Monday happened to land Chris and I in Livonia for an appointment. This was a good turn of events as I had to exchange a mis-sewn chair cover purchased at IKEA back in October. This also became an opportunity to visit Whole Foods. We used the GPS to find the closest one (to IKEA) which turned out to be the more southern Ann Arbor location, between A2 and Ypsilanti. I have, somehow, never been inside this particular Whole Foods- maybe its a relocation?- although I have been to the Panera right next store. Anyhow, its huge and now I’m going to be sad next time I go to a smaller location. I’m not a fan of the one in West Bloomfield/Farmington- I feel like I’m missing a whole section every time. The deli area is either a really good thing or a really bad thing- depends on how much money I am looking to spend and how hungry I am. A-hem.
Because the appointment went over the lunch hour we decided to eat before shopping. After walking through the entire store, we realized that if you just turn right immediately upon entering, you can go along the wall and come in to the deli area. In this area, you can buy whatever you like and go eat it in a small cafe area. I made a salad and Chris opted for the hot buffet.
Duly nourished, we started shopping. Our mission was to get things we couldn’t get in Lansing and focus on healthy stuff. We still came home with a block of cheese and 2 bottles of wine (reminds me, we might need to start drinking this stuff soon- our rack is full again). We also picked up some Key West Pinks, the only shrimp Chris will eat, a number of bags from the produce section and 2 packages of gourmet sausages: pork andouille and a chicken chorizo from Sausages by Amylu.
Right away, with a planned focus on eating more rice in my future, I knew I’d take the andouille sausage to make some jambalaya. Not that I have the slightest idea what goes in to an authentic jambalaya except rice.
Internet to the rescue! Except, there are thousands of recipes for jambalaya using various proteins, mostly. Ideally, I would have made a shrimp and sausage combo but someone was supposed to work on deveining the shrimp earlier and did not. I ended up scanning about 10 recipes and then just winged it.
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 cup long grain rice
1 can diced tomatoes (any flavor will do, I happened to only have “with basil, garlic and oregano”)
1 1/2 cups water/vegetable/chicken broth
8-10 oz andouille sausage, sliced
1/3 cup corn (frozen/defrosted or can)- optional
1 bay leaf
1 /2 Tbsp dried thyme
1/8-1/4 tsp cayenne
1/4 tsp Old Bay seasoning
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
Parsley or Cilantro to garnish
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat in a large pan (like the everyday pan from Calphalon).
Once oil is warmed and shimmering, saute onion and garlic until onions are lightly golden. Add salt, pepper, cayenne and thyme to onions. Cook just enough to release aromatics in herbs.
Add bell pepper and cook for another minute or two.
Add rice and stir to coat, allowing the rice to absorb some of the oil. You can let this cook for 1-2 minutes until you smell the nutty fragrant of toasted rice.
Add tomatoes and water or broth along with bay leaf and bay seasoning. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low and cover. Simmer 20 minutes or until rice has absorbed most of liquid.
Add sausages and corn, allow to cook until sausages are just cooked through. Serve garnished with fresh parsley or cilantro.
1. Corn, as noted in ingredient list, is optional. I only used it because we had some leftover that needed to be used within 24 hours.
2. The sausages I used were pre-cooked so they just needed to be heated up at the end. If raw sausages are used, I’d suggest cooking them in the pan first then using the drippings to cook the onions, etc.
3. Adjust cayenne pepper to your taste and also the heat in the sausages.
4. If I’d added shrimp to this, I would have used more Old Bay Seasoning. Usually when we boil shrimp, we use Bay Seasoning and pickling spice. Chris is in charge of this process so the exact ratios aren’t known to me. But, the Old Bay is required, I’m told.