Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Jambalaya Hungarian Style

Serve over some authentic basmati rice 
Cooking after work sometimes, at best, can be tedious.  For two days I’ve put it off but I had various items thawed out for outdoor grilling that never happened (someone else volunteered, and that never came to be).  Specifically it was beer brats and boneless chicken breast.   Baking/indoor grilling just sounded too boring.  So I decided to quickly (at 9 PM) to throw some items together and make sort of a jambalaya (no shellfish due to my son’s allergies and for some reason I’m repulsed by shrimp that I used to love).  The season for slow cooking (and fast thinking in the kitchen) has begun.    Originally I was planning on using my Dutch oven for this, but then I would have to stay up past 11:30 PM (I had an early meeting the next day, but then I ended up staying up late anyways).

This ‘recipe’ (I don’t really measure anything) is very flexible.  The convenience and ease is just too good to pass up.  I used brats because that’s what I had; you can also use the more expected Andouille sausage.  Although the brats are SO tender, I would do this again.

This is a very important step-stir fry the spices for 30-60 seconds,
don't just throw the spices into a liquid

You can see how well the spices work their way into
the meat and vegetables

Cook on low for 6.5 hours

Ingredient guide:

Cooking Oil to coat pan (about 3 tbsp)
2 onions-sliced and cut in half
4 cloves of garlic peeled and left whole
3 cloves of garlic chopped
28 oz. organic diced tomatoes
Splash of hot sauce
1 tsp. Asian chili paste
½ tsp. cayenne pepper
2 -3 tbsp. authentic Hungarian paprika (not hot)-the quality of the paprika has a major impact on the flavor
2 bay leaves
½ tsp. caraway seeds
½ tsp. thyme
½  tsp. Italian seasoning
1/4 – ½ tsp. red pepper flakes
5 beer brats (Klements in this one)
1 lb of boneless chicken breast, diced (cut across against the grain)
6 -7 yellow potatoes peeled and diced
¾ cup organic chicken stock
1 tsp. salt
Parsley or cilantro to top off the dish at the end right before serving

I never just throw in ingredients before cooking in the crockpot.  Frying the meat before hand seals the juices in.   Vegetables fried before hand also taste better.  Also, spices need to ‘roast’ for about 30 seconds to maximize their flavor.  I don’t throw spices into a dish either.  Instead, at the end, I throw in the spices (especially spices like paprika, cumin, coriander) and stir fry them with the meat/vegetables for about 30 seconds. 

1.     Fry onions for about 5 minutes
2.     Add chopped (about 3-4 cuts per sausage) raw brats along with garlic cloves and stir fry about 3-4 minutes
3.     Add diced chicken and stir fry about 5 minutes
4.     Add diced potatoes
5.     Add spices (except bay leaf) and stir fry for 30-60 seconds (on medium high)
6.     Add organic diced tomatoes, stir
7.     Add chili paste and about 1 tsp. (+) of hot sauce
8.     Add chicken stock
9.     Stir well and put in crock pot and add bay leaves and salt.

(again, I have an insert that can be used on stove top as well)

Cook on low for about 6.5 hours.  If you use a Dutch oven, bake for about 2 hours on 350.

I created this dish ‘on the fly’ so the amounts are estimates.

Cool and refrigerate (if it’s ready in the morning).  I also removed some of the grease (top layer).

If there are is only one takeaway from this recipe-stir fry your spices for about 30 seconds, do not just throw them into the liquid.

The second take away is that I still haven’t managed to turn myself into a morning person, so more creative dishes emerge after 9 PM.

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