The Kitchen Grimoire: Voodoo Jambalaya

For many years, just like my father, I have been writing a cookbook. My cookbook, however, was not designed with the average cook in mind. Instead of a standard American set of recipes with minor alterations, or my darling grandmother’s “Sunday Gravy”, I created recipes with slight variations, all to match one simply theme: Villainy. Now, perhaps I know what you’re thinking: Villainy? In cooking? Isn’t that just making a steak well-done? Perhaps you’re even thinking: Villainy in cooking just is an aesthetic and would probably taste horrible or gimmicky. 

While I happen to agree with you if you think that it is a crime against all things delicious to make a steak well-done, I hope to prove you wrong on the latter point. You see for as long as I can remember, I have always had a certain fondness and sympathy for the Disney villains. Between their cool color scheme and always having the best song in the movie, I began to incorporate them a bit more in day-to-day life. I won’t be boring you with those details, because while I could certainly use therapy (probably) this blog isn’t my therapist’s couch. One of the things I began to work on was a recipe book related to witchery, villainy, magic, and of course, tasting absolutely sinful. 

I called this digital tome of forbidden culinary rituals and hidden away confections, “The Kitchen Grimoire”. A grimoire is a book of spells and the like, because I hope that the flavors and recipes inside will bewitch your tongue. The first recipe I am choosing to share is one of my favorites and one which I make for myself as frequently as possible. It is my take on Jambalaya, but instead of using regular rice, I use a type of rice called Forbidden Rice. 

Forbidden rice itself is either black or purple in color, but the water, the sauce and anything that touches the rice is stained a deep purple. Despite the ominous name, it is actually one of the few things in my recipe book which can be substituted into almost any other dish with a similar counterpart to create a wicked effect. I’ve used this trick to make rice pilaf imitate the night sky and occasionally turn the usually pink flesh of shrimp to a creature of the deep, when cooked with the rice. 

Not only is the color a nice switch up, but rather than the nutty and earthly flavors of brown rice or the soft gentleness of basmati, Forbidden Rice has a floral taste to it, which may sound strange, but it can add a wonderful layer of complexity to dishes.

Setting aside the color of the rice in my dish, I have an actual dish and recipe to tell you about. The recipe I will be giving you today (as you may have guessed from the title of this article), is Voodoo Jambalaya. I decided that this is the right time for Jambalaya, as it is one of the few truly American foods. Seeing as the fourth of July is coming soon, I wanted to throw out another candidate for the ring. Burgers and hotdogs are great, but their origins lie elsewhere, and were already being consumed in the old world. Jambalaya is a mix of African, Spanish and French cooking styles, which was only achieved in America. 

So here’s my first recipe on the blog here and I hope you enjoy!

Ingredients:

⅔ Cup Sliced Andouille Sausage

⅔ Cup Cubed Chicken Breast

⅔ Cup Raw Peeled and Deveined Shrimp

9 oz. Tomato Paste

3 Bay Leaves (Dried)

1 tsp Cayenne Pepper

1 tsp Red Pepper Flakes

2 tbsp Minced Garlic (Preferably Packed in Oil)

1 Medium White Onion (diced finely)

1 Small Red Bell Pepper (diced finely)

1 tbsp Onion Powder

2 Cups Forbidden Rice

Olive Oil (As needed)

Tabasco (To taste)

Parsley (To Garnish)

  1. Start by placing your garlic, onion and bell pepper in a large pot with enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the large pot. Continuously stir the vegetables over medium heat (preferably with an oversized wooden spoon, for added realism start cackling which will add a certain air of madness to the whole process).
  2. Wait until the onions are transparent before removing the mixture from your pot and placing in a decent sized bowl on the side. Repeat this process for each of our meats (Sausage, Chicken and Shrimp) and place them all in the same bowl as the vegetables. 
  3. Take enough water to cover the bottom half inch of your pot with water and pour over high heat. Use the oversized wooden spoon to help scrape the bottom and relieve it of any tasty bits which may cling to the pot. 
  4. Once you’ve scraped the pot to your satisfaction, it is time to add the tomato paste, bay leaves, cayenne pepper, red pepper flakes and onion powder to this concoction. Add the tabasco if desired at this point. 
  5. Leave to simmer, stirring occasionally for about 10 minutes.
  6. Pour the contents of the bowl that you’ve set aside into our cauldron- er… pot. 
  7. Add four cups of water to your concoction as well as the purple rice and cover, stirring every five minutes. Only cover the mixture once the water begins to boil. Once covered it should be ready in about fifteen to twenty minutes. 
  8. Serve hot and garnish! Enjoy the favors which have combined under your masterful eye and feel proud of what you’ve accomplished!

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