Tuesday, February 21, 2012

A little Big Easy on Fat Tuesday {Jambalaya & King's Bread Recipes}

We are celebrating a quiet version of Mardi Gras here in the Webb house.... no parade, no flashing, no beads but we will enjoy some good old fashioned NOLA cuisine.... Jambalaya with Kings Bread for dessert..... from what I've read, traditionally, people ate king "cakes" between Epiphany and Mardi Gras [= Fat Tuesday... TODAY!], but the custom later became the Friday after Mardi Gras [this Friday coming up]. So, I thought I'd make mine early in case you want to try it later on this week.

But dinner before dessert.... starting with what I've made into "my" Jambalaya.... was originally inspired by our favorite Cajun, Emirel... I make it all the time, it's really an awesome rendition, if I do say so myself.  
  • 1 lb medium shrimp, peeled and deveined 
  • 4 boneless chicken breasts cubed
  • 8 links Aidell's Andouille Sausage sliced and then quartered
  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 medium sized onion chopped
  • 1 medium sized red bell pepper chopped
  • 3 stalks celery chopped
  • 1 TBSP minced garlic
  • 1 48 oz. Pomi chopped tomatoes
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 TBSP Worcestershire sauce
  • 6 cups chicken stock
    • 2 tsp paprika
    • 2 tsp kosher salt
    • 2 tsp garlic powder
    • 1 tsp black pepper
    • 1 tsp onion powder
    • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
    • 1 tsp dried oregano
    • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • Start rice cooking in rice steamer, I use Jasmine for this, but whatever you like works.

  • In a bowl combine shrimp, chicken, sausage and ALL the spices and work in seasoning well. Set aside.  In a large saucepan heat oil over medium high heat with chopped onion, pepper and celery, saute until soft, approximately 3-5 minutes. Add garlic, tomatoes, bay leaves, and Worcestershire. Stir in  broth. Reduce heat to medium and simmer about 15 minutes. Add shrimp, chicken and sausage mixture. Cook until meat is done, about 20 minutes more. 
  • Serve over rice.... FABULOUS!
A couple notes:  To include rice IN the Jambalaya, add your rice when you add the broth [use 1 & 3/4 c. for this recipe as is] and cook for 25 minutes instead of 15.  I've done it both ways but I like it over because the rice absorbs ALL the juice and I like it more like sauce.  If you are wanting leftovers do the rice separate, it'll freeze better.  My recipe serves 8-10 but we like leftovers and it freezes well if you don't add the rice... but feel free to cut in half.  Finally, if you don't like spice leave out the cayenne, if you do.... double it!

On to my Kings Cake :)  I found a zillion recipes with a billion different approaches and decided to work from one I found on the Food Network and tweaked it in what I think ended up to be all the right ways :)
For the Cake:
  • 1/3 C. milk
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 2 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 2 large egg yolks, plus 2 eggs
  • 3 TBS granulated sugar
  • Finely grated zest of 1 orange
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, melted and cooled 
  • For the Filling:
  • 1/4 cup bourbon
  • 1 & 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 & 1/2 cup pecans, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon MADAGASCAR Vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Finely grated zest of 1 orange
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 dry bean or plastic King Cake baby [I found a plastic baby in the Baby Shower section of my party store]
  • For the Glaze:
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
  • Purple, green and gold sanding sugar, for decorating

NOTE:  The original recipe called to use your food processor; I don't have a big one so I used my kitchen aid.  My results were good as described below but you could substitute word "pulse in processor" instead of using a mixer if you prefer.

So, heat the milk in a saucepan until scalding.... steam, no bubbles; transfer to your mixing bowl, add the yeast and mix on medium to combine [I used the regular "beater" attachment at this time]. Add 1/2 cup flour and the 2 egg yolks; mix. Lift the blender out, remove beater and knock off excess. Then pour the remaining 2 cups flour evenly over the yeast mixture; DO NOT MIX. Cover bowl with a towel and set aside for 90 minutes.

Now, using your dough hook attachment.  Add the 2 whole eggs, granulated sugar, orange zest, salt and nutmeg to the bowl; process to make a slightly textured dough, about 1 minute. With the machine running, slowly add the butter to make a smooth, sticky dough. Transfer the dough to a lightly buttered bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap; let rise in a warm place for 2 hours. Turn the dough out onto a clean surface IT WILL BE STICKY & GREASY and knead briefly; form into a ball and return to the bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate  overnight [or 8 hours].

Make the filling:

heat the bourbon in a small saucepan over medium heat, simmer to cook off alcohol for a minute or two. Remove from the heat and add the brown sugar, pecans, vanilla, cinnamon, orange zest, salt and the bean or plastic baby; mix until combined and set aside.
On a floured surface, roll the dough into a 20-by-7-inch rectangle, with the long edge facing you. Spoon the filling in an even layer over the dough, leaving a 1-inch border along the top and bottom... make sure you add the baby or you'll be tucking him in after the fact like me! Fold the bottom and then the top edge over the filling to make a tight roll; pinch to seal. Transfer the roll seam-side down to a parchment or wax paper lined baking sheet; tuck one end into the other to form a ring. Cover loosely with a towel and set aside in a warm place about 2 hours, it should grown a size and a half.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake the bread until firm and golden brown, about 40 minutes. Cool on a rack.

Make the glaze:

Mix 3 tablespoons water with the confectioners' sugar; brush  glaze over the cake. Sprinkle with bands of colored sugar.

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