Shrimp Stock and Jambalaya

    It's snowing!! Our first snow that is sticking to roads. No ice, though my son who lives 2 hours north of here had trouble getting out of his apartment's underground parking because of ice. We just had a dusting. I always dread the first snow, but once it's here, then I'm OK

(I'm keeping my kales as long as possible - just a bit of color. They have survived 15 degrees so far. They are kept close to the house for protection.)

     Two years ago, my youngest son enrolled in a cooking school in Chicago. He did not start, for reasons I'll not go in to. But, we had purchased several "professional" quality teaching manuals from Le Cordon Bleu and Culinary Institute of America. We got these as much for me, as for my son to look over. Instead of returning all of them, I decided to keep the CIA books. They all were very good to teach the why's and wherefore's of cooking, and they are great references. I also refer to my collection of cookbooks if I want to learn something. Usually, the combination of books will give a clear picture of what I want to know.
     Such was the case in point when I started making Jambalaya today. I wanted to read about stocks, especially seafood stock. First I looked to CIA Professional Chef to learn a bit more about stocks. Did you know that there are 3 basic kinds of stock - white, brown and fumets?
                          White stocks are made by combining ingredients with a cool liquid, usually water, and simmering them over a low heat.
                           Brown stocks are made by browning the bones and mirepoix first in a bit of fat. They can be roasted in the oven or on the stove top before simmering.
                          Fumets are sometimes called essences. They call for sweating or smothering the main ingredients before simmering. Often white wine is used.
     The mirepoix mentioned consists of 2 parts onion plus 1 part celery plus one part carrot.  For the Jambalaya I am making, a traditional "Cajun mirepoix" would be 2 parts onion plus 1 part green bell pepper plus 1 part celery.
     For my Jambalaya, I want a shrimp stock. The CIA books did not address this exactly as I wanted, so I consulted my Paul Prudhhome cookbooks. He suggests a seafood stock of any combination of fish and bones. Not being a fisherman, nor big on fish period, I have on hand only shrimp shells. Any time we have shrimp, I save the shells to make my version of stock. I follow Prudhhomes version, sort of. So for my stock I am using approximately 1/2# shrimp shells. (A friend brought me some fresh frozen shrimp from South Carolina recently. These shrimp are going into my Jambalaya.)
                                           My Shrimp Stock
1/2# shrimp shells
1 clove garlic, unpeeled and lightly smashed
1 small-medium onion, unpeeled and cut into quarters.
About 6c cold water

Put all ingredients into a pot and bring to a boil. Immediately reduce heat to a simmer and simmer as long as possible - up to 4 hours. Add more water as needed to keep at least 4c liquid in pot.

     My stock is simmering upstairs now. Ir smells wonderful.
INTERRUPTION!!!! My middle son just got home. He is the pilot who lives north of here and it's been awhile since I've seen him. But, alas, mom is not a big draw, so he has already gone to a friend's house. But, he'll be back for supper.
     So, back to my Jambalaya. Ingredients include Tasso, anduille and shrimp. I have no Tasso, and have never seen it in the stores in my area. I don't remember seeing it at Dierbergs, either (an upscale supermarket). I am going to use a regular ham today, though I often leave it out. I had a piece of ham leftover ao, in it will go. I also have no real anduille, so I am using an anduille style sausage from Johnsonville. And my fresh-frozen shrimp from South Carolina.
     Those shrimp need to be peeled and de-veined.


    To devein, slice the back of the shrimp shallowly. If you lay the shrimp on a cutting board, you can scrape out the dark vein - which is really the intestine. If you are holding the shrimp, use the tip of a knife to "hook" the intestine and remove it completely. See pics above.

So now my stock is ready to strain and use, shrimp is cleaned and ready, now it's time for the rest of the story.
                                                              My Jambalaya        

Seasoning Mix ( from Paul Prudhhome cookbooks)
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp salt
1/2tsp white pepper
1/2tsp dry mustard
1/2tsp cayenne pepper(I prefer less)
1/2tsp gumbo file - optional
1/4tsp cumin
1.4tsp black pepper
1/4tsp dried thyme leaves
Combine seasonings and set aside.
*(Mr Prudhhome is very big on using more than 1 kind of pepper. He says there is a difference in flavor. Obviously there is between red and black pepper. I had not known there was such a thing as white pepper until I started using his cookbooks. And so there is a difference, though not so pronounced between white and black pepper.)

For Jambalaya

4T margarine
3/4c ham - Tasso is preferred and authentic.
2/3c anduille sausage (authentic) or Kielbassa. I use Johnsonville anduille style sausage
3/4c chopped onion
3/4c chopped celery
1/2c chopped green bell pepper (here is the "Cajun mirepoix"
3/4tsp chopped garlic
1c uncooked rice (If following a Prudhhome recipe, he almost always uses converted rice. I have always used regular white rice. If using brown rice, I would cook it about half way done before adding to Jambalaya)
2c shrimp stock - mine is made without salt, so be sure to check to make sure salt is to taste.
 1c extra stock to add if needed.

Use a large, heavy skillet and melt margarine over high heat. Add ham and sausage and cook with stirring 5 minutes. Scrape up any browned bits.

Add onions, celery, and green peppers. Stir. Add seasoning mix and stir well. Cook 10 minutes and scrape up any browned bits.

Stir in rice- yes, uncooked rice now. Cook 5 minutes, scraping bottom often. Add stock.

Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer  partially covered about 20 minutes, until rice is mostly tender. Add more stock if needed. Remove bay leaves. Add shrimp and cook until shrimp are just pink and slightly curled.
Serve while hot.

Serves 4 or maybe 5.
Prep time for stock is about 4.5 hours, including peeling and deveining shrimp.
Prep time for Jambalaya is about 45 minutes, cooking 45-50 minutes.

I served this with green beans (for my mom who is watching her carbs - the Jambalaya had plenty), and Corn Maque Choux (corn and onions with a bit of sugar, carmalized. My version then has Co-Jack cheese and a little milk added in and melted (also not on my mom's list of things to eat, but she had a tiny bit)). Lightly buttered garlic bread was also served.

      My middle and youngest son were here for supper, then off with friends. I had to laugh when the middle son  came back just a few minutes ago - he was hungry for another piece of strawberry pie! That's all he came back for - a piece of pie to take back to his friends house. I guess that is a compliment to my pie! That will be a recipe for another time, as my strawberry pie is handed down from my grandmother and is unlike any other strawberry pie I've seen.
      I hope you enjoy this Jambalaya. It has been a favorite of ours for some time. Please let me know.

Another Post Wednesday, just in time for Christmas. Bye for now.