Friday, November 18, 2011
Chicken and sausage jambalaya
I love where I work. Sharing hallways with some of the world's best and brightest, it's hard to not feel inspired, especially when you stumble upon stuff like this.
Hell of a lot cooler than a Jeter or Kardashian sighting, if you ask me.
There's world-changing work happening in every corner, but it's not all blood, sweat and tears; you need a sense of humor to go into science. For every positive result, there are a thousand that you absolutely work your ass off for but ultimately don't pan out. Just this week we figured something out and got some great data, the first in a long time. My boss and I just kind of stared at it... then at each other... until I finally said what we were both thinking: "Huh... I'm not really sure what to do with good news." That Science paper may look simple and elegant, but it took 10 sleepless years to design, generate reliable data, write, and get accepted by the journal, not to mention the shitload of heartache someone endured from every little failure along the way. In the face of constant rejection and frustration ("I've done this protocol a thousand times and it's always worked, and the science is correct and I'm using the same lots of buffer and yes I adjusted the pH everything and my PI double checked my calculations so WHY ISN'T IT WORKING? IT MAKES NO SENSE!), a sense of humor is critical to survival. And that's why you also come across stuff like this.
It's a wonderful community, and I'm proud to be a teensy little star-struck part of it (until I transition to full-time farmerhood). Anyway, on to the food: the ole saying goes, when life hands you lemons, you make lemonade. When the world's foremost pediatric hematologist hands you the last peppers of the season from his garden, you make jambalaya.
This recipe is from a recent Bon Appetit, and it is awesome. I hardly changed a thing. I had no idea it was so easy to make jambalaya! Oh, the things you learn when you try. And it's a one-pot wonder, too. I served with diced avocado tossed in a little vinaigrette to round it out.
1 lb boneless skinless chicken parts (breasts or thighs, whatever you like), diced into bite-sized chunks
~ 1/2 lb Cajun sausage (Savoie's is the best!), sliced thinly on the bias
1 small onion, finely diced
2 ribs celery, finely diced
2 small bell peppers, finely diced (basically, you want equal parts onion, celery, and pepper, so adjust accordingly)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tbsp fresh thyme, stripped from the stems
2 tsp paprika (sweet, but I'd use smoked if it was all I had)
1 tsp chili powder (I used ancho)
cayenne pepper to taste
few shakes of Cajun seasoning of your choice (we're a Tony's house)
1 can Rotel (the printed recipe called this "diced tomatoes and green chilis", so picture me scouring the aisles for something called "diced tomatoes and green chilis" and finally asking someone and OH, why didn't they just SAY Rotel?? Who you trying to impress, Bon Appetit?)
1 cup low-sodium chicken stock
1 cup long-grain white rice
1/2 a bunch of scallions, thinly sliced
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
In a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot with a lid, heat a drizzle of olive oil, just to get the sausage going. Add the sausage and allow to start browning, then add the chicken and brown on all sides. Add the onion, celery, and peppers (also known as the trinity) and allow to thoroughly sweat, about 10 minutes. Mix in the garlic, thyme, paprika, chili powder, cayenne, and Cajun seasoning. Now, I didn't add any salt to this because I let the Tony's bring salt to the party. If you skip the Cajun seasoning or use a salt-free variety, be sure to add kosher salt at this point as well. Let cook for just another minute, then stir in the Rotel and chicken stock and bring to a boil. Add the rice, stir well to combine, cover, and pop in the oven for 40 minutes. Sprinkle with a big handful of scallions (these are non-negotiable, in my opinion - do not forget the scallions) and gorge.
Serves 4, takes under an hour.