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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 With A Garlic Lemon Sauce

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Let me start at the beginning of this story. Growing up in New Jersey we ate a lot of mussels. So at the store I found some beautiful ones along with some great shrimp. I thought a seafood pasta dish would be delicious. Cleaning the mussels is really easy. First check for any beards they may have and pull them off. Fill up your sink with cold water and add 1 tablespoon of flour  stirring it through with your hands. Toss the mussels in, you see they are like little filters and they will drink up the flour then spit it out along with any sand that may be in them.

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Drain them and rinse them well. Any that are not closed tap on the counter if they don’t close get rid of them, they are not alive. Same after they are cooked, if they don’t open, throw them out they are no good.

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Now for the shrimp I just peel and devein them and remove their tails as well.

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This dish cooks quickly so have your pasta ready to go into the boiling salted water on the back burner, and have all your veggies prepped. My secret ingredient for this dish is Pernod. Pernod is an anise flavored liqueur that really enhances seafood dishes.  A little goes a long way, so for this dish I’m only adding 2 tablespoons. The other ingredients for this dish are 6 minced cloves of garlic,  1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes, 1 large diced onion, 3 cups of fresh diced tomatoes, 3 tablespoons of lemon zest, 1/3 cup of fresh lemon juice, 2 tablespoons of fresh chopped tarragon, 1/2 a cup of fresh chopped Italian parsley, 1 tablespoon of  agave nectar (this is to balance out all the acidity in this dish), 1 tablespoon of Kosher salt, 1 teaspoon of black pepper, 1/2 a bottle of dry white wine, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and finally 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter, the really good stuff.

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Ready, so here it goes.  At this point all the ingredients are on stand by and ready for when you need them. We first need a large heavy bottom pot.  On the back burner we have boiling salted water ready for the Fettuccine but we’ll add that in just a minute. First lets melt the butter and olive oil on med to med high heat. To that I add the red pepper flakes and all the minced garlic, and lemon zest and give that a stir. Now toss in the diced onions, and season with the salt and pepper, while still stirring.  Moving forward, add the Pernod and lemon juice, let that mix in and coat the onions and garlic for a minuted. and then add the agave nectar. To this, add all the diced tomatoes.

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Give this all a final stir then add the white wine and let the liquid come up to temperature.  Once that happens throw in the seafood and tarragon, stir one more time and put the lid on. This is the perfect time to drop the fettuccine in the boiling water. Now this is only going to take around 5-7 minutes.

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After the 5-7 minutes is up, take the lid off give it another stir making sure all the mussels have opened and the shrimp is cooked perfectly. Taste your pasta and make sure its al dente.  Using a pair of tongues, transfer the fettuccine to the pot with the seafood, drop in the chopped parsley and toss through. If you feel that you need a little more liquid after the pasta has been added, because pasta will absorb some of the liquid. Don’t worry you still have an entire pot of starchy pasta cooking liquid that you can add as needed to loosen the dish up. I like to garnish with lemon slices to let you know what’s in the dish. This dish is so delicious that you have to serve it with some crusty bread to sop all the juices up, because that’s like the best part.

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