Last Modified: Tuesday, February 05, 2013 9:29 PM
In Louisiana Mardi Gras vernacular, the statement “Throw me something, mister!” is a call for an item to be thrown from a balcony or parade float.
Popular throws — as they are called — are cups, beads, and doubloons.
As the countdown to the ending of Carnival season picks up, the thought of having something tasty tossed or rather handed to us comes to mind, too.
This time of year lends to the cooking of gumbos, etouffees and jambalaya, all of which can be made for the masses.
Jambalaya in particular is a dish that will get a lot of attention along parade routes, small towns and Mardi Gras Day parties.
A cup of rice, sausage and a few bits of meat and seafood can go a long way in keeping revelers’ stomachs full.
Some food writers consider jambalaya as a cousin of gumbo with the biggest difference being that rice is cooked along with the main ingredients instead of separately.
“It is a very adaptable dish made from leftovers and ingredients on hand, and thus traditionally a meal for the Cajun rural folks rather than their wealthier town cousins, the Creoles,” explains www.whatscookingamerica.net.
Some people cook the dish inside, but the essence of what is also a distant relative of the Spanish paella is definitely experienced when a jambalaya is cooked outside in a big cast iron pot and the cook uses a big spoon to constantly stir the mixture of meats, vegetables and rice.
What follows is a recipe from Tabasco and features shrimp and sausage.
• 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
• 1/2 pound andouille or other smoked sausage, cut into 1/2- inch slices
• 1/2 cup sliced celery
• 1 small onion, chopped
• 1 small red or green bell pepper, chopped
• 1 clove garlic minced
• 1 3/4 cups chicken broth
• 1 cup diced fresh or canned tomatoes
• 1 bay leaf
• 1 teaspoon Tabasco brand Original Red Sauce
• 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
• 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
• 3/4 cup uncooked rice
• 1/2 pound shrimp, peeled, deveined and cut in half lengthwise
• Heat oil in a large heavy saucepan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add sausage, celery, onion, bell pepper and garlic. Cook 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender, stirring frequently.
• Stir in broth, tomatoes, bay leaf, Tabasco® sauce, oregano, thyme and allspice. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
• Stir in rice; cover and simmer 15 minutes.
• Add shrimp; cover and simmer 5 minutes longer or until rice is tender and shrimp turn pink. Let stand, covered, 10 minutes. Remove bay leaf before serving.
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Eric Cormier writes about food every Wednesday. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 494-4090.