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Feb 24, 2018
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Intelligent Content For The Food Fascinated
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SERVING SAINT LOUIS SINCE 1999
Vegetize It
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Bam! Jambalaya Goes Veg
By Kellie Hynes | Photo by Kristi Schiffman
Posted On: 01/01/2013   


It’s the crisper’s fault. I want to eat healthy, veggie-filled meals. But contrary to its name, my refrigerator drawer only offers up squishy greens. I mean, they’re probably safe, but they might kill me, and who wants that drama on a Sunday night?

Imagine my relief to discover Cajun cuisine – an entire genre dedicated to transforming the inedible (crocodile, crawfish, okra) into dinner. And it’s effortless. My slacker jambalaya recipe goes something like this: Saute all the wilted vegetables I can find, add a can of veggie broth, serve over rice. Bam! I’ve channeled my inner-Emeril and cleaned out the fridge.

If Slacker Jambalaya is good, what would Over-Achieving Jambalaya taste like? I decided to find out. Spoiler alert: It’s pretty amazing.

First, I made homemade vegetable broth. Do NOT roll your eyes. Homemade broth is a billion times tastier than the canned stuff. If you can chop vegetables into small pieces to better extract the yumminess, you can make your own broth. And if you double the recipe, you can freeze the extra in useful 8-ounce portions.

Second, I added a cup of dark beer. Not only is it an excuse to drink while you cook, but dark beer gives vegetarian jambalaya the hearty umami taste normally associated with meat.

Which brings me to my third tip for jambalaya awesomeness: Use Match meat. I know, I know, I swore I would never use meat substitutes. But I also swore I would never wear comfortable shoes, and look where I am now (pampering my feet, that’s where). At some point you have to put on the granny panties and admit that there’s a time and a place for everything, including soy sausage. The Match Italian sausage is no andouille, but it comes decently close. And I’m going to eat my words, right after I saute the contents of my crisper.

Vegetable Stock
Makes 4 cups

INGREDIENTS

1 large onion, skin removed
2 celery stalks, with leaves
1 large carrot, peeled
1 large parsnip, peeled
1 oz. dried shiitake mushrooms
4 cups boiling water
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. freshly minced garlic
6 sprigs fresh thyme
6 sprigs fresh parsley
2 fresh bay leaves
½ tsp. fleur de sel
4 cups cold water

PREPARATION

• Chop the onion, celery, carrot and parsnip into uniform ¼- to ½-inch pieces. Set aside.
• Place the mushrooms in a large bowl and cover them with the boiling water. Set aside.
• Heat the oil in a Dutch oven set over medium-high heat. Add the chopped vegetables and saute them, stirring occasionally, for 10 to 15 minutes, or until they are very brown. Add the garlic and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
• Add the mushrooms and their soaking water along with the thyme, parsley, bay leaves, fleur de sel and cold water. Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 1 hour.
• Strain, reserving the broth and discarding the rest.

This broth will keep, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or frozen for up to 3 months.

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