Sunday, March 21, 2010

A Faux-Jambalaya, or Fambalaya

I'm not going to enter the longstanding debate about what a real Jambalaya is. Is it a Cajun Jambalaya, without tomatoes, or a tomato-laden Creole one (or is it the opposite)? Does Jambalaya necessarily have ham, chicken, Andouille sausage and shrimp?

All I can say is that Jambalaya, wherever it's served in America, is quite tasty. I also know for a fact that trying to recreate an authentic Jambalaya in France is not an easy task. Some might say that's a little strange, since most Louisiana cooking has somewhat of a French influence. In that case, I'd be more than willing to give you a day-long unlimited metro card so you could get me onion powder, garlic powder, and Andouille. Good luck with that!

I'll admit it: I didn't make use of my subway pass to explore the city for ingredients. Sure, I could have, but...well, I don't have an excuse. But you are all more than welcome to stop by Paris and borrow my metro card for a day if you're up for an onion powder treasure hunt! You can stop by and say hello even if you're not looking for onion powder, though. It would be a little strange if you showed up on my doorstep for the sake of onion powder.

Actually, my inspiration for this strange-looking Jambalaya was a contest for Ebly, a brand that sells wheat berries. In France, it's pretty common to replace rice and pasta with wheat berries once in a while: super moist and good for you, they're a great addition to any meal. I wanted to make something very un-French with this French staple, and Jambalaya immediately came to mind. After a few tweaks and quite a number of substitutions, I was impressed to discover that the original taste was still there. 

It may not be "authentic", but if you can get your hands on some wheat berries, I urge you to try this Fambalaya--which could mean anything from French Jambalaya to Faux-Jambalaya...or even Funny Jambalaya. If the contest was based on who got the most votes, I would definitely try to bribe you with some of this. But it's not, so I'll be eating it all on my own. That is, unless you stop in for my metro card--then you might get a bite of my Funny Jambalaya.

serves 6, or 4 very hungry young'uns

3 TB olive oil
2 TB water
1/2 c. + 1 TB (125g) dried wheat berries
1 celery stalk, diced
1 large tomato, diced
1/2 green bell pepper, diced
1 small onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/3 c. chicken stock
5 oz. smoked sausage, sliced
5 oz. bay scallops
20 shrimp

Spices and Seasoning:

3 dried bay leaves
1 TB hot sauce
1 TS Worcestershire Sauce
1 TS paprika
1 TS herbes de provence (a mix of thyme, oregano)
1 TS Cayenne pepper
salt and pepper

In a large saucepan, heat 1 TB olive oil over high heat. Add celery, bell pepper and onion. Cook for 3 minutes.
Add garlic, tomato, bay leaves, Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce.

In a pan, mix wheat berries with 2 TB olive oil and 2 TB water over high heat for a minute. Pour wheat into saucepan and add chicken stock slowly, stirring to mix.

Reduce heat to medium and cook for approximately 10 minutes, until wheat becomes tender. Add shrimp, bay scallops and sausage. Simmer for another 15 minutes.

Before serving, season with paprika, Cayenne, herbs, salt and pepper. Serve immediately.
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grace said...

frankly, minus the shrimp and scallops (i just don't like the stuff), your version of jambalaya is more appealing to me than the traditional stuff. nice adaptation, lucie!

Paris Pastry said...

I've never had Jambalaya, but I'm taking you up on that offer on using your metro-card for a day!

bake in paris said...

Jambalaya looks so delicious... this could be a very nice dish for a romantic dinner. In my case, I would have to skip the wheat berries and pray that it will still taste as good :-) Is it possible???

Sawade from Bangkok,

Barbara said...

Your Fambalaya (adore that name) is a super way to change tradition a bit. I do love wheatberries! I've had the "real McCoy" in New Orleans and as far as I'm concerned, the only difference I see is no chicken, the wheatberries and a few changes in seasonings. I like your adaptation.

Lucie said...

Grace and Barbara: Thanks! I was surprised at how much the wheat berries become completely moist and delicious in this dish.

Paris Pastry: any day!

Kris: It's delicious too with its original ingredient, rice!

Anonymous said...

Fambalaya! I think this is a whole new take on the original. I'd probably like this alot better tho!