Shrimp and chicken jambalaya....best $3 pot of food I've made in a long time!
Actually, this is one of the best meals I've ever had! Well, y'all know I'm part Creole French... so I made this without a recipe, mostly from leftovers, just based on the flavors I know and love. A few days ago, I poached some croakers (small salt water drum.. but most any fish would do) to make fish cakes. Croaker are very boney, so picking the meat off the bones and making croquettes/burgers made sense. A slice of lime in the water made these some of the very best fish cakes I've ever had, btw. Just flake the fish, mix in some onion, bread crumbs, eggs and such, patty and fry. Well, I tossed the bones back in and made fish stock. Today, I had a couple of chicken thighs, some rice, just a few shrimp, some veggies and a glass of white wine left in a bottle. So... seafood jambalaya!
Okay, so no true jambalaya lacks pork... the word, "jambalaya" is literally an African/Spanish/French mashup of pork with rice.... If I had a leftover porkchop or some sausage, that would have nailed it... but anyway..
I put a bit of lard in a pot and browned up my chicken, rendering out the fat. I put the chicken bones in the fish stock. I had 12 nice big shrimp, so I tossed the shrimp shells in the stock, too... along with a bit of chickens of the woods mushrooms I dried last week, and some dried parsley. I let this reduce to about 1 and 1 half cups stock, added the wine and set it off the burner. I also tossed in a bit of smoked jalepeno and dried ramps just because I had them on hand and I really like them.
After removing the chicken from the pot, in the fat, I cooked down 1 finely chopped poblano pepper, 2 ribs celery with leaves, 1 onion and 3 cloves garlic. When the veggies were soft, I took them out with a slotted spoon, leaving all the fat and making sure all the water was cooked out.
To the fat, I added about a cup and a third of rice. Stirring frequently, I let the rice toast in the fat. When it began to stick, I added a fresh diced tomato and a few spoonsful of stock.
I strained the stock and chopped the chicken.
Into the big pot with the rice, I then added all the stock, meat and veg, plus some Creole seasoning. I added the shrimp during the last 10 min of cooking. I left it a little moist, since I'll have to re-heat it a lot to eat a gallon by myself over the week.
Honestly, this is ne of the best things I've ever eaten! All totaled, the ingredients were probably less than $3. If I had the permits, I could sell this, even to my elderly yankee neighbors, for $10 a plate, easy!
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