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Friday, August 7, 2009

Budget Gourmet: Crab and Chicken Jambalaya

Originally posted in LiveJournal.

Not everything turns out perfectly when you're trying something new. Last night I tried adapting a recipe that a friend had recommended for possible use on the playa. The recipe I started from (an adaptation from a Food and Wine recipe) neglected to state how much garlic to add to the dish (a minor oops) but other than that was straightforward.

After a quick bite to test the rice (after 25 minutes), I called the experiment a failure and voted for grabbing dinner from the Whole Foods downstairs (the leftovers from which I forgot at home this morning). The seasoning of the dish was nice but the rice was undercooked (still hard). Cubes also tasted the dish and agreed the flavor was good. I might try this dish again with a faster cooking rice (the bag said to cook the Brown Jasmine Rice for 50 minutes) as a one pot dish or with cooking the rice separately in my rice cooker.

Overall opinion of this dish for compatibility with the playa: F. Good flavor, but too many ingredients and too long of a cook time.

UPDATE: The dish was salvageable! I transferred the undercooked rice into a 9 x 12 glass casserole, covered with foil and baked in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. The result was a very tasty meal. So yummy that I even took leftovers to work with me for lunch! Cubes sampled shortly after I put the leftovers into the fridge and agreed it was good. Based on the long cook time and ability to save it by baking, I'm going to see if I could make this dish in a crock pot.

Crab and Chicken Jambalaya
NOTE 1: This recipe generates the following trash: 3 cans (1-10 oz can and 2-6 oz cans), 1 juice container than can be flattened, and 3 Ziplock bags.
NOTE 2: The sliced bell pepper initially arrives on the playa frozen (additional cooling material in your ice chest) and is used when defrosted.

Ingredients (Serves 4)
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 1/2 cup sliced bell pepper
  • 1 cup brown jasmine rice (9 oz)
  • 1 tsp Old Bay seasoning
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 Tbsp dried minced onions
  • 1 Tbsp dried shallots
  • 1 can diced tomatoes with green chiles - do not drain
  • 1 can chicken - do not drain
  • 1 can crab - do not drain
  • Can opener
  • Slotted spoon
  • 1.5L pot with lid
  • 1 camp burner
Instructions (Under Construction - not yet perfected)
  1. Heat the EVOO in 1.5L pot.
  2. Add the bell pepper and saute over medium heat until softened.
  3. Add the Old Bay, garlic powder and rice.
  4. Cook until the rice is opaque, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes.
  5. Hold the back of the slotted spoon over the top of the diced tomatoes and pour into the pot. Repeat this process with the chicken and the crab. (This yields approximately 2/3rds to 3/4th of a cup of liquid.)
  6. Add the stock, water, thyme, onion, and shallots and bring to a boil.
  7. Cover and cook over very low heat until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed, roughly 45 minutes.
  8. Just before all the liquid is absorbed add the tomatoes and stir.
  9. When you uncover the rice it may look like all the water is absorbed. Check to be sure by gently moving the rice to see if there is any water left on the bottom of the pan.
  10. When all the liquid is absorbed, add the chicken and crab, fluff with a fork and cover for about 3 minutes to heat the chicken and crab.

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