My mom is quite a cook. I didn’t fully appreciate this until I got older, but now I look back on her lemon squares, magic bars, snickerdoodles, and chicken cheese spaghetti in awe. She somehow managed to wrangle all 3 of us kids and cook delicious food.
I think there are two dishes she is best known for bringing to family potlucks — the chicken cheese spaghetti (my favorite) and her favorite, jambalaya. Now, let me make something perfectly clear. My mom “doesn’t like spicy food.”
She’ll be the first to tell you if a Mexican restaurant’s salsa is too hot, but my mom makes this jambalaya and I think sometimes she wings it because there have been times it would light you up. Other times it’s not so warm. Either way, everyone loves it and I’ve always wondered about the recipe, but didn’t bother to ask until now, thinking it was something she came up with herself. I don’t know why I always assume that. I really thought it was some secret recipe of her own making. When I called her up to inquire about this a few weeks ago I found the truth.
It’s from a cookbook I bought at An Affair of the Heart in the 1980s.
Along with a photo of the cookbook itself, she sent me one of the well-loved recipe, accompanied by an apology for how dirty the page was. But you know that just means it’s good.
So when I was asked to share a recipe using Hillshire Farms smoked sausage, this had to be the one. The sausage adds a lot of flavor and on top of that it’s a really simple option and so easy to prepare. There’s a lot of depth to to the flavors here and I suspect it’s because you don’t do away with any of the drippings. That information is included in the recipe above, which I’m not typing up here in my post, but feel free to check out the full size version of the photo if the print is too small for you here.
You start off by sautéing the sausage. Once it’s a little browned, remove from the pan (I’m using my Le Creuset dutch oven because I’m in love with it and there’s a baking step later on).
Optional step: Avoid looking at my dirty stovetop.
Add oil and sauté the vegetables.
Then add your tomatoes, broth, and green onion. Stir in your spices and then add the rice.
Add the sausage back to the pot and cook for another 30 minutes, covered.
After most of the liquid has been absorbed by the rice, add the shrimp and cook until pink. Now, mine was already cooked and my grocery store only had shell- and tail-on shrimp, otherwise I would have stirred it in a little. Because of the situation I left the shrimp on the top.
Next, you either transfer it to a baking dish OR leave it in the pot if you made it in a dutch oven like I did. Bake for 25 minutes.
Put a slice of garlic bread on the side and you are ready to go!
It’s a really simple dish that’s easy to prepare, but tastes like you put a lot of effort into it. For the record, my attempt at this recipe turned out delicious, but still just as spicy as my mom’s. I’m going to work on the ratio next time to make a milder version for people who can’t handle the pepper.
Want to try this out for yourself? I’m giving away a coupon for a free Hillshire Farm product. Just leave a comment saying you’re interested and I’ll randomly draw numbers at the end of the week.
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