Thursday, June 18, 2009

Ellie: Jambalaya with Shrimp and Ham

This week's CEiMB recipe, Jambalaya with Shrimp and Ham , was chosen by Anonymous New York. This had to be one of the best all-around dinner experiences we've had in weeks around here. Despite my best intentions to prepare ahead of time, I am usually the person chopping vegetables for that night's dinner at 6 p.m. The kids are crazy, the house is a wreck, and there I am, peeling garlic.

Well, this week my older two have swimming lessons, so I've been sitting in the oppressive Alabama heat for two hours every afternoon, getting eaten by killer mosquitoes while my kids learn to prone float. The lessons are taught in the backyard pool of a woman who's taught swimming in town for years. She is truly a gifted swim teacher, and my kids have learned so much from her, but she does not have a potty available for her 3-10 year old students. Don't get me wrong -- I don't blame her. I wouldn't want 100 wet little people a week trekking through my house either, but the upshot of it all is that I end up spending at least half the time there dealing with potty emergencies. She has a longstanding "don't ask, don't tell" policy with respect to her bushes, which we moms do appreciate, but sometimes bushes just don't cut it. So I end up driving one kid or the other to the nearest real potty and then racing to get back before the other kid's lesson is over. By the time we get home, I'm mildly delirious and completely zapped of any energy that might have otherwise been used to chop a pepper.

Therefore, I actually planned ahead for a change and completely prepared all of the ingredients for this jambalaya on Tuesday night, and then just threw it all together for dinner on Wednesday. Wow, our whole evening ran so much more smoothly! I really need to get into the habit of doing this.

Start out by cooking some bell peppers, onions, and garlic, then adding chicken stock, rice, ham, diced tomatoes (I used fire roasted) and an assortment of spices, and cook covered for 20 minutes. Add some shrimp at the end and cook it for a little bit longer, and serve with hot sauce (I forgot that part).

David and I LOVED this dish. I thought it had just the right amount of spiciness - plenty of kick, but not enough to cause physical pain. If you like pain, you could always add more cayenne. I think this would also be good with smoked sausage (turkey or otherwise) instead of the ham, or with chicken instead of shrimp. This might be my favorite Ellie recipe yet -- it is definitely a keeper!


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more, to taste
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more, to taste
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon tomato paste
6 ounces diced, smoked ham
2 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can no-salt added diced tomatoes
1 cup uncooked long-grain white rice
1 pound peeled and deveined medium shrimp
Hot pepper sauce

Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over a medium heat. Add the onion, peppers and garlic and saute until they begin to soften, about 10 minutes. Mix in the next 11 ingredients, salt through the diced tomatoes. Bring to a boil. Stir in the rice, cover, reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until rice is done and most of the liquid is absorbed. Add the shrimp and cook, covered, for 5 minutes more, or until shrimp is cooked through. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Serve with hot pepper sauce.


TeaLady said...

jambalaya is so decidedly southern. I make mine with smoked sausage rather than ham. Yours looks really good

Leslie said...

Yay! A tasty weeknight meal that doesn't stress you out after swim practice emergencies! It's the little things in life, isn't it?

What's for Supper? said...

We really liked this too! I used a turkey sausage in place of ham.

Debinhawaii said...

Such a good Mom you are!

Good to know this one is so good--I wondered about the spice level. It looks yummy!

Audrey said...

I read something like this in a wmn's magazine once - basically, spend most your evening cooking time prepping tomorrow's dinner; then you're eating earlier and getting a head start, if that makes sense. I've gotten really good at the eating last night's dinner tonight part of it, but I'm convinced that I would be able to make good weeknight dinners if I did that! Speaking of good weeknight dinners, this is going on my list. I might have to use turkey kielbasa (nasty stuff - but it cracks us up) to make this Creole-Ukrainian, but otherwise, I love all the flavors in it.

ps you ARE such a good mom...but mmm...I don't blame the swimming teacher either, but is that even legal? :)

Jessica said...

I made the chicken sausage version that you mentioned and loved it. I'm glad that this was a hit in your house.
The swim lessons sound killer, but they did fill me with such summertime nostalgia. It sounds like you're one of the nice moms of the bunch!

Aggie said...

Oh how I can relate to your dinner prepping...I am always in the weeds at dinner, I really should plan
And the potty/swim lesson story just cracked me up...

Glad you loved it! Seeing it makes me want to try it! I missed it this week...we are going on vacay this weekend so I haven't been in the mood to do major cooking. Looks DELISH!!

Anonymous said...

Hey Darling, this look fabulous! I can understand all the prepping that it takes, and want to apologize for missing so many of you posts recently = )

Anonymous said...

Looks great. This one was a favorite of mine as well.
Unfortunate you were voted "potty Mom". I hold that title as well in our house in regards to our dog. Someone has to do it!

Anonymous said...

Wow, swim practice sounds hairy. I can' understand why the teacher wouldn't want young wet people traipsing around the house, but, really, a bush?! I'm not sure I'd be keen on a urine-scented bush either. Eek. I wonder if most kids just end up peeing in the pool.

Anyway, I can see how all that would drive you crazy. I'm glad you enjoyed your non-stressful dinner :)

Melissa said...

I love it when dishes come together easily and perfectly. I need to think ahead like that more! Looks wonderful!

Natashya said...

It won't be long before they have to deal with your bathroom emergencies...! ;-)
High praise indeed for this recipe, I'll have to give it a try.

Jen said...

I agree, I thought this recipe was fabulous and will definitely be making it again. Plus, the leftovers are great too!

Pam said...

I haven't had jambalaya in years - this recipe looks delicious. Love a meal with a kick.

The Blonde Duck said...

Our swimming teacher would never let us go pee in her house either. I always thought it was rather rude. When you jump in cold water, it just shocks it out of you!

Teanna said...

I just hope those kids don't go potty in the pool! I'm sorry, did I go to far? Haha! The jambalaya looks great!

nick said...

We also really enjoyed this dish, albeit with chicken sausage and zero pork products. Apparently Sara wants all this time she is spending with her lover (a.k.a. "the Gym") not being completely negated by delicious pork fat.

I'd pee in that woman's pool every time for spite, but that's just me :)

finsmom said...

Such a great sounding recipe! I would love it with the hot sauce!

Nancy/n.o.e said...

Love jambalaya!! A recipe that's delicous, healthy, and easy (at least if you don't do any chopping immediately following potty duty in the summer heat) is a winner in my book! Will make this one soon.

sara said...

looks great, this was so tasty, one of my favorite recipes too. Swim lessons sound like loads of fun, can I come?

natalia said...

Ciao !THis dish sounds so delicious ! And I'm impressed by you prep work ! I wish I would do the same !

Pamela said...

I forgot the hot sauce, too! Actually, until you mentioned it I totally forgot it was part of the recipe. I will definitely try it again once I'm back in action. It sounds like everyone really enjoyed this.
And you're a real trooper being potty mommy during those swim lessons. It's gotta be hard on little ones with no potty! I'm sure it makes them have to go that much more. Hang in there!

Di said...

I had to laugh at the image of you rushing to get one child to the potty and get back in time... I feel your pain. No swim lessons here, but at the stage G is at (potty-training but not always reliably so), I'm no stranger to the "drop everything and run for the closest bathroom" way of life. lol I'm still afraid to leave her in underwear overnight.

Anonymous said...

No potty. That must be crazy. I think you just need to dehydrate your kids before the lessons. :P

I love it when I actually prepare and a recipe comes together easily.

Bridgett said...

It has been a while since I last had this but I just love it. I need to give it a go again soon.

Cakelaw said...

Your jambalaya sounds delicious!! The potty emergency thing does not sound like fun at all - a shame there was not a happy medium that could be reached (apart from the bushes).

Kayte said...

I have actually made this dish of hers, someone gave me the recipe, and I have made it several times since as it is very good, very easy, and everyone here loved it. Can't do better than that. Your photo of it is very lovely. You know, swim instructors that don't allow bathroom privileges are just asking for those kids to pee in her pool! Next year you should consider having lessons here...bathroom priviledges, cool places for moms to wait at poolside shaded and umbrella tables, unlimited ice tea and lemonade, and single stick popsicles at the end of the lesson for everyone!

foodcreate said...

Wow! The first time I had jambalaya New Orleans Wow.
what a great recipe!

Thanks for sharing your recipe:)

post your comments, join our foodcreate.

Katherine Aucoin said...

I guess I need to start cooking outside of the box with respect to jambalaya. It looks wonderful and
I'm taking your word for it about how good it is.

I smiled reading about the swimming lessons and potty problems. The up shot here is at least they aren't peeing in the pool!

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