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Gumbolaya

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With origins in two classic Creole-Cajun dishes – gumbo and jambalaya – this delightful hybrid is the kind of things New Orleans chefs and home cooks have been doing ever since that first symposium at Commander’s Palace in 1983. The foundational flavors are all traditional, yet the addition of cilantro and jasmine rice makes us think of Thailand. It’s the sort of freedom and fusion American food does best.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound spicy andouille (or smoked) sausage, sliced
8 chicken tenderloins (or 2 skinless/boneless chicken breasts), cut into bite-size pieces
Salt
Pepper
3 celery stalks, finely diced
1 large onion, finely diced
1 large bell pepper, finely diced
2 bay leaves
½ teaspoon Creole seasoning
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon, heaping, tomato paste
½ pound okra, sliced into ¼ – ½” thick slices
1 (16 oz) can Fischer and Wieser's Salsa A La Charra
2 cups chicken stock, hot
½ pound peeled and cleaned, medium size shrimp (raw)
1 tablespoon flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped

Fragrant Garlic Rice:

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 large cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press
2 cups jasmine rice
1 teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon cracked black pepper
3 cups water 

Place a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat, and add the olive oil. Once the oil is hot, add the sliced sausage, and allow it to caramelize and brown for a few minutes; once well browned, remove the sausage from the pot, and set it aside for a moment. Next, add the chicken pieces into the pot along with a sprinkle or two of salt and pepper, and allow them to brown in the oil/sausage drippings for about 2-3 minutes; remove the chicken pieces from the pot, and set aside for a moment.

Add in the diced celery, onion and bell pepper, and caramelize it for about 2-3 minutes in the oil, then add in the bay leaves, the Creole seasoning, the cayenne pepper, ½ teaspoon of salt and ½ teaspoon of black pepper, and stir to combine. Add in the garlic and stir, and once it becomes aromatic, add in the tomato paste, and cook for about 1 minute to cook out the “raw” tomato flavor.

Next, add the sliced okra, the marinara, the hot chicken stock, and the browned sausage and chicken, and stir to combine, and allow the stew to simmer gently on low/medium-low, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Now, add in the shrimp (you can season with a sprinkle of salt/pepper if you wish), and simmer for only 2 minutes more as to not overcook the shrimp. Finish by stirring in the chopped parsley and cilantro, and serve over the Fragrant Garlic Rice, with some additional spice/heat options like hot sauce, red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper, if desired.

To prepare the rice, place a medium pot over medium-high heat, and add in the olive oil; once hot, add in the pressed garlic, and stir to combine. As soon as the garlic becomes fragrant, add the rice, the salt and the pepper and stir, allowing the rice to “toast” in the garlic oil for about 2 minutes. Add in the water, stir, and simmer the rice, covered, for about 20 minutes, or until tender. Turn off the heat, and after 5 minutes, fluff with fork and serve. Serves 6-8.

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