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Let's Dish With Linda Lou

Sharing My Recipes, My Life, And The Food Tale Of Two Cities

Cajun-Style Jambalaya

2018-02-04 11.12.26

2018-02-04 11.12.32

A great way to be transported from your dining room to the French Quarter is with my Cajun-Style Jambalaya! This one-pot wonder is done in layers. What I mean is, I’m going to season and cook each layer as I go, building layers of flavor.

The first is to prep all the vegetables.

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Next, on to the proteins for this dish.

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I marinate the chicken and shrimp in a mixture of olive oil,  Kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, along with a Cajun seasoning blend.

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Once you season the shrimp transfer them to the refrigerator until they ready to be added to the pot. They’re the last ingredient to be added to this dish.

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Slice the sausage.

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The liquids along with the tomato paste are ready. So we are ready to start!

thyme (1)

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Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Yields: 6 to 8 servings
Equipment: 6-quart Dutch oven, chef’s knife, 2 large mixing bowls, large platter

Marinade For Chicken And Shrimp:
Shrimp:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 yellow onion, seeded and diced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 Poblano pepper, seeded and diced
1 Fresno chili, seeded and minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
6 green onions, white parts sliced, (green tops sliced on the bias save for garnish)
1 tablespoon of dried oregano
2 tablespoons of fresh thyme leaves, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon of Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
1 12-ounce package Andouille sausage sliced (5 links)
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts (approx. 1 pound)
1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 tablespoons of tomato paste
2 teaspoons of cajun seasoning
1 1/4 cups long-grain white rice
1 28-ounce can of crushed fire-roasted tomatoes
3 cups of chicken stock, unsalted

Directions:
1. In a large preheated Dutch oven over medium-high heat, add the olive oil. Stirring frequently, add garlic, Fresno chili, (white parts) green onions, dried oregano, fresh thyme, Kosher salt, and fresh ground pepper. Cook for 1 minute.

2. Add in marinated diced chicken. Cook until golden brown, 5 minutes

3. Add in bell peppers, diced onion, diced Poblano pepper, tomato paste, sliced Andouille sausage, and stir through. Cook until fragrant, 4 minutes.

4. Add chicken stock, Cajun seasoning blend, crushed fire-roasted tomatoes, and rice cover reduce heat to medium-low. Cook until rice is tender and liquid is almost absorbed around 25 minutes.

5. Add the shrimp to the pot and cook until shrimp are pink and just cooked through around 3 to 5 minutes.

6. Turn heat off and the green onion tops for garnish, stir to combine.

Serve hot. This is my Cajun-Style Jambalaya.

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2 Comments »

Homemade Chili

2016-01-15 13.58.08

There are times when I crave a bowl of my Homemade Chili. Chili that’s smokey, spicy, and with real depth of flavor. In this recipe, I bring out all the stops. To add texture and sweetness, I like adding shoe peg corn. Shoepeg corn is small sweet white corn kernels, and I believe, is an ingredient that’s underutilized. I’m also a believer in adding a moderate amount of black beans to chili.

Everyone who loves chili knows, the longer it simmers the thicker and better it gets. The making of chili takes a lot of love. If you can dedicate 30 minutes of prep time and a little over an hour of cooking time, I promise you will really love this chili.

Ancho chilies are dried smoked Poblano peppers. They’re a mild pepper with a smokey flavor that’s perfect for chili.

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Piquillo Peppers (2)

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The next day I like to do something a little different. You know how chili’s always better the second day well, that’s when I grab a warm corn tortilla and make a taco. A little Homemade Chili, Pico de Gallo, Chunky-Style Guacamole, and Queso Fresco. YUMMY!

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Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Yields: 6 servings
Equipment: 6-quart Dutch oven with a lid, 10-cup food processor, 3-quart saucepan, 2 small mixing bowls

Ingredients:
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 pounds of lean ground sirloin
6 ancho chiles, reconstituted and puréed (yields 1/2 cup of ancho purée)
3 tablespoons of Mexican chocolate (optional)
1 7-ounce jar of Piquillo peppers, puréed
3 tablespoons of chili powder
3 packed tablespoons of light brown sugar
2 tablespoons of ground cumin
2 tablespoons of sweet paprika
2 tablespoons of smokey paprika
2 tablespoons of dried oregano
1 tablespoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons Kosher salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
3 tablespoons of tomato paste
2 chipotle peppers, packed in adobo, seeded and minced
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
2 cloves of minced garlic
2 diced red bell peppers
1 diced green bell pepper
1/4 cup of sliced green onions ( reserving the green tops for garnish)
1 large diced onion
2 28-ounce cans of whole San Marzano tomatoes
1 10-1/2 ounce can of beef consommé
2 cups of beef stock, unsalted
1 15-ounce can of dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 15-ounce can of black beans, drained and rinsed
1 15-ounce package of frozen shoepeg corn, thawed

Toppings:
cilantro
shredded cheddar cheese
lime wedges
guacamole
diced red onion
sliced tops of green onions
tortilla chips

Directions:
Start by reconstituting the dried ancho chilies. Fill a 3-quart saucepan with 2 1/2 cups of water and bring to a boil over high heat. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the peppers to the hot water and allow them to soften/reconstitute for 30 minutes.
As shown above, while the dried ancho chilies are reconstituted on the stove, you want to move on to the prep work for the chili.

In the meantime dice the green onions (reserving the green tops for garnish), a Spanish onion, red and green bell peppers, mince the garlic, and seed and mince a jalapeno pepper. Alongside those ingredients, I’ve seeded and chopped a couple of Chipotle peppers. Another ingredient is, I’ve puréed Piquillo peppers and puréed using a food processor then transfer the Piquillo puré to a bowl. I’ve drained and rinsed the black and kidney beans. Thawed the shoepeg white corn.

Next, remove the stems and seeds before adding them to the food processor. Add 1/2 cup (if needed add a 1 tablespoon at a time until desired consistency) of the cooking liquid to the processor. Pulse until peppers are puréed. After the ancho chilies have been processed, transfer to a bowl and set aside. then you want to get all your liquids together for the chili, beef broth, beef consomme, and the San Marzano whole tomatoes.

Next, is to get together all the spices for the chili. First, and this is totally optional, is the chocolate. I’m using what’s known as Mexican chocolate. It’s used as a spice and gives a real depth of flavor to the chili. Then there are the standard chili spices, chili powder, ground cumin, sweet and smokey paprika, garlic powder, dried oregano, light brown sugar, Kosher salt,  and black pepper. I like to arrange all the spices on a large plate as seen above.

Using a heavy Dutch oven pot over medium heat, start with vegetable oil in the bottom of the pot. To bloom all the spices, add them right in with the vegetable oil. Stirring and mixing all the spices, including the brown sugar. Once the spices release their aroma, add the lean ground sirloin to the pot. Once the meat is combined with the spices, add the Chipotle pepper purée, again, stir to combine. Continue cooking, stirring frequently, the meat for another 10 minutes or until the meat is brown and cooked through.

Next, add all the diced veggies along with the minced garlic and jalapeno. To that, the tomato paste. Continue stirring all of these ingredients together, making sure the meat and veggies are well combined.

Now for the liquids. Start with the canned whole tomatoes. Once they’re in the pot, using a wooden spoon, start breaking them up. Add the beef consommé and beef broth, again, giving everything a big stir to combine. Still, on medium heat, allow everything to come up to a bubble. Reduce the heat to medium-low, stirring occasionally, simmer for 50 minutes. Once the chili has been simmering for 50 minutes, add the black beans, kidney beans, and shoepeg corn, simmer for another 10 minutes.

Finally, the usual suspects, shredded cheddar, diced red onions, cilantro, lime wedges, and of course some Chunky-Style Guacamole! There you have it my Homemade Chili.

Mexican-Style Corn On The Cob

Chunky-Style Guacamole

Pico De Gallo

1 Comment »

Louisiana-Style Gumbo

2015-06-07 18.26.12

This dish is a labor of love. It’s a dish that took me a while to master. They say, Gumbo is a thick soup/stew that’s usually served over rice, jambalaya is a rice dish that contains the proteins and the vegetables. I’d say Gumbo is the Cajun version of a Paella.

For my Louisiana-Style Gumbo recipe, I’m leaving out the okra. I love okra but Steve is not a fan. If you’re adding the okra in and it’s not in season, use the frozen variety. Add the okra in towards the end. I’ll remind you when I get to that point.

There are many components to this dish but they compliment each other beautifully. Using the best ingredients you can find makes a difference in the finished dish. Let’s get started.

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Diced Fire Roasted Tomatoes

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Flat Leaf Italian Parsley

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Prep Time: 30 to 40 minutes ( includes pre-cooking sausage, chicken, cleaning the shrimp, and dicing all veggies)
Cook Time: 1 hour 7 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 47 minutes
Yields: 6 to 8 servings
Equipment: 6-quart Dutch oven, 10-inch sauté pan with a tight-fitting lid, chef’s knife, 3 medium-size bowls, silicone whisk

Ingredients:
1 pound of Andouille sausage (6 links)
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, 2 1/2-inch dice
3/4 pound of medium-size shrimp, peeled and deveined
3 tablespoons of vegetable oil (1 tablespoon for sautéing the *holy trinity)
1 stick (8 tablespoons) of butter, unsalted
3/4 heaping cup of all-purpose flour
2 cups of celery, diced
1/2 cup of green bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup of sweet onion, diced
1 tablespoon of tomato paste
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons of Creole seasoning (1 tablespoon to season the chicken, 1/2 tablespoon to season the sautéed vegetables)
1 (15-ounce) can of fire-roasted tomatoes (substitute diced tomatoes)
1 teaspoon of ground thyme
2 bay leaves
5 1/2 cups of chicken stock, unsalted
1 (15-ounce) package of (cut-style) frozen okra, thawed (optional)
6 to 8 serving of Basmati rice, cooked
1/2 cup of Italian flat-leaf parsley, chopped for garnish
1/4 cup of green onion tops, cut on the bias, for garnish

Directions:
Add the andouille sausage to a sauté pan over medium heat. Add 1 1/2 cups of chicken stock to the pan. Place on a tight-fitting lid and bring the sausage links up to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.

In the meantime dice the *holy trinity, onions, celery, and green bell peppers. Next is to mince the garlic for the dish. Transfer to a large platter and set aside.

Next, remove all the liquid from the pan, place the pan back over the heat allowing the sausage links to brown on all sides, about 10 minutes. Turn the heat off, transfer the links to a cutting board to cool down before slicing them on the bias. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

On a meat-safe board cut the chicken into 2-inch pieces. Season the chicken with 1 tablespoon of Creole seasoning, toss to coat. Using the same pan, over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons of butter. Add the chicken to the hot pan, cook, flipping the pieces of chicken occasionally, allowing them to brown on all sides. This process takes about 15 minutes. Transfer the seared chicken to a bowl. Set aside.

Next, is to peel and devein the shrimp. This takes about 10 minutes. Transfer to a bowl. Set aside. The shrimp will be the last ingredient that gets added to this dish.

The *roux is a very important player for a great gumbo. This is where the labor of love for this dish comes in to play. A dark peanut butter color is what I’m looking for. This means going past the blonde stage (blonde in color) for a standard *roux.

In a non-stick sauté pan over medium-high heat, melt 6 tablespoons of butter with 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil. Using a silicone whisk, slowly add the flour, whisking continuously, until the butter/oil mixture absorbs the raw flour in a paste-like and smooth consistency. At this point, the *roux will start to bubble.

Reduce the heat to medium-low. Continue to whisk for 3 to 5 minutes the *roux will start turning light caramel in color. Switch to a rubber spatula. Scrape down all the sides and bottom of the pan. Again, continue to whisk,  you’re looking for the *roux to turn a dark peanut butter color, this may take anywhere from 7 to 10 minutes.

In a preheated Dutch oven over medium heat add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil. Add the onions first, season with Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper. After the onions start to soften, add the diced celery, green bell pepper, and minced garlic.  Stirring occasionally cook for 5 to 7 minutes. At this point add the ground thyme, Creole seasoning, and tomato paste, stir to combine. Continue cooking for another 5 minutes.

Using a spatula, transfer the *roux to the Dutch oven, stir to coat the vegetables. Add the andouille sausage, chicken, fire-roasted tomatoes with the juice, and 2 bay leaves, stir to combine.

Next for the liquid. Continue over medium heat, add chicken stock, stir to combine. Bring all this up to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer. Occasionally stirring, cook for 30 to 35 minutes. During the last five minutes of cooking, add the shrimp and thawed frozen okra. Cook for another 5 minutes.

At this point, the sauce will have thickened. Remove from the heat, cover to keep hot.

I like serving my Louisiana-Style Gumbo over Basmati. Right before serving, garnish with sliced green onion tops and Italian flat-leaf parsley.

*holy trinity:  The holy trinity of Cajun cooking consists of onions, bell peppers, and celery, the base for much of the cooking in the regional cuisines of Louisiana.

*Roux: a roux is a mixture of fat (especially butter) and flour used in making sauces.

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