Saturday, January 6, 2007

Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya

  • 1 package chicken thighs (6 count)
  • 1/2 package Hilshire Farms Polish Kielbasa (or other smoked sausage), sliced
  • 1/2 bell pepper, chopped
  • 5 stalks celery, chopped
  • 3 large white onions, chopped (DO NOT use a food processor)
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped fine
  • 1/4 cup peanut oil
  • 2 cups white rice (regular white rice. NOT Minute rice!!!)
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1 12oz beer (Budweiser works fine)
  • flour to coat chicken
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon Thyme
  • A handful of chopped parsley (hard to put too much)
  • Salt to taste
  • Lots of cayenne pepper

Start off by washing the chicken and placing it skin side down on a plate (you can remove the skin if you want). Now, depending on how spicy you want it, coat the chicken with Cayenne pepper until very red (I use a LOT of Cayenne in mine). Don't worry about getting it too hot, since this is the majority of the pepper you are going to add and it will cook into the rest of the dish. Turn the chicken pieces over and lightly coat the skin side. Let sit for 15 minutes or so to soak it all up.

Heat the oil in the bottom of a large heavy cast iron or aluminum pot (don't use thin aluminum or stainless steel since the rice will tend to stick and burn if you're not really careful). Place the flour in a paper bag (season the flour lightly with salt, cayenne pepper, black pepper, garlic powder, etc). Place a couple of pieces of chicken at a time into the bag and shake to coat.

Fry the chicken in the oil until golden brown. Don't worry about cooking it all the way through just yet. Remove the chicken. Now place the onions, celery, garlic and bellpepper into the pot (along with a bit more oil if necessary) and saute them until the onions are transparent, scraping the bottom of the pot often. Add the rosemary, thyme and parsley and cook for a minute or so.

Place the sausage slices, chicken, and a little water into the pot and mix well with the vegetables. Turn heat low, cover and simmer for about 30 minutes (until the chicken is tender). Stir the mixture frequently, always scraping the bottom to keep things from burning (break the chicken up a bit with the spatula as it cooks. It should break up naturally as the dish cooks, but this just helps things a little).

When the chicken is cooked, add the washed rice and stir it into everything for a couple of minutes. Pour the warm beer and the water in and stir things for another minute or so. Taste it at this point and adjust the salt if necessary. Now, keeping the heat low, cover the pot and cook until the rice is tender (anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour). Stir the mixture every now and then, scraping the bottom of the pot.

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