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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

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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.

First is to prep all the vegetables. Next, on to the proteins for the dish.

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

Next, is to marinate the diced chicken breasts.

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Slice the sausage.

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.

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

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Equipment: 6-quart Dutch oven
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Yields: 6 to 8 servings

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

Chicken:
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons Cajun seasoning
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper

Ingredients:
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 diced yellow onion
1 diced red bell pepper
1 diced yellow bell pepper
1 diced Poblano pepper
1 finely chopped Fresno chili
2 garlic cloves, minced
6 green onions, whites sliced,  (slice on the bias, green tops save for garnish)
1 tbsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. Kosher salt
1/2 tsp. fresh cracked black pepper
1 12-ounce package Andouille sausage sliced (5 links)
2 boneless- skinless chicken breast (around 1 pound)
1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 tbsp. tomato paste
2 tsp. Cajun seasoning blend
1 1/4 cups long grain white rice
1 28-ounce can of crushed fire roasted tomatoes
3 cups of unsalted chicken stock

Directions:
1. In a large preheated Dutch oven over medium heat, add the olive oil. Add garlic, Fresno chili, white parts of the green onion, dried oregano, Kosher salt, and fresh ground pepper. Cook for 1 minute.

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

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

4. Add unsalted chicken stock, Cajun seasoning blend, crushed fire roasted tomatoes, and rice. Reduce heat to medium-low heat. Cover with tight-fitting lid and 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 cooked through, around 3 to 5 minutes.

6. Turn heat off and stir in green onion tops for garnish and serve.

Serve hot.

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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. Shoe peg corn are small sweet white corn kernels, and I believe, is an ingredient that’s underutilized. I’m also a believer in adding 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 just a smoked Poblano peppers that’s been dried. A mild pepper with a smokey flavor that’s perfect for chili. Let me start out by showing you how to add these peppers to your chili.

Directions For Reconstituting Chiles:
I start by placing 6 dried ancho chilies to a pot along with 2-1/2 cups of water. On medium heat, I bring the chilies up to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. I let the chilies simmer for about 20 minutes. I turn the heat off allowing the chiles steep in their liquid (chili stock) for another 10 minutes before going into the food processor.  While this process is taking place, use this time to prep all the veggies, measure out the spices for the chili, thawing the shoe peg corn, and finally rinsing and draining the beans for the chili.

After the peppers have been reconstituted, stems removed and seeded, I place them into a food processor along with their liquid ( start with 1/2 a cup, add more cooking liquid if needed) to be processed and then set aside. You want the processed chiles to be a thick puree. Yields, 1/2 cup of ancho chili puree

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The next day I like to do something a little different. You know how chili always better the second day well… I grab a warm corn tortilla and make a taco. A little homemade chili, Pico de gallo, and Queso Fresco. YUMMY!

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Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Equipment: 6 quart Dutch oven pot
Yields: 6 servings

Ingredients:
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 pounds of lean ground sirloin
6 processed ancho chiles, yields, 1/2 cup of ancho puree
3 tablespoons of Mexican chocolate (optional)
1 small jar of processed Piquillo peppers
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 black pepper
3 tablespoons of tomato paste
2 minced and seeded chipotle peppers
1 minced and seeded jalapeno pepper
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 consomme
2 cups of low sodium beef broth
1-15 ounce can of drained and rinsed kidney beans
1-15 ounce can of drained and rinsed black beans
1 package of thawed frozen shoepeg corn

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

Directions:
As shown above, while the dried ancho chilies are being reconstituted on the stove, you want to move on to the prep work for the chili. Start with dicing and mincing of the vegetables.

Diced green onions (reserving the green tops for garnish), a Spanish onion, red and green bell peppers, minced garlic and seeded and minced a jalapeno pepper. Alongside those ingredients, I’ve seeded and chopped a couple of Chipotle peppers packed in Adobo sauce. Another ingredient is, I’ve taken a jar of Piquillo peppers and pureed those in a food processor. I have my black and kidney beans drained and rinsed. My shoepeg white corn has been thawed.

By the time all the veggies have been diced and minced, it’s time to seed, clean, and process the ancho chilies.  After the ancho chilies have been processed, then you want to get all your liquids together for the chili. The low sodium beef broth, beef consomme, and the canned San Marzano whole tomatoes.

Next, is to get together all the spices that will be going into 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 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.

Using a large heavy Dutch oven pot to make chili.  The stove on medium heat, I start with some vegetable oil in the bottom of the pot. To bloom all the spices, I 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 stirred and mixed with the spices, add in the minced Chipotle peppers, stirring that through. Continue cooking the meat for another 10 minutes allowing the meat to brown completely.

Next, add in all the diced veggies along with the minced garlic and jalapeno. To that, some tomato paste. I stir 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. To the pot, add in the beef consomme and beef broth, again, giving everything a big stir to combine. Still, on medium heat, let everything come up to a bubble. Turn the heat down to med-low, stirring occasionally, let simmer for 50 minutes. Once the chili has been simmering for 50 minutes, add the black beans, kidney beans, and shoepeg corn and let simmer for another 10 minutes.

Finally, the usual suspects, some shredded cheddar, diced red onions, cilantro, lime wedges, and of course some guacamole!

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Slow Cooked Southern Style Green Beans

2015-06-11 09.57.02

French style green beans, better known as Haricots Verts, are a very thin variety and the perfect choice for my Slow Cooked Southern Style Green Beans. I’ve made green beans with tomatoes many times and over the years, adding this and leaving out that, but now I’ve tweaked this recipe and it’s perfect. I think it’s my choice of spices and aromatics that puts a unique twist on these Slow Cooked Southern Style Green Beans and gives it complexity and depth of flavor.

I love cumin because of its grassy and earthy flavor so I decided to add this spice to my recipe. It made a HUGE difference!

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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Yields: 6 servings
Equipment: 5-quart saucepot, 2 large mixing bowls, spider

Ingredients:
2 pounds of French-style green beans (*Haricots Verts)
2 tablespoons of grapeseed oil (substitute any neutral oil)
1 sweet onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 15-ounce can of diced fire-roasted tomatoes and their juice
1 1/2 cups of water
1 tablespoon of ground cumin
1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon of dried oregano
1 tablespoon of dried rosemary
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of fresh ground black pepper

Directions:
Start by going through the beans and cutting off the root ends. In a pot of boiling salted water *blanch the beans for 1 to 2 minutes, then immediately transfer to an ice bath. This sets the beautiful green color. Transfer the green beans to a plate lined with a paper towel to drain any excess water. Pat dry with a kitchen towel and place into a large bowl.

In a saucepot over medium heat add grapeseed oil. To that, add ground cumin allowing the spice to melt into the oil. This will give the cumin a chance to *bloom. Once you can smell the aroma from the cumin add the diced onions and the cayenne pepper. Cook and stir for 2 to 3 minutes until onions have softened and become translucent. Next, add the diced bell green peppers, Kosher salt, and fresh ground black pepper, continue stirring and cooking for another 3 to 5 minutes. Next, into the pot, add the dried oregano and rosemary. Rub these spices through your fingers to release its flavor as you drop them into the pot, stir through. Finally, add the minced garlic and continue stirring.

Add the *blanched green beans, can of diced fire-roasted tomatoes along with the juice, and water. Stir all the ingredients together while bringing the green beans up to a boil. Turn down to a simmer cooking uncovered for 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and cover until ready to serve. Enjoy my Slow Cooked Southern Style Green Beans with your next meal.

Serve hot.

*Haricots Verts: Usually known as French beans are a thinner and shorter variety.

*To Blanch: Blanching is a cooking process wherein a food, usually fruit or vegetable, is scalded in boiling water. Removed after a brief, timed interval and finally plunged into iced water (shocking or refreshing) to halt the cooking process.

*Bloom: The process of gently frying spices in oil. It’s a quick way to deepen their flavor. Cook just until the spices smell nice and toasty; any longer and you risk burning them.

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