When you share your favorite recipe, don’t forget to serve it up with a good story. Nothing enhances the flavor of home cooking than the story behind it. If you’ve ever read the Neiman Marcus cookie recipe (now an urban legend!), you know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t, here’s the link Neiman Marcus $250 cookie recipe.
Today, think about your special recipe. I’ll bet there’s an amazing story behind it. Food is more than nourishment. It’s inspiration, family, and playtime.
Twenty-five years ago a Vermont newspaper featured an article about New Orleans Jambalaya. Absentmindedly, I read the list of ingredients aloud, “Hmmm – shrimp, spicy sausage, chicken, tomatoes, cayenne pepper… That sounds good, doesn’t it?”
My husband put down his coffee. “Yeah, make it for dinner tonight, why dontcha.”
“But it’s meatloaf night,” I protested.
“Well, golly gee whiz! What was I thinking? Of course, nothing compares to your meatloaf, Dear.”
“Okay, Buster. You’re on. But I’m warning you – this is hot stuff.”
Hot stuff, indeed. That evening, the aroma of sautéed garlic, peppers, and onions wafted through the neighborhood. Add the shrimp and the whiff of it spawned many a rumor.
“What’s she done now?”
“She wants a new car.”
“She definitely wants something.”
“She’s pregnant again…”
After that night, I swore I would only make this dish for special occasions. The last time I cooked this up was for my step father’s 80th birthday. It sure put some pep in his step!
Here’s the recipe and a caveat. This stuff draws a crowd, so make a lot. Like sex, there’s never enough.
New Orleans Pasta Jambalaya
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken, cut into 2-inch strips
¼ cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
¾ cups each chopped green and yellow peppers
½ cup chopped onion
½ teaspoon minced garlic
3 ½ cups (28 oz can) crushed tomatoes in puree
¾ cup chicken broth
½ pound fully cooked spicy sausage cut in ¼ inch slices
¾ teaspoon black pepper
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 pound cleaned medium shrimp
8 ounces dry pasta, cooked and drained
2 to 4 drops of hot pepper sauce
In medium bowl, toss chicken in flour. In large skillet, heat olive oil over high heat; sauté chicken for three minutes. Add green and yellow peppers, onion, and garlic; sauté for three to four minutes or until crisp tender. Add tomatoes, broth, sausage, black pepper, salt, and cayenne; stir to combine thoroughly. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for five minutes. Add shrimp and continue to cook for 2 to 4 minutes or until shrimp are pink and loosely curled. Serve over pasta. Makes 8 servings.