After dinner last night, I’m starting to feel like I really have this whole hunger-months cooking with our preserved food down pat. We don’t have a ton of vegetables that we want to cram into our meals right now. We actually have a relatively scant amount. And this is okay. Actually, this makes it somewhat easier. All those meals (and recipes in some great cookbooks) that use meat but just a little bit of vegetable for flavoring etc. we can actually use now without my guilty conscience going “but all of those lovely veggies in the fridge, you can’t let them down!” And, we also happen to have a decent amount of meat.
So, last night I made Jambalaya. Heavy on the meats, less so on the veggies. Glad I had an opportunity to enjoy this southern stable. I unfortunately didn’t have all the spices at hand, but I made do with the addition of some blackened creole seasoning spice mix.
I began prepping for the meal making the spice mix, shelling shrimp and chopping up fish. I mixed the shrimp and fish with the spice mix and let them marinate in the fridge.
I next prepped the vegetables. A chopped onion, two minced cloves of garlic, and the rest of our frozen sliced bell peppers.
I also mixed a combination of chili powder, blackened creole seasoning, and salt with 1/2 a pound of pork sausage meat and let it sit while I began to cook the vegetables. In a big stockpot, I sautéed the onions, garlic and peppers in 1 tbsp of bacon grease until softened. Then I made a well in the middle of the pot and cooked the sausage in it.
Once the sausage was done cooking, I added four whole canned tomatoes (squeezing them in my fingers to break apart) and included a cup of tomato juice. I also added a bay leaf, a dried chili, a dash of vinegar, three cups of water, a little chicken bouillon (1 tsp), and four cups of shrimp broth. (We had made the shrimp broth from a ton of shrimp heads and tails a while back when we got a lot of northern shrimp from our fish CSF)
I next added a cup of spelt berries. Jambalaya is supposed to have rice in it, but we don’t have rice up here in New England. Spelt berries are super tasty, and rice-like and so they became our rice replacement in this recipe. Once I added the spelt, I brought the pot to a boil and then reduced the heat to a low simmer and partially covered it. I let it simmer on low for about an hour. When the spelt berries were getting done, I added the fish and let it cook a few minutes and then added the shrimp and let them cook a few minutes. I added a good dash of smoked salt and pepper and served it right up.
I served the Jambalaya with some bread (not so southern style bread, but our whole wheat oatmeal bread) and with pickled okra.
The Jambalaya was really really good. It met my southern food expectations, and really our homemade shrimp broth just made it outstanding. As you can see, I was very pleased.
To go along with our southern inspired meal, we had peach cobbler for dessert, served with vanilla ice cream (we think that the addition of ice cream might be more New England than the south in spirit).
Dinner was all in all very tasty, and a nice reminder that as locavores, we can eat well off of what we got, even if it might consist of more meat and less vegetable right now. I hope everyone else is eating well while making do with their present stores.
- Onion, Peppers, Garlic, Dried Chili, Okra, Tomato, Oregano: Red Fire Farm
- Northern Atlantic Shrimp, Pollock Fish: Cape Ann Fresh Catch CSF
- Pork Sausage Meat, Eggs: Jen and Pete’s Backyard Birds
- Spelt Berries, and whole wheat flour for bread and cobbler: Pioneer Valley Heritage Grain CSA
- Peaches: Tougas Family Farm
- Vanilla Ice Cream: Batch