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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.

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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Gumbo With Shrimp, Chicken, And Andouille Sausage

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 that Gumbo is a thick soup that is served over rice, jambalaya is a rice dish that contains the proteins and the vegetables. I’d say it’s the Cajun version of Paella. Now for my 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. Add the okra in towards the end. I’ll remind you when I get to that point. There are so many components to this dish but, they compliment each other beautifully. Using best ingredients you can find makes a difference in the finished dish. Let’s get started.

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I start with the Andouille sausage. To get a start on their cooking process, In a small saute pan with a lid, I place the Andouille sausage in a small saute pan with a small amount of low sodium chicken broth. On med heat, I bring this up to a boil and turn in back down to a simmer. I cook the sausage like this for about 15 minutes. I then take the lid off, remove any liquid that still left in the pan and on med heat brown the outside of the sausages to give them some nice color. Once finished, I remove them from the pan and let cool for a few minutes before slicing them on the bias.

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Using the same pan, still on med heat, I place a couple of tablespoon of unsalted butter in the pan to start melting. I have two boneless- skinless white meat chicken breasts that I’ve cut up into medium size chunks. Once the butter has melted I saute the chicken off. At this point I like to season my chicken with the Creole seasoning,  I make sure to turn the pieces on all sides until they are nice and caramelized on the outside. This process takes about 10-15 minutes. The chicken will not be cooked all the way through at this point. It will finish cooking in the pot with the rest of the ingredients.

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Last of my proteins are my shrimp. I have about 3/4’s of a pound that I have peeled and de-veined. This takes about 5-10 minutes to do. I do not cook the shrimp at all. They will be the last ingredient I add to the pot.

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During the time that the different proteins are being prepared, I’m also working on the veggies for this dish.

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They call it the Holy trinity. Onions, celery, and green bell pepper. That’s going to be the base for this dish, I dice up all this while I’m working on the meats. This helps to cut down on the amount of prep time too. I also have some minced garlic that’s going to go into this dish. By the time I have all my proteins ready, I have all my veggies diced and minced as well.

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I start with a big Dutch oven pot that I preheated on med heat. I add the onions in first. I season with Kosher salt and black pepper. After the onions have started to soften, I add in the diced celery, green bell pepper, and minced garlic. Still on med heat, I cook all the vegetables util they’ve soften slightly. At this point, I add in my spices. Ground thyme, Creole seasoning and some tomato paste. I stir that through and cook for 5 minutes. I set the pot on the back burner, on warm, while I prepare the roux for this dish. I like to make my roux separate and then add it in to the softened veggies.

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So for me, the roux is a very important player in making 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, I’m going to go past the blonde stage that roux is usually done. I like to do this separately and then add the darkened roux to the softened veggies. On med high heat, in a non- stick saute pan, this process can take anywhere between 10-15 minutes. I start out with 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil along with unsalted butter. The oil will prevent the butter from burning and the butter will add lots of flavor. Once the butter has completely melted into the oil, I add in the all-purpose flour. Using a silicone whisk, whisking continuously until the flour has absorbed the butter. At this point the flour mixture will start bubbling. Keep whisking constantly for 5 minutes then turn the heat down to med. Keep whisking. In a few more minutes the flour will start to darken. When you see the caramel color developing switch to a spatula and scrape down all the sides and bottom of the pan. After a little more stirring you will see the flour getting browner. Maintain the med heat setting until you get the color of milk chocolate. Now I’m ready to combine the roux with the sauteed vegetables.

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I move my Dutch oven pot to the front burner that’s on med heat where I had just removed the roux from. I add in the roux, using a spatula to get every bit and stir the veggies through. Now, when the veggies are coated with the roux mixture, I add in the Andouille sausage, chicken, and two bay leaves. I then stir that through. Next, I stir in a can of fire roasted tomatoes with their juices.

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Next for some liquid. I’m using an unsalted chicken stock for this recipe. The stock is deeper in color and flavor. Still on med heat, I’m going to bring all this up to a boil, then reduce it to med low heat and simmer. Continue occasionally stirring the gumbo uncovered, for about 30-35 minutes. During the last five minutes of cooking, I, toss in my peeled and de-veined shrimp and thawed frozen okra (optional). When ready, you’ll see that the sauce has reduced and thickened. I like serving my gumbo over Basmati rice and garnish with a sprinkling of fresh chopped Italian parsley.

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Yields: 6-8 servings
Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Prep Time: 30-40 minutes ( includes pre – cooking sausage, chicken, preparing shrimp, and dicing all veggies)
Prep Time for Roux: 15 minutes
Equipment: 6 quart Dutch oven, or some type of heavy bottom pot
Ingredients:
3 tablespoons of vegetable oil (one for sauteing veggies)
3/4 stick of unsalted butter
heaping 3/4 cup of all-purpose flour
1/2 cup of finely chopped fresh Italian parsley
1/2 cup of diced celery
1/2 cup of diced green bell pepper
1/2 cup of diced sweet onion
1 tablespoon of tomato paste
4 cloves of minced garlic
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of black pepper
1-1/2 tablespoons of Creole seasoning ( 1 tablespoon to raw chicken, 1/2 tablespoon to sauteed veggies)
1-15 ounce can of fire roasted tomatoes ( regular diced is fine)
1 teaspoon of ground thyme
2 bay leaves
2-1/2 pounds total of any combo of sausage, chicken, and shrimp
10 ounce package thawed frozen okra (optional)
4 cups of unsalted chicken stock

Directions:
Start with prepping, seasoning, and cooking all the proteins with the exception of the shrimp. While they are cooking, saute and season the veggies. Set the proteins and sauteed veggies aside while you start on the roux. Once the roux is made, remove it from the heat. Place the Dutch oven, with the sauteed seasoned veggies back on the burner where you removed the prepared roux from. The pot on med heat, and using a spatula, scrape the roux into the pot with the veggies. Add the pre- cooked sausage, chicken, fire roasted tomatoes, and bay leaves. Stir all this through the roux mixture so all is coated well. Lastly, add in the chicken stock. Bring all this up to a boil, reduce the heat to simmer ( med- low) and simmer for 30-35 minutes. During the last five minutes of cooking, toss in the raw shrimp and thawed frozen okra (optional).. Stir the shrimp through and the gumbo is finished. It will be dark in color and delicious in flavor. I ladle the gumbo over a scoop of Basmati rice, garnish with fresh parsley and serve.

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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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Unsalted Chicken Stock

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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, shells, and tails removed,  cleaned and deveined
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 fresh ground black pepper
1/2 bottle of dry white wine (Pinot Grigio)
1 cup of unsalted chicken stock
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, 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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