Southern Alabama Specialties

Recipes and folklore from the Gulf Coast. Like this favorte recipe, Garlic Shrimp Linguine, gets a nod from Creole cookery and blends new and old world flavors in making one fine dinner.

Grilling Year-round on the Gulf Coast

Life is good on the Gulf Coast as you'll find folks grilling and barbecuing all types of fine foods. Burgers, dogs, steaks, wings, ribs, pork, chicken, beef, seafood, gator, heck ... if it lives around here, we eat it!

Cake Making in the South

A real classic ~ Lemon Pound Cake with Citrus Glaze.

Sunday Dinners are Sacred in the South

An establishment in these parts, sitting down at the dinner table for a family meal is a way of life for many of us. It is quality time well spent sharing our blessings. Enjoy our recipes.

Gulf Coast Seafood Recipes

Platters like this are often on tables around Mobile Bay especially when there is a Jubilee. A Jubilee only occurs in Mobile Bay - find mouth-watering recipes under the Fish and Seafood categories.

October 31, 2009

The Best King Ranch Chicken Casserole

Today’s Western Recipe comes from
a site I love to visit, Homesick Texan. I just like to read about the native foods from expat Lisa, now a wistful New Yorker. It is probably the best casserole for King Ranch I have eaten and believe it or not, I would not change one thing. I take no credit for below, it all belongs to her, so, here it is in her words:

King Ranch Chicken is basically an enchilada casserole, but it’s creamier than most. And yes, most recipes for it call for canned cream soup. This certainly makes preparation simpler, but it can taste just as good without. But before discussing my recipe specifics, let’s take a look at the legend of this dish.

Sadly, the history and origin of King Ranch Chicken is a bit murky. While the name invokes that epic south Texas ranch—so gigantic it covers more ground than the state of Rhode Island—the ranch claims no ownership on this recipe. Some surmise that perhaps it was a ranch-hand that developed the dish, but this has not been proven. Then there are those who say someone tacked on the name “King Ranch” because that ranch is emblematic of the state itself in both its size and its myth. Yet one has to ask why the recipe calls for chicken, when both the ranch and the state are known for its beef.

While the casserole could have been named after the ranch, since nobody has come up with a clear connection to it in regards to this dish, I’ve developed my own theory. Are you familiar with Chicken A La King? It’s a creamy mixture of chicken, mushrooms and bell peppers served on toast. Now let’s take a look at what makes up King Ranch Chicken: chicken (of course!), bell peppers, cream of mushroom soup, with the addition of tomatoes and green chiles (such as a can of Ro-Tel), all layered on corn tortillas. Do you see where I’m headed with this? I believe that someone added ingredients found in traditional Texan dishes—such as the spicy tomatoes and corn tortillas—to their traditional Chicken A La King recipe. In naming this new, Southwestern Chicken A La King they added the word “ranch”—because it conjures up a certain Texan feeling—and did away with the “a la.” And voila! King Ranch Chicken.

But in the end, it doesn’t really matter where the name comes from—it’s how it tastes. This is the quintessential home-cooked meal, a perennial favorite that no matter how sophisticated your palate, you’ll never refuse a heaping plate of the gooey, cheesy, tomato-y delight. It sticks to your bones and makes your tummy warm—plus it travels well and is always a big hit at potlucks.

King Ranch Chicken Casserole

1 1/2 pounds of chicken, without skin and bones
4 teaspoons of lime juice
1/4 cup of olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, minced
4 tablespoons of butter
1/2 an onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 poblano pepper, diced
1 -10 oz can of Ro-el tomatoes (or two cups of diced fresh tomatoes with 1/4 cup of diced green chiles, such as a jalapeno)
4 teaspoons ancho chile powder
1 teaspoon of cumin
1 cup of chicken broth
2 tablespoons of flour
1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
1/2 cup of half-and-half
1/3 cup of sour cream
1/2 cup of cilantro, chopped
3 cups of grated pepper jack and cheddar
10 corn tortillas
Salt and pepper to taste

Cook the chicken in the olive oil on medium, adding 2 teaspoons of lime juice, 2 teaspoons of ancho chile powder and salt to taste.

When chicken is done (after about 20 minutes), shred it with two forks and set aside. Should yield about 3 cups.

Melt the butter in a saucepan on medium, and add the onions, red bell pepper and poblano pepper. Cook for 10 minutes.

Add the garlic, flour, cumin, cayenne pepper and 2 teaspoons of ancho chile powder, and cook for 1 minute.

Add the chicken broth and cook on low until mixture is thickened, a few minutes. Stir in the half-and-half and Ro-Tel cover the pot, and simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Uncover the pot, and add the sour cream, 2 teaspoons of lime juice and 1/4 cup of cilantro, and add salt and pepper to taste. Turn off heat.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Heat up the tortillas (you can do this by adding a bit of oil on an iron skillet and then cooking the tortillas for about 30 seconds on each side).

Ladle 1/2 cup of the sauce onto the bottom of an 11 x 7 inch baking pan.

Layer half the tortillas along the bottom of the pan (on top of the sauce). To make sure entire pan is evenly covered, you can rip some of the tortillas into strips to fill any gaps.

Add half the chicken, half the remaining sauce, half the remaining cilantro and 1 1/2 cups of grated cheese.

Repeat the layering, leaving the cheese layer on top.

Cook uncovered for 30 minutes or until brown and bubbling. Serves 6-12, depending on how big a portion you distribute. Goes great with sour cream and cilantro on top.

October 30, 2009

River Bisque

Friday’s Fish

‘Over the rivers and through the streams, to Grandmother’s house we go’ – wait, wrong song and wrong season. But it does remind me of fishing the many streams, rivers and bayous surrounding Mobile and bringing home a string of barely legal size fish. If you find yourself in this quandary or after cleaning and filleting fish, do what I do and place the small finger size fillets and scraps in the freezer. When you get about a quart's worth, pull out this recipe and enjoy some of the best eatin' for cool weather nights.

River Bisque

2 carrots, diced
3 stalks of celery, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
1/2 onion, diced
6 tablespoons butter, divided
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon Worcestershire
4 cups milk
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
Black pepper to taste
About 1 quart of bass or bream fillet pieces
Fresh chives or parsley if desired

In a medium saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of butter and sauté vegetables until tender. Add 2 more tablespoons of butter and mix in the flour, half of the salt and a little black pepper. Heat until bubbly and slowly add the milk stirring well until heated to just under boiling stage. Keep warm.

In a large skillet, add remaining butter and the fish. Sprinkle with remaining salt and a little pepper. Add the Worcestershire and cook until fish is done and flakes easily. Stir the fish into the milk mixture and simmer for 5 minutes before serving. Sprinkle with chives or parsley. Good with simple toasted bread points.

October 29, 2009

10 SEC College Cocktails

Tailgate Thursday
Tailgate Thursday - Week 9
Heading into the fourth quarter of play, with just a few weeks remaining in regular scheduled games, many teams going into this period of late have faced unnerving, nail biting and disappointing endings. Many games end when either team could have won. Last Saturday was no exception and after watching, with stomach in a pandemonium state, I needed a drink. Actually, I already had consumed a few, but I needed another one. And that folks, brings us to today’s agenda. Looking at the results in SEC play, I thought it would be fun to post drink recipes for many of the league’s teams - in no particular order.

Florida Gatorade

1/2 oz. Vodka
1/2 oz. Southern Comfort
1/2 oz. Midori
1/2 oz. Amaretto
1 oz. Sweet & Sour
Build drink over ice in a highball glass. Shake glass-then add 1 oz 7up. Garnish with a lemon and cherry.

The Crimson Tide

1 1/2 oz Parrot Bay Pineapple Rum
1 1/2 oz Malibu Rum
1/2 oz Grenadine
Cranberry Juice
Build in a Collins glass filled with ice. Add rums and grenadine. Fill the rest of the way with Cranberry juice.

South Carolina Kool Aid

1 oz Everclear alcohol
1 oz DeKuyper Razzmatazz liqueur
1 oz triple sec
1 oz Bacardi 151 rum
1 oz gin
1 oz Blue Curacao liqueur
Sprite soda
Mix all add sprite till it reaches your desired taste level.

Auburn Headbanger

1 oz Goldschlager
1 oz Jagermeister
Mix in spread glass over ice. Strain and pour in shot glass. Sit down before shooting. Serve in a Shot Glass

Tennessee Tea Time

1 part Triple Sec
1 part Bourbon
2 parts Cola
1 part Sweet and Sour Mix
Combine all ingredients and poor over ice in a mason jar.

Georgia Cream Pie

1/2 oz Southern Comfort
1/2 oz Coconut Rum
1/2 oz Peach Schnapps
1 1/2 oz Orange Juice
1 dash Grenadine
(Fill to Top) Pineapple
Shake with ice. Pour into a tall glass. Garnish with orange slice and a cherry. Serve in a Collins Glass

Kentucky Wildcat

1/2 oz Southern Comfort
1/2 oz Bourbon
1/2 oz Yukon Jack
2 oz Sweet and Sour Mix
2 oz Coca Cola
Pour ingredients over ice in a highball glass, and stir gently. Garnish with a twist of lemon, and serve. Serve in a Highball Glass

Old Miss Belle

1/2 oz Grand Marnier
1 1/2 oz Dark Rum
2 tsp Dark Creme de Cacao
In a mixing glass half-filled with ice cubes, combine all of the ingredients. Stir well, and strain into a cocktail glass. Serve in a Cocktail Glass

Florida State Punch

1/4 oz Cognac
1 oz Dark Rum
1 oz Grapefruit Juice
1 oz Orange Juice
Pour all ingredients into a cocktail shaker half-filled with ice cubes. Shake well, and strain into a highball glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish with a slice of orange, and serve. Serve in a Highball Glass

LSU Tiger Tail

1 part Peppermint Schnapps
1 part Coffee Liqueur
1 part Grand Marnier
Layer in shot glass. Serve in a Shot Glass, shoot and watch out.

October 28, 2009

Southern Fried Shrimp

Shrimp of the Week

Some of you might think I spend too much time featuring recipes about shrimp, but hey, it’s one of our better seafood commodities down here and besides, I love shrimp. Some of you might also think many of my recipes are too complex, I mean, not in preparation or technique but in the many too often times, a long list of ingredients - like Monday’s Shrimp Creole. Can’t help it, I like to incorporate a lot of good things and merge the varying tastes into one, lip-smacking, drooling experience. Okay, most of the times my recipes are meant to just gain a nod or a thank you and sometimes they turn out well enough for me to say, ‘I like it’. I’m rarely satisfied with my cooking.

That brings me today to this one: A simpler ingredient friendly recipe featuring shrimp that even I like.

Southern Fried Shrimp

2 pounds fresh large shrimp, peeled and deveined
3 egg whites, beaten
1/2 cup skim milk
1 cup cracker meal
1/4 cup plain flour
Salt and pepper

Season the shrimp with salt and pepper. Mix eggs with the milk in one bowl, place the flour in another bowl and the cracker meal in a third. Toss the shrimp one at a time in the flour, then bathe in the egg mixture and press into the cracker meal coating all sides.  Place on a baking pan in a single layer and separate additional layers with wax paper. Refrigerate for an hour or more.
Heat oil in a deep fryer to 325 or 350 degrees F. Toss in a handfull and cook 3 or 4 minutes until golden brown. Do not overcook. Drain and serve hot with a red cocktail sauce or a white tartar sauce.

Fried Shrimp Facts:

Using egg whites rather than the whole eggs will allow the shrimp to cook a lighter color.
Adding paprika will give an added taste plus an orange color.
Unlike fish, pre-breading allows the coating to adhere to the shrimp.
After deveining the shrimp, run your thumb down the body to butterfly it. It will cook faster and uniform.
Don't have a deep fryer? Use your wok or skillet with a couple of inches of good shortening.
Did you know - uncooked whole shrimp will lose half of its weight after removing the head, shell and vein!

October 27, 2009

Roasted Garlic Lime Cornish Hens with Orange Glaze

An appeal came my way for a dish I had not prepared in years and when the request came, I had to ask, “Do you remember it being good” which sent me wondering how I had cooked my last Cornish hens. So, I searched my memory banks for ways to prepare the hens and the best presentation for the palate. It was a short trip.

That’s when I decided to start anew and do it the way my taste buds would lead. With two cookbooks in the works, I am inclined to fit it into one or the other: Bayou/Creole or Western/Mexican. The latter won out much too easily and besides, it seems to be a perfect marriage between these two little birds. I think a little addition of spice stimulates things up a bit and pares nicely with the sweet suggestion of the glaze in seducing these succulent hens. What do you think?

Roasted Garlic Lime Cornish Hens with Orange Glaze
2 servings

4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon grated lime zest
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons melted butter, divided
2 - 1 1/2 pound Cornish game hens, thawed & patted dry
1 cup chicken stock

1/4 cup orange Marmalade
2 tablespoons dry Sherry
Pinch of cinnamon
2 thin orange slices, optional

Preheat the oven to 450°F.

In a small bowl, combine the garlic, cilantro, lime zest, cumin, cayenne pepper, salt and half of the melted butter.

Loosen the skin along the breast section on each hen with your fingers. Spoon about half of the garlic mixture under the skin and distribute evenly. Tie the legs together with twine and place in a small roaster. Brush remaining butter over the hens and sprinkle with additional salt and pepper.

Place in the oven and cook for 10 minutes. Add the broth and baste every 10 minutes for another 30 minutes or until an instant read thermometer registers 170 degrees F.

While the hens are roasting, mix the glaze ingredients together in a small saucepan and simmer until thick. Turn off heat.

Brush the glaze over the hens the last 10 minutes topping each with the orange slice for garnishment.

Transfer the hens to a serving platter and let stand for 10 minutes before plating. Serve with a western style rice or pilaf, if desired.

October 26, 2009

Shrimp a la Creole

Creole Monday

It has taken me a long time to post this recipe mainly since every cookbook ever published includes a recipe for Shrimp Creole. Many restaurants have attempted to serve it, a few worthy of it being on their menu but in many restaurants, if you have eaten this and said, ‘it was just okay’, then you have not had a good dish of Shrimp Creole. This dish when cooked right will make you sing praises to the cook, to the shrimp and of the many New Orleans Creole cooks long past. It is a dish which when prepared correctly incorporates whole lotta goodness into a complex yet satisfying meal. It takes a little time so do not rush it and yes, there are certainly simpler recipes but why would you want anything other than the best. Everything has to meld together for the taste to be so glorious that at the first and last bite, you say, ‘man, so this is what it is suppose to taste like’.

Shrimp a la Creole

3 pounds medium shrimp - peeled, deveined with shells reserved

Add shrimp shells (heads too if you have them) to a stockpot and the following:

1/2 onion, chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
2 strips celery, chopped
1/2 cup dry white wine
4 cups water

Bring to a boil and simmer for an hour. Strain stock into a saucepan and reduce to about 2 cups.

In a large skillet, melt the grease over medium heat and add the next 7 ingredients.

1/3 cup bacon grease (or a mixture of butter and olive oil)
1 medium yellow onion, minced
1 medium red onion, minced
1 green bell pepper, minced
1 red bell pepper, minced
1 anaheim or poblano chile, minced
3 ribs celery, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced

Sauté the vegetables until they are soft and the edges begin to caramelize.

Add the following:

2 bay leaves
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce or to taste
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried basil
The reserved 2 cups shrimp stock
3 cups crushed tomatoes (if using fresh tomatoes, run them through a food mill)
1 -6 ounce tomato paste
1 cup ketchup
1/2 teaspoon Alaga cane syrup or dark corn syrup
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice

Cover and simmer on medium low heat for 1 hour. Check seasonings midway and add salt and pepper to taste.

Add the shrimp, stir well, cover and turn off heat. Let set for 15 to 20 minutes until shrimp are pink throughout.

Serve over a bed of white rice with a sprinkle of fresh parsley and chopped green onions if desired.

October 25, 2009

Autumn & Quails

Sunday Dinner Idea

A newly found friend of mine sent a recipe that brought back memories of my boyhood and of life a long time ago, well, maybe just a while ago, and of life living on our farm. Her recipe was a Spanish dish, huevos al plato, translating to eggs cooked on a plate. But instead of a plate, she prepared quail eggs in tartlets making, as she calls it, huevos a la tartaleta. You can find Miriam’s wonderful recipe at The Winter Guest.

With autumn finally arriving here, I mean the autumn that we know is really just a seasonal dip in temperatures, we move into a less humid period before the cold winds of January and February kick in. The leaves of our autumn, still mostly green, falls to the ground from the oaks in a month or two but if we are lucky, we can spot an occasional hue of red, orange or yellow among the few prized hardwoods and plantings.

Back to the quail story - Often growing up and at this time of year as the rustling of leaves blow downward and the wind twirl around among the thickets, we would go out to the outer most part of the cow pastures, to the edge of hardwoods and into the thick brush for a little hunting. Our dog, Snuffy, would run ahead, picking up beggar’s lice and cockaburrs and occasionally flush out a covey of quail. Armed with shotguns, we fired above the thicket as the birds flew past and occasionally I would hit one. My grandfather was the avid and much better hunter and many afternoons we would head home with enough quail for Sunday’s dinner.

He did the picking and cleaning but it was up to Grandmomma do to the cooking. Granddaddy said you should get them liquored up while cooking them. Or was that us while hunting? He also said be careful when eating wild game – buckshot is not kind to the teeth. Anyway, here are a couple of ways we liked to cook quail while growing up in Greenville AL. Enjoy!

Sherried Quail

4 whole quail, dressed
Freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 cup sherry

Clean and wash the birds. Season all sides with salt and pepper. Melt the butter in frying pan and brown evenly the birds on all sides. Add the sherry, cover tightly and simmer on low heat for 1 hour or until tender.
Good served with brasied garlicky asparagus and beans.

Baked Quail with Wine

6 quail, dressed and split down the backbone
Garlic salt
Black pepper
Soy sauce
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) butter
6 to 8 tablespoons flour
4 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup white wine

Place the quail halves in a shallow dish. Sprinkle with garlic salt, pepper and soy sauce to coat. Marinate in the refrigerator several hours. Remove birds discarding the marinade. In a large skillet, brown the birds in butter on both sides. Place in a large baking dish. Add flour to the skillet with the drippings from the pan. Add more butter if needed and cook until flour is brown stirring continuously. Add the broth and wine and stir to blend. Add more seasonings if needed. Pour gravy over the birds. Cover with foil and bake in a 325 degree F. oven for 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

October 24, 2009

Tacos with Serrano Marinated Chicken

Some like it Hot, Hot, Hot

Sabado Mexicano

Adjust the heat as directed below:

Tacos with Serrano Marinated Chicken

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
Juice of 2 large oranges
2 cups Chablis wine
1 small onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
6 Serrano peppers, seeded & finely diced
1/8 teaspoon crushed oregano
1/4 teaspoon dried sweet basil
Olive oil
8 taco shells, cooked
Lettuce, Tomato, Cheese, Relish and Sour Cream if desired

Combine the orange juice, wine, onion, garlic, peppers, oregano and basil in a large storage bag. Add the chicken and marinate overnight.

Drain the liquid and discard from the marinade saving the pepper mixture. Heat a little olive oil in a large skillet and when good and hot, add the chicken cooking it to brown on both sides. Turn the heat down, spoon the marinated peppers over  the chicken, cover and let cook until chicken is tender, about 5 minutes.

Remove chicken and chop or shred into bite size pieces. Return to the skillet and keep warm.

Assemble the tacos with the chicken pepper mixture, top with lettuce, tomato, cheese, relish if desired and sliced avocados and sour cream.

Note: To reduce the heat, use fewer peppers and do not add them to the cooked chicken. Diced green onions can easily replace the peppers during the cooking process.

October 23, 2009

Friday's Fried Fish

Good ‘ol Fried Fish

Southern Kitchen Classics: Fish Fry

Growing up in a rural atmosphere, I spent my share of leisure time on the banks of streams and ponds doing what most country boys like to do – fishing. I am thankful my momma and grandparents enjoyed it too as many summer days were spent with them traveling around the countryside fishing in one spot one day and the next, heading out to another. On just about every Friday we would have fish for lunch. Nothing to do with religious beliefs or the time of year, its just what we ate on Fridays. So that brings us to why I share fish recipes every week, on Friday, and today’s bring back memories of ‘helping out’ in the kitchen with grandmother’s cook, Annie Bell, as she spent the latter part of the morning frying fish.

Fresh Water Fish Fry

Perch, black bass, ‘green trout’, crappie, sac-a-lait, small red fish, sunfish, bluegill, shellcracker – all are prepared by removing the scales, front fins and the head before cooking. Slit the fish from the underneath toward the head area and remove the inner parts and thoroughly wash inside and out. Catfish needs to be skinned. Small fish do well frying whole. Larger fish like the bass will do better cut into 2 to 3 inch sections or you can score the sides if they will fit into the frying pan.

Deep-frying is the most popular way to cook fresh water fish but you can also fry them in a skillet in about an inch of oil turning them to cook evenly. The ideal temperature is 375 degrees F. Annie Bell would float a kitchen matchstick on the oil and when it ignited, the oil was hot enough. But, this seems awfully dangerous so I use a thermometer.

There are so many ‘recipes’ when it comes to frying fish:
1- Marinate the fish in beer
2- Marinate in milk or buttermilk
3- Cover fish in mustard
4- Coat in a thin tempura batter
5- Dredging in a milk/egg mixture before the cornmeal for a thicker coating
 . . . . endless ways to fry fish …

My favorite happens to be the way Annie Bell did it. Simple cornmeal with just the right amount of seasonings. A crisp coating on the outside enclosing moist, flaky meat.

Depending on the amount of fish to fry, spread 1 to 3 cups of cornmeal in a 9 or 10 inch shallow container, sprinkle with desired amount of red pepper (or black) and cover this with salt. I like to use just enough pepper to almost cover the cornmeal. Mix this together well and prepare the oil for frying. When the oil is ready, dredge only the amount of fish you will be immediately frying and slide the fish into the cooker. If you dredge ahead of time, the meal will absorb too much moisture from the fish, which in turn will absorb too much grease. The fish is ready when the bubbles begin to die down and the coating turns a golden brown. You do not want to cook out too much moisture. Remove to paper towels, brown paper bags or layers of newspaper. Add oil if needed, dredge more fish and fry some more until all is cooked. Keep fish warm by placing on a metal pan and placing in a warm oven until serving time. Our favorites sides depended on the time of year and included coleslaw, potato salad, simmered greens and sometimes grits. Cornbread, hush-puppies or biscuits were always just a reach away.

October 22, 2009

Michelle’s Chili, Luscious Jalapeño Cornbread

Tailgate Thursday - Week 8

Hate is such an ugly word.

Think about it; think about all it conjures up. Now I know Tailgate Thursday is not the time to bring up such talk, to evoke such sensitivity but I have to say it. I hate cold weather. Yep, it dipped into the mid-forties down here and I hate it. Just the mere drop sent my little, well . . . toes shriveling up. As I mentioned to Trix, I finally had to put on some shoes.

It is however, a great time to fire up some warm and soothing comforting foods, like today’s recipes. Thanks to my wonderful friends, I have something to snuggle up with - a nice, warm bowl of Michelle's chili and a delicious bite of pure southern bliss: cornbread to sop up all the mouth-watering contentment while I enjoy my favorite fall pastime - College Football.
Hope you will enjoy these too!

Michelle’s Chili

from her blog page:

The web was full of recipes, so I finally settled on one and then went ahead and tweaked it to suit my tastes. Since I don’t like very spicy foods, the amount of chili powder and cumin in this recipe probably seem low to the chili aficionados, but it’s just as easy to ramp them up, so adjust them to suit your own personal tastes. The amount that I include in the recipe is enough to taste the seasonings, but not enough to set your mouth tingling.

This is one of the best homemade bowls of chili I have ever had. The combination of flavors is fantastic, the beans make it a truly hearty meal, and the absolute key is the long slow simmer that allows all of the flavors to meld together and thicken into a fabulous chili with a smell so enticing that it would wake up the soundest of sleepers. I would suggest the 2-3 hours of uncovered simmer as a minimum – I actually simmered uncovered for 2 hours and then covered the pot and simmered for another 2 hours. It improved substantially in that time. I served chili with the traditional accompaniment – cornbread. I fell in love with this recipe last year and it’s probably the most authentic (save for a cast iron skillet) that I’ve tried yet. Enjoy!!

(Adapted from Recipezaar)

2 lbs ground beef
1 (29 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans (with liquid)
2 (15 ounce) cans pinto beans (with liquid)
1 medium onion, diced
1 green pepper, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons salt
2 cups water

1. Brown ground beef in a large pot (I used my 7.25 qt Dutch oven) over medium heat.
2. Drain off the fat.
3. Combine the beef plus all the remaining ingredients, and bring to a simmer over low heat.
4. Cook, stirring every 15 minutes, for 2 to 3 hours.

Luscious Jalapeño Cornbread
Here is the post and recipe by Tasty Trix

Until making this dish, I hadn't baked for years. I had given up on it. At best, everything I made turned out crooked, deformed, or messy-looking. But recently I got hit hard with a hankering for jalapeno cornbread, and I figured I might as well give baking another shot.

There was no way I was going to cut corners and use some mix - that's just not how I roll. This was going to be made from scratch, or not at all. So I hunted around online for recipes, but nothing felt exactly right. There was too much sugar, or not enough. Too much white flour. Canned corn. Too few eggs. And so on.

Plus, I had this idea to incorporate corn milk into my recipe for extra moisture. If you've ever made maque choux, you know what I'm talking about. Corn milk is the creamy liquid left behind if you only cut off half of the kernels from a fresh ear of corn. You scrape out the milk with a knife, and it looks like this:

So, keeping in mind the basics of ingredient proportion, I made up my own recipe. And not only did it not turn out deformed in any way, it was just about the richest, most moist cornbread I've ever had. It was so good in fact, that I made a second batch to take to a barbeque, where it was a hit. (When you show up to a party with a still-warm batch of sweet-smelling cornbread, who is not going to love you?)

Luscious Jalapeno Cornbread

1 3/4 cups organic ground cornmeal
1/2 cup organic all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup melted unsalted butter
2 eggs
1/2 cup jarred jalapenos, drained well and chopped
kernels from 2 ears of swet corn, plus the corn milk

First, with a sharp knife, slice about 1/2 the kernels off of the cob. Scrape the milk from the cob and set aside. (If you can't get fresh corn, I imagine you could do this with thawed frozen corn cobs, though I haven't tried it myself.)
Saute the corn kernels in a pat of butter until tender; set aside to cool.
Sift together all of your dry ingredients: cornmeal, flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and sugar.
In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, melted butter, eggs, and cornmilk. Whisk together vigorously, until bubbles form.
Stir the corn and jalapenos into the liquid.
Gently incorporate the liquid into the dry ingredients until thoroughly mixed. Don't stir too much - just get it to a smooth consistently.
Pour into a greased 8 by 8 baking pan and bake in a 400 degree oven for 30-35 minutes, until the top is golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Rub the top with a bit of butter.

Thanks goes to Michelle and Trix for these recipes - see ya next week for more football recipes.

October 21, 2009

Shrimp Ratatouille

Shrimp of the Week

Not your everyday ratatouille. Taking a lesson from the French dish and adding a gulf coast flavor, I think this just might be one of the best treats. This dish is perfect in stretching out a little shrimp for a whole lotta crowd and the seasoned vegetables are tender and tasty. Enjoy!

Shrimp Ratatouille

1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 small zucchini, thinly sliced
1 small eggplant, peeled and cut into small cubes
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 medium bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
1 -1 pound can tomato wedges
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic salt
2 teaspoons each minced fresh basil & minced fresh parsley
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

In a large frying pan, heat the oil over medium high heat. Add the zucchini, eggplant, onion, bell pepper and mushrooms. Sauté for 10 minutes or until crisp tender. Add the shrimp and cook for 2 minutes stirring frequently. Add tomatoes, garlic salt, basil, parsley, and black pepper. Cover and simmer about 5 minutes or until shrimp are just tender being careful not to overcook. Serve over a bed of couscous or rice.

October 20, 2009

Daddy's Delight or 'Johnny Marzetti'

Oh, and Mommy likes it too...

Okay, most of you know I am a meat-and-potato kind of guy. Put any plate of meat casserole on the table and my fork starts humming and my mouth begins chomping immediately. I think most men are of the same nature. Ladies, this casserole might not get you a new car, a diamond bracelet or that new fancy mink but it will sure put a smile on your face when your family (and man in your life) gets down to eating. Who knows, it might just get you that new kitchen appliance.

The dish is a standard in many households and the ingredients vary. This is one I adapted from a recipe called 'Johnny Marzetti'. The recipe is famous in the Panama Canal Zone area since around World War II and where most down there are surprised to know, it did not originate there but from Columbus Ohio. There are numerous names for it, Crowd Pleaser Casserole, Daddy's Dinner, Church Supper Dish and so on... I think the title I chose is more direct, at least as far as I am concerned, more to the point – give Daddy what he wants!

Daddy’s Delight
Serves 8 to 10

1 1/2 pounds ground round beef
2 tablespoons bacon grease or oil
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
2 stalks of celery, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 -10.75 oz can tomato soup
1 teaspoon salt
Pepper to taste
2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
4 scallions, finely chopped
1 -8 oz package cream cheese
1 -10 to 12 oz carton plain yogurt
1 -12 oz package narrow egg noodles, cooked & drained
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese

Brown the ground beef over medium heat in a large skillet. Drain any grease and add the bacon grease or oil, bell pepper, onion, celery and garlic. Cook until onions are crisp tender. Add the tomato soup, salt, pepper, sugar and chili powder. Simmer for 10 minutes.

In a bowl, mix the yogurt, cream cheese and scallions to blend.

In a well-greased 2-quart baking dish, layer the noodles, meat mixture and yogurt mixture in several layers. Sprinkle the two cheeses on top.

In a 350 degree F oven, bake for about 20 minutes or until heated and cheese has slightly browned. Serve immediately and make Daddy happy.

October 19, 2009

Oyster & Artichoke Soup

Bayou Monday
This oyster soup is made with a cream base and is extra rich with added flavors - not your typical oyster soup recipe. Enjoy!

Below the recipe are a few vintage photos of oyster harvesting in the bays around Bayou la Batre, just south of Mobile and of children used in the shucking factories during the early 1910's.

Oyster & Artichoke Soup
8 to 10 servings

1 cup (2 sticks) melted butter (margarine will work)
1 cup chopped onions 
1 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped bell pepper
1/4 cup (3 tablespoons) diced garlic
1/2 cup finely diced pork Tasso
1 cup all purpose flour
2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning mix
6 cups chicken stock (if using bouillon add a few more cubes)
4 cups oyster liquor
1 teaspoon hot sauce
1 pint heavy whipping cream
4 to 6 dozen medium to small shucked oysters
1 -14 ounce can quartered artichoke hearts, drained 
1/2 cup sliced fresh green onions
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
Salt, white and black pepper to taste
Few dashes of hot pepper sauce

In a 2-gallon soup pot over medium heat, melt butter and add onions, celery, bell pepper and garlic. Sauté for about 10 minutes (don't brown them).
Add Tasso and stir to incorporate. Sprinkle in the flour stirring constantly until well blended being careful not to scorch it. Stir in the Cajun seasoning.
Add chicken stock a cup at a time stirring constantly (do not allow mixture to cool down too much) keeping the mixture hot. Add the oyster liquor a little at a time stirring all while. Stir in the hot sauce.
Bring to a boil then reduce heat to a low simmer (no more boiling) and cook for 30 minutes.
Add heavy whipping cream, oysters, artichokes, green onions, parsley and pepper. Do not add the salt yet. Cook for another 20 minutes stirring occasionally, remove a little to cool and taste. Add salt accordingly. The oysters and liquor may be salty enough not to have to add salt.

October 18, 2009

Cantalonian Style Roast Beef

Sunday Dinner Idea

As many of you know, I sometimes skip around the countryside and at times, my palate takes me to other countries as well. Today’s inspiration comes from a region in Spain, and the interrelated foods of the Tarragona area near the Mediterranean Sea. While lamb is a staple of the region, the recipe adapted nicely with beef. Wine, native and imported spices and the slow, braising way of cooking brings together a tasty, spicy roast fit for family dinners and company get-togethers. Enjoy!

Catalonian Style Roast Beef

3 1/2 to 4 pound roast (chuck works great, you do not need an expensive cut)
2 large bay leaves
1/4 teaspoon marjoram
1 garlic clove
1 bell pepper, minced
1 small onion, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
1 -16 ounce can tomatoes
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup red wine (Cabernet or Burgundy)
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 to 3 teaspoons salt

Crush the marjoram, bay leaves and garlic mixing well. Add the green pepper and onions. Toss to mix and press mixture into the roast on all sides. Let rest for 1 hour.
Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven or heavy cooker over high heat and sear the meat on both sides. Add the tomatoes, sugar, cinnamon, cloves, wine, vinegar and salt to taste. Cover with a tight fitting lid and lower temperature to lowest setting. Cook for 3 to 4 hours or until fork tender.
Remove the meat and if desired, thicken the sauce and serve as a gravy over cooked noodles or with a rice side dish.

October 17, 2009

Chicken, Corn & Spinach Enchiladas

Sabado Mexicano

Wonderfully delicious, this creamy enchilada recipe always brings compliments when served. It brings together the mild essence of Mexican spices with just enough heat from the jalapenos to bring out the delicate flavors of the chicken and vegetables. The salsa verde topping creates another amazing layer of flavor that makes this dish an all time favorite at our house. Enjoy!

Okay folks, not that great of photos but the meal is really great.

Chicken, Corn & Spinach Enchiladas

1 tablespoon canola oil
1 large white onion -chopped
2 1/2 cups roasted chicken -shredded
8 to 10 pickled jalapeño slices -minced
2 teaspoons Mexican Seasoning -see below
1 -14.75 ounce can cream-style corn
1 -10 ounce frozen creamed spinach -thawed
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup shredded Monterey jack cheese
1 package of 7-inch round corn tortillas -about 12

1 -7 oz can salsa verde or 3/4 cup green taco sauce
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup shredded Monterey jack cheese, divided

Cook over medium high heat the onions in the oil until translucent. Add the chicken, jalapeños, seasoning and heat for a few minutes stirring to coat the chicken. Turn off the heat and add the corn, spinach and sour cream – mix well.

Spray with cooking oil a 9x13 casserole dish. Warm the tortillas between paper towels in microwave for about 1 minute. Scoop the filling up using a 1/3 measuring cup, mound down the center of a tortilla, roll up and place seam side down in the baking dish. Repeat using all of the mixture. Cover tightly with foil. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.

Make the sauce by stirring the salsa, half the cheese and sour cream in a bowl. Remove foil, spread sauce over the top, and sprinkle with remainging cheese. Bake for 10 minutes or until bubbly.

Mexican Seasoning Mix
4 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons chipotle chili powder
1/2 tablespoon black pepper
1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
1/2 tablespoon granulated garlic
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground oregano
1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
Mix well and store in an airtight container.

October 16, 2009

Two Tunas

Friday's Fish 
... in a hurry!

Ever get home from work from a really tough day with no plans for dinner? Of course not. If you’re the cook in the household, more than likely when you open the door you already have an inkling of what’s for dinner. But on those nights when the only time you have is to reach into the cupboard, grab a few cans of this and that and have dinner on the table soon, then these two recipes are for you.

Tuna Potato Puffs

1 -6.5 ounce can tuna
1 1/2 cups leftover mashed potatoes
2 eggs, separated
1/2 teaspoon salt
Pepper to taste
1 teaspoon minced onion

Drain and flake tuna with a fork. Mix the tuna with the potatoes. Beat the egg yolks and incorporate into the potato mixture. Add the salt, pepper and onion and stir until well blended. Beat the egg whites stiff but not dry and fold into the potatoes. Use a spoon to cut into the egg whites and potatoes turning over to blend until no lumps of egg whites are left. Be careful not to stir or beat. Spoon mixture into 6 individual well-greased custard cups or a 1 1/2 quart casserole dish. Bake cups at 350 degrees F. for 30 minutes or bake the casserole for 40 to 45 minutes.
Note: You may also use this recipe to make Tuna Potato Bake. Prepare in much the same method but do not separate the eggs. Beat together the whole eggs and stir into potato mixture. Bake in a 1 1/2 quart casserole. Serve with a vegetable side dish and choice of bread.

Tuna Noodle Casserole

3 cups of narrow noodles
2 -6.5 ounce cans tuna
1 -1 pound can green peas, drained
1 cup grated cheddar cheese, divided
1 -10.75 ounce can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup unseasoned dry bread crumbs

Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain tuna and flake with a fork. Mix all ingredients except 1/4 cup of cheese and the breadcrumbs. Pour into a greased 2-quart casserole dish. Mix the remaining cheese with the breadcrumbs and sprinkle over casserole. Bake in a 350 degree F. oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until hot and bubbly.
Note: For variation, use 2 cups cooked cut asparagus instead of the green peas.

October 15, 2009

Pita Pocket Sliders

Tailgate Thursday - week 7

When I first started planning the tailgate series, I sent out invitations to many friends to participate and received many fine ideas in return. Like this one today from my buddy Terry. His blog site, The Random Gourmet, contains many fine recipes and interesting writings related to, well food and life. Although Terry has taken a temporary hiatus in his postings, we all wish him and Cynthia bright comings and kindled opportunities in the future.

This is Terry’s salute to tailgating and he sent it out on Sept 1st with a reference to “Party at Drick’s” – thank goodness only a few showed up.

Pita Pocket Sliders

I love football! Well, not really, but I love to tailgate...

Actually, I just love to eat...

Anyway, to me the secret of good tailgating food is food that can be eaten with one hand: one hand to hold the paper plate and one hand to bring the food to your mouth.

Better yet, one hand to hold the food and one hand to hold the beer.

We've been doing a lot of sliders at our house lately, partly for portion control but mainly to increase the ratio of filling to bread. To me, a normal-sized 1/4 to 1/3 pound burger fits best on a slider roll. But mostly, sliders are fun.

I love Sloppy Joes and thought that converting such a classic into a slider would be perfect tailgate food if it weren't so, well...sloppy. And keeping that saucy mess in a tiny bun would be the definitive futile exercise. Then I remembered the mini pitas that we served with our tourtiere a week ago, and voila! Problem solved!

So here goes:

• Sweat a mock mirepoix of diced onion, celery and sweet potato in a pan on medium heat. Why sweet potato? Just because. And just because I had one left over.

• Chopped bell pepper is common in Sloppy Joes, but bell pepper messes with me. I used one chopped poblano, a couple of cherry peppers and some chopped peperoncini peppers.
• After the vegetables are softened add two finely diced garlic cloves.
• Add one pound of ground sirloin and about 1/2 pound of bacon that has been ground in a food processor.
• Add salt, pepper, some smoked paprika and several healthy splashes of worcestershire sauce. Turn the heat up to medium-high to brown the meat.
• When the meat is cooked through, add your house barbecue sauce (our house sauce follows). Start with adding about 1/2 cup, adding more as desired. Be careful to get the right saucy consistency to your meat mixture. If it is too runny or greasy, the sandwich will fall apart. If it's too dry, it just won't be a Sloppy Joe. Drain excess grease from the pan if necessary before adding any sauce.
• Adjust the seasoning. If you want to go a little more southwestern, add some cumin, chili powder and/ or your favorite hot sauce.

Spoon the mixture into warmed mini pita pocket halves. We mated these with pockets full of a tangy slaw that Cynthia grabbed from Epicurious. For a variation, try spoonful of both in each pocket. This slaw was quite vinegary; Cynthia recommends cutting back a little on the sherry vinegar and doubling the sugar.

Our house barbecue sauce:
• Pour a 16 oz bottle of pomegranate juice and the juice of one lemon in a pan and reduce to a thick syrup. You're basically making pomegranate molasses.
• Add a 14 oz bottle of ketchup. I love ketchup. I need to start making my own.
• Add 1 can of Coca-Cola. Or Root Beer. Or Dr. Pepper. A friend once inexplicably gave us 10 cases of Dr. Pepper. We had Dr. Pepper sauce for a year. And Dr. Pepper-glazed ham. And Dr. Pepper cherries jubilee...
• Add 1/2 cup of sour orange juice. I find this in the ethnic aisle of the supermarket next to the mojito mix. If you can't find it use 50/50 lime and orange juice.
• Add between 1/2 cup to 1 cup of bourbon.

Add anywhere from a teaspoon to two tablespoons each of:
• fresh ginger
• garlic salt
• onion salt
• sweet paprika
• smoked paprika
• ground coriander
• crushed thyme
• crushed oregano
• celery salt
• worcestershire sauce
• salt and black pepper.
Simmer for at least an hour.

After creating the base sauce you can adjust to your liking or to suit the dish by adding:
• honey, brown sugar and/or molasses
• apple, pineapple, or mango juice
• cider vinegar
• mustard
• ground chilies
• cumin
• tamarind paste
• cinnamon
• your hot sauce du jour...

The sky, as they say, is the limit.

Thanks Terry for this wonderful idea. Be sure to check out his other recipes at The Random Gourmet.

October 14, 2009

Caribbean Curry Shrimp

Shrimp of the Week

Now here’s a dish that blew in from the islands and brings a taste that is a little different than many curry dishes. It carries a satisfying flavor savored in south Florida and here along the coast as well. Enjoy!

Caribbean Curry Shrimp

1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined.
1 large onion, chopped.
3 tablespoons of olive oil
1 one-inch piece of cinnamon stick
6 green cardamoms
6 whole cloves
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon of ground cumin
1 teaspoon of minced ginger root
1 teaspoon of minced garlic
1 teaspoon of ground coriander
Half a teaspoon of salt
1 -14 ounce can unsweetened coconut milk (not low fat)
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
2 green chilies, chopped
Sugar, if desired
2 teaspoons fresh coriander, chopped
Cooked basmati rice

In a large frying pan, sauté the onions in the oil until tender. Add the cinnamon, cardamoms, cloves and bay leaf. Cook for another minute and then add the ginger and garlic. Stir to mix well and add the chili, cumin, coriander and salt. Cook for another thirty seconds.

Add the coconut milk and limejuice and then bring to a low boil or gentle simmer. Cook for another five minutes. Taste and add a little sugar if desired. Add the shrimp, cover and simmer for fifteen minutes.

Serve the curry shrimp sprinkled with the chopped chilies and coriander leaves over the rice

October 13, 2009

Strawberry Pecan Cake

Okay, I know it’s not the “in thing” to post recipes from soup cans, back of pasta packages or side panels from a cake mix. But you know, there are some pretty good ones out there. Think about it. I know they are put there to sell the product but somebody had to first make it, test it and decide it was worthy of promotion. I know also that this recipe is in many cookbooks and/or tucked away in recipe boxes belonging to some of you. A churchwoman gave it to us and it is so good, it is worth sharing with you. I challenge any of you to give it a try and tell me it is not absolutely h-e-a-v-e-n-l-y.

Strawberry-Pecan Cake

1 box white cake mix (approx. 21 oz)
1 cup vegetable oil
4 large eggs
1 cup flaked coconut
1 package (3 oz) strawberry gelatin
1/2 cup milk
1 cup mashed fresh or frozen strawberries (if using frozen, drain the juice off and reserve)
1 cup chopped pecans

Strawberry Cream Cheese Icing
1 1/2 packages (12 oz) cream cheese, room temperature
3/4 stick margarine (3 ounces), room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup coconut 
3/4 cup strawberries, mashed (drain and reserve juice)
8 or more cups sifted powdered sugar

Mix cake mix with gelatin. Add everything else and beat until well mixed. Bake in 3 (I prefer 4) generously greased floured 8 or 9-inch round layer pans at 350° F. for 35 minutes, or until cake tests done*.

To make icing, cream together cream cheese and margarine, mix in vanilla and add powdered sugar until a firm but spreadable consistency is achieved (chilling will also help if icing seems a little soft). Stir in drained strawberries, pecans and coconut. Drizzle cooled layers with reserved juice then spread with a layer of icing. Ice the sides and top.

Store cake in an airtight container or wrapping; refrigerate.

*Lightly touch cake in the center with a finger; if it springs back, the cake is done.

October 12, 2009

Creole Ham Jambalaya

I received so many favorable comments and emails from so many friends after lasts week Vegetarian Jambalaya and I want to thank each of you for your remarks. Many of you enjoyed the dish being without meat and many of you wanted more, that is, more recipes like that one but with meat. Today I give you this one, which uses pork. There are more recipes for Jambalaya than you can shake a stick at, but I like to prepare the ones using good ‘ol southern elements.

The following excerpt is from a cookbook I have in progress and tells of the history of Jambalaya.

A close second to Gumbo, Jambalaya is similar in that it incorporates many of the same ingredients. It is said that the name comes from a combination of French and African terms meaning ‘ham and rice’ and is thought to be a loose version of paella influenced from the Spanish and French. After the civil war, the combining of the Creoles with the Cajun population produced many versions of jambalaya. The Creole version comes from the European sector of New Orleans combining rice with tomatoes, ham or chicken, seafood and spices while the Cajun dish uses the lower rural foods of rice, wild meats and shellfish.

However, thanks to my neighbor David Newell, I learned a twist in its origin. According to an essay by Andrew Sigal, the first mention of Jambalaya in English print appears to be from Mobile AL. Submitted from Mobile to the American Agriculturalist journal in May 1849 is a mention of ‘Hopping Johnny’ with Jambalaya in parentheses. Later in 1878, the Ladies of the St. Francis Street Methodist Episcopal Church in Mobile published ‘The Gulf City Cook Book’, which features a recipe titled ‘Jam Bolaya’. The recipe contains oysters and chicken giblets along with the familiar tomatoes and rice.

Today, we use the familiar ingredients of ham and poultry along with a variety of others like beef, smoked meats, sausage and every kind of seafood imaginable. Jambalaya makes great use of ingredients everyone has on hand and many times made from leftovers. In gumbo and étouffée, we cook separately the rice but in jambalaya, we cook the rice slowly into the meat mixture creating a great all-in-one-pot meal.

Many cooks prefer using a cast iron pot when making this dish. Any heavy pot will do as long as it has a tight fitting lid. The secret is not letting the rice scorch or burn. Once you add the rice, do not stir. Use a spatula to turn the rice over scooping from the bottom if needed and do this only a few times during the final process to incorporate all ingredients. The rice grains must remain intact or you’ll end up with a pot of goo.

Now on to today’s recipe -

Creole Ham Jambalaya

6 to 8 servings

1 pound lean pork, cut into small cubes
2 tablespoons butter
3 medium onions, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
2 or 3 ribs of celery, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
few spring of parsley
1 cup chopped ham
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cloves
salt and pepper (black & red) to taste
6 pork sausages
1 cup peeled & seeded tomatoes, chopped
3 cups beef stock
1 1/2 cup long-grain white rice
1/4 cup finely chopped scallions

In a large heavy saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat and add the pork, onions, green pepper, celery, garlic and parsley. Sauté until mixture is light brown. Stir in the chopped ham, chili powder, ground cloves, salt and black pepper taste as well as a generous amount of cayenne pepper.

Cut the sausages into 1-inch sections and add to the pan. Cook over moderate heat for about 10 minutes.

Stir in the tomatoes, rice and cook another 10 minutes stirring only the first few minutes. Add a little water if needed to keep from sticking on the bottom.

Add the stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook until rice is tender about 25 minutes. Add additional stock if needed but avoid stirring. Serve very hot with scallions on top and with crusty French bread.

Other readings : Jambalaya on the Bayou by Ned Hemard, New Orleans Bar Association