Sort-Of Jambalaya

>> Wednesday, December 15, 2010

When you look below, I almost guarantee you'll think something like: "Woah! That's a lot of ingredients!" And the steps may look intimidating, too. But stick with me. I promise. It's all worth it.

This recipe is actually as easy as it is satisfying. It takes about 30 minutes after you have all your ingredients assembled.

(Adapted from the Sundays at Moosewood cookbook)
Print this Recipe!

What you'll need . . .
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cups parsnips, sliced diagonally, 1/8 inch thick
  • 2 cups chopped broccoli
  • 2 cups fresh okra, chopped
  • 1 large (28 ounces) can whole tomatoes (with juice)
  • 1 can (14 ounces) vegetable broth
  • 1 can (14 ounces) water
  • 1 can (14 ounces) corn kernels, drained and rinsed
  • 1 teaspoon dill
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Dash of cloves
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup homemade peanut butter

What you'll need . . .
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup white-whole wheat flour

METHOD . . .
  1. First, stick a big stock pot on the stove and pour your olive oil into it. We're starting with the stew -- but you'll also be cooking the roux. So, pay careful attention. And if you have help (in the form of a friend of family member), it's helpful!
  2. Over medium-high heat, add in the onions, garlic, and bay leaves to the stock pot. Cook for several minutes -- until the onions are glassy.
  3. In the meantime, you can start the roux. All you do is pour the olive oil into a shallow pan (or a heavy skillet works best, according to the book) and wait for the oil to get to a hot, but not too hot temperature (shouldn't be smoking). How you tell? Test it out by pinching a small amount of flour into the oil. If it smokes -- the oil is too hot. If it floats, it's good to go.When the temperature is just right, add in the flour and stir continuously.
  4. Back to the stew. Add in the parsnips, broccoli, okra. Season with the dill, paprika, cinnamon, cloves, salt, and pepper. Cook for 5 or so minutes.
  5. All the while, you should continue stirring the roux. (See, that's why it's helpful to enlist a friend to do that part for you!)
  6. Add the tomatoes, corn, broth, water, and bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer. Then cover and let cook for 15 minutes. (Keep stirring that roux!)
  7. Turn the heat down on the roux. Pour it into the stew. Also add in the cocoa powder and peanut butter. Stir and cook uncovered for another 5 minutes. Then mash the tomatoes a bit with your spoon.
  8. Remove bay leaves before serving. We ate ours with some 5-Minute Naan.
Honestly, it's worth the extra effort to make the roux. Not only does it thicken the "jambalaya" (though, we didn't exactly use the traditional ingredients -- which involve celery, green peppers, carrots, etc.), but it adds such a unique, amazing flavor. Sort of like freshly roasted peanuts. That's why I added some homemade peanut butter. I'd never really had that sort of taste mixed in with the veggies and tomato base.

I loved it. So did Stephen. And this stew keeps beautifully. Though, ours only lasted until lunch the next day.

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