Ric Orlando's Chicken and Sausage jambalaya

With Mardi Gras right around the corner, her is a simple family sized jambalaya recipe to keep them all fortified while partying!

Creole Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya
This is a slowly cooked, dark and earthy, OMG delish stew, the real deal, baby!
 It uses chicken as a base, but you can also add other stuff like duck, ham, shrimp, leftovers...you name it.

Makes enough for 4 to eat twice at least

3 lbs natural or local chicken or chicken thighs
2 bayleaves
2 springs thyme
1 tsp black peppercorns
Vegetable oil, or bacon fat, pork fat, duck fat...no need for olive oil here
1 pound andouille sausage, sliced
6 cups of the  TRINITY (That’s two cups  each of medium dice  bell peppers, celery and onion)
1/2 cups scallions. chopped
1/2 cups parsley, chopped
2 tbls Cajun seasoning mix
1 tbls dry thyme
6 cups chicken cooking liquid (see below)
4 cups tomato juice

6 cups long grain white
more parsley and scallions for garnish

The chicken braising will take at least 45 minutes, so make time!
Put the chicken thighs, bay leaves, thyme and peppercorns in a pot. Cover with lightly salted water. Taste the water first. It should not be as salty as the sea, but mildly salty like a very light broth. Bring to a boil . Skim any scum that may accumulate. Once it boils, reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for 30-40  minutes or until the chicken is fully cooked. Let the chicken cool in the broth for a few minutes. Strain. Reserve the broth and the bird separately.  
Once cooled, pull all of the meat from the chicken and roughly chop.  Set aside.

In a heavy casserole pan, add the sausage and lightly brown in a little bit of veg oil.
Add the trinity and wilt until soft but not brown.
 Add the Cajun seasoning and cook in for a minute.
Add the scallions, herbs, rice and stir well to coat with the juices in the pot.
And the chicken meat, dry thyme and Cajun seasoning and stir to coat.
 Cook a few minutes and then add tomato juice and reserved chicken broth. Bring to a boil. Once boiling reduce the heat to a low simmer and cover tightly.
Allow to simmer for about 30 minutes, then turn off the heat but leave it covered for a few more minutes to “simmer down”.  
Pick up the palate by adding dashes of Worcestershire and Tabasco to taste.
Serve garnished with chopped scallions and with hot sauce on the side

Green Banana Salad

This recipe is from my July in January class at Different Drummers Kitchen in Albany, NY.

Green Banana Salad, Puerto Rican OR German Style

Green bananas are NOT plantains and Plantains are NOT bananas. Green bananas are just that, totally unrips bananas. They can be found in larger supermarkets, often near the tropical specialty produce, or sometimes the regular bananas in the supermarket are just that green. If the bananas are showing even a trace of yellow, this recipe wont be as good as the bananas starch has begun converting to sugar. You need hard, green bananas. Another source for green bananas is any market that caters to the Latin community. My Puerto Rican, Cuban and Dominican friends love these!
This is one of those recipes that I don't always plan on. If I see the real full green bananas, then I’ll make this dish.
SO the difference between the PR flavor profile and the German is simple. For Puerto Rican style, use Cilantro or Culantro and for the German omit the Spanish olives and use dill instead of cilantro. All else is the same. The German version replicates German potato salad and can be served warm, room temp or cool.

 2 lbs bananas, bright green unripe -about 10 green bananas ( the greener the better)
 3 bay leaves
 2 large onions, peeled, halved and thinly sliced
 3/4 cup apple cider or white vinegar
  1 garlic clove, minced
  1/4 cup stuffed Manzanilla olives, roughly chopped
  1/2 teaspoon salt
  1/2 cup olive oil       
  salt and pepper


   Bring a pot of lightly salted water to a rolling boil.  Add the bay leaves.
Cut off the ends of the bananas and using the tip of a pairing knife, cut three slits down length of each banana, but leave the skin on.
    Place the bananas in boiling water and reduce the heat to a low boil. Boil the bananas for approximately 20 minutes on medium-low heat.
    While the bananas cook, place onions, garlic and vinegar in a non reactive pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer gently while the bananas cook.
When the bananas are done, they will feel tender but not mushy, like a cooked red potato.
Carefully drain the water from the banana pot and run cold tap water into it to cool the bananas. When cool enough to handle, peel the bananas and slice into 1/4 inch rounds or slightly thicker.
Put the bananas in a serving bowl, pour over the hot onion-vinegar mix.
Add the olives if using and herbs, toss, drizzle with olive oil and taste for salt and pepper.
Serve warm, room temp or cold!