
1/2 tsp thyme
1+ beer(s) of your choice

Get out that slow-cooker - it's going to do all the work. 

This recipe will take 20-30 minutes to get all the ingredients together and chopped and what-not. 

Chop all of the veggies and meats. 

Mix all ingredients, except shrimp in slow cooker. 
Cover and cook 7-8 hours on low, or 3-4 hours on high.  Now it's time to drink that beer. 

Stir in shrimp 30 minutes before you're ready to eat.  TA-DA!  YUM! 

How freaking easy is that?  Wow!  When you stir that shrimp in, make some jasmine rice (2 parts water to 1 part rice.  Bring water to boil, add rice, return to boil.  cover, reduce heat to low and let steam for 20 minutes). 

Serve Easy-Cooking Gumbalaya in pasta bowls over the rice.  Delicious! 

But what about dessert?  No problem.

Do you have a couple of ripe bananas?  1/2 cup butter and brown sugar?  CinnamonBrandy?  Vanilla ice cream?  A lighter?  Then let's make Flaming Bananas!  Another recipe from our Cajun Family-T.  It's actually called Bananas Foster - but we prefer to call it Flaming Bananas.  The dish actually has an interesting history - check it out:  Bananas Foster History.

Cut the bananas however you like - lengthwise, crosswise - just whatever is convenient, and set aside.  Melt the butter in a frying pan (or skillet), stir in the brown sugar and heat through over medium-high heat.  Add the bananas and sprinkle with a bit of cinnamon.  Be sure to get the bananas well coated with the butter-sugar mixture and cook until just soft, but not yet mush - this won't take but a couple minutes.  Splash in some Brandy and turn off heat.  And, are you ready for this -it is SO cool!  And light it!  Yes, you read right - light the contents of the pan, you may want to stand back a little.  The alcohol will flame up, burn off, and leave a bit of a crunchy texture on the bananas.  No, won't hurt your pan.  I promise!  Then serve the warm concoction over vanilla ice cream and enjoy, enjoy, enjoy.  I don't have any readily available photos from my kitchen, but here are some I found on the good ol' internet:  Bananas Foster Photos

The first time we made this, Mr. Cajun didn't tell me he was going to light it.  He was using a brand new pan and we all were watching intently.  Then he reaches in his pocket, pulls out his lighter and aims for the pan - I panicked!  I was sure he was going to either burn my house down or ruin my pan.  I made him wait until I got the fire extinguisher out and ready for use.  You know what?  Nothing bad happened - it was all good.  Very, very good!

We've made Flaming Bananas with other liquor such as rum or even vodka.  You can also skip the flames and alcohol and it's still just as tasty.  We'll use this same concept with just about any fruit we have in the house.  And, no ice cream?  No problem, we'll use yogurt or just eat the fruit in its own glory.

See?  Cajun cooking really is Everything But the Chicken Sink!

Have a Gumbalaya kind of weekend!


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