Let's Dish With Linda Lou

Where You Taste The Love

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.

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!

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

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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 the vegetables)
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, including leafy tops
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 shrimp)
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 servings of Basmati rice, Success Boil-in-a-Bag, 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. Season with 1/2 tablespoon of Creole seasoning. 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, ground thyme, 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 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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Seafood Fettuccine

 

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Growing up in New Jersey we ate a lot of mussels. At the store, I found some beautiful ones and to go along with the mussels some beautiful shrimp. I thought a seafood pasta dish would be delicious. This is my Seafood Fettuccine.

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Saffron

Flat Leaf Italian Parsley

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Olive Oil

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Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Yields: 4 servings
Equipment: 6-quart Dutch oven, 6-quart saucepot, colander, hand-held lemon juicer

Ingredients:
2 pounds of mussels, beards removed and shells cleaned
2 pounds of jumbo shrimp, shelled, cleaned, deveined, and tails removed
1 tablespoon of all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon of olive oil
2 tablespoons of butter, unsalted
6 cloves of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon of saffron
1 large onion, diced
3 cups of Roma tomatoes, diced
1 tablespoon of Agave nectar
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
1/2 bottle of dry white wine (Pinot Grigio)
1 cup of chicken broth, unsalted
2 tablespoons of Pernod
2 lemons, sliced into rounds
3 tablespoons of lemon zest
1/3 cup of lemon juice, fresh squeezed
2 tablespoons of tarragon leaves, finely chopped
1/2 cup of Italian flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
1 1/2 boxes (1 1/2 pounds) of Fettuccine

Directions:
Cleaning the mussels is really easy. First, check for any *beards, pull them off. Fill up your sink with cold water and add 1 tablespoon of all-purpose flour. Stir the flour through with your hands. Toss in the mussels. The mussels are like little filters and they’ll drink up the flour then spit it out along with any sand.

Drain and rinse them really well. Any mussels that aren’t closed, tap on the counter if they don’t close, on their own, get rid of them, they’re no longer alive. The same rule applies after they’re cooked. If they don’t open, throw them out they’re no good.

Peel and devein the shrimp and removing all the tails.

This dish cooks quickly. First, you want to have a large pot of salted boiling water ready, on the back burner. Second, it’s important to have all the vegetables prepped (according to the ingredient-list above) and set aside.

In a large preheated heavy bottom pot over medium-high heat add the olive oil and butter. Add the red pepper flakes, minced garlic, and lemon zest, stir to combine. Add the diced onions, season with the Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper, stir, cook for 2 to 3 minutes.

Moving forward, add the Pernod, lemon juice, and Agave nectar frequently stirring, add the diced tomatoes,, mix to combine. Add the white wine, unsalted chicken stock, and saffron bring the liquid up to a bubble, 3 to 5 minutes. Next, add the mussels, shrimp, and tarragon, stir one more time and cover. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes. This is the perfect time to drop the fettuccine.

Remove the lid, give another stir making sure all the mussels have opened and the shrimp are perfectly cooked.

Cook the pasta until al dente, 8 to 10 minutes. Using a pair of tongs, transfer the fettuccine to the pot containing the seafood. Add the chopped parsley and toss through.

The pasta will absorb the broth. If you feel you need to add a little more liquid add 1 or 2 ladles of the starchy pasta cooking liquid.

Garnish with lemon slices. I like to serve my Seafood Fettuccine with some crusty bread to soak up as much of the broth as possible.

*Beard: The beard also known as byssus threads. They”re filaments that the mussel uses to secure itself to hard surfaces. they’re usually brownish and may appear somewhat like seaweed.

*Pernod: Pernod is an Anise-flavored liqueur.

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