Smoked Turkey and Sausage Jambalaya

It’s almost Mardi Gras!  I’m going to be traveling for work on Tuesday so I decided to have a few friends over tonight for a pre-Mardi Gras dinner.  I know that many people have strong feelings about jambalaya, gumbo and etouffee recipes.  I am not one of those people.  I like to try variations on the theme.  This is an Emeril Lagasse recipe.  It takes about 4 hours start to finish so plan ahead.  Of course most of that time you don’t need to be in the kitchen, but you will need to be in the house.

I did all my chopping first thing this morning so that when I was ready to start cooking everything was ready to go.  It just made it easier.  Of course I made a number of substitutions.  I didn’t have any andouille and given the volume of meat and poultry in my basement freezer I’m trying not to buy any.  I used a combination of turkey kielbasa and chorizo. (Thanks to Rocky Run Farm for the chorizo).  I don’t like green bell peppers so I used red instead.  No scallions because I forgot to buy them.  I used a pint jar of my canned tomatoes from last summer because fresh tomatoes are terrible this time of year.  I freeze my chicken stock in 2 cup portions so I used 6 cups instead of 5.  The hope was that substituting brown rice for regular white rice would absorb the extra liquid.

Danger!  Danger, Will Robinson!  I simmered the brown rice for 45 minutes and it was still raw.  Another 30 minutes and some additional liquid did not help.  It was TERRIBLE!  Quelle horreur!  And beyond that the whole dish, though I actually did measure the spices, was way too salty.  Salt lick salty.  Awful from every angle.  Because my friends are kind, generous, supportive people they volunteered to eat this culinary disaster instead of order a pizza.  I was more interested in making that Papa John’s call.  Thank goodness some friends brought a salad so there was something edible to offer.  And dessert was good – banana pudding made with banana bread instead of ‘Nilla wafers and served with a chocolate sauce.  And the wine was wonderful, thank goodness.

This was a major culinary embarrassment for me.  Strike this immediately off your list of jambalaya recipes to try.  Even if the rice had cooked properly the salt would have made the dish inedible still.  I loathe food waste.  Loathe it.  And yet an entire dutch oven of this dish went straight to the trash.  Unrecoverable.  Sigh.

Good? No, no, no, no, no
Easy? Mostly
Good for company? Decidedly not, if they are friends you wish to keep.
Special shopping? Smoked turkey legs aren’t carried in every store so that may take a little doing.

Smoked Turkey and Sausage Jambalaya

Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 pounds smoked sausage, such as andouille or kielbasa, cut into 1/2-inch slices
3 cups chopped yellow onions
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped green bell peppers
1 bunch scallions, finely chopped, green and white parts separate
8 cloves garlic, minced
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely chopped
3 pounds smoked turkey legs
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 teaspoon dried thyme, crumbled
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce (recommended: Emeril’s Red Hot Sauce)
1 1/2 teaspoons Essence, recipe follows
5 cups chicken stock
1 1/2 cups peeled, seeded, and chopped fresh tomatoes
3 cups long-grain rice
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves

Directions

In a large, heavy Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook, stirring frequently, until browned, 4 to 5 minutes. Using a spoon, remove any excess oil that the sausage has rendered and discard. Add the onions, celery, bell pepper, scallion white parts, garlic, and jalapeno peppers and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender, 4 to 6 minutes. Add the turkey legs, tomato paste, thyme, bay leaf, salt, pepper, crushed red pepper, hot sauce, Essence, chicken stock, and tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and cook until the turkey is falling from the bones and the broth is very flavorful, 2 1/2 to 3 hours.

Remove the pot from the heat and remove the turkey legs. Carefully remove the meat from the bones and tear into bite size pieces. Return the meat to the Dutch oven and discard the turkey leg bones. Return the pot to the stovetop and heat over high heat until the liquid returns to a boil. Stir in the rice and green onion tops and return to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook, undisturbed, until the rice has absorbed the liquid and is tender, about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and let sit for 5 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and gently stir in the parsley. Let stand for 10 to 15 minutes, covered, before serving.

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