SHORTCUT SEAFOOD JAMBALAYA: A Fragrant, Delicious and Most Importantly, Easy Dinner
Updated: Nov 18, 2020
After a busy day, and especially now that it gets dark earlier, I’m not always motivated to cook. Sometimes all I want to do in the evening is make an easy dinner, drink some wine, walk the dog, then snuggle up on the couch with SLF and watch “The Missing” on Amazon Prime or “The Undoing” on HBO for a couple of hours. Anyone else feeling that?? Although I usually love to cook, on these days complicated recipes, an hour of hands-on cooking and tons of dishes—totally not on my radar!!
Tonight was one of those nights. My original plan was to do something with the handful of frozen shrimp languishing in the freezer, or maybe panfry the two little grouper fillets a friend gave us. But that would require figuring out a whole grain carb to stretch out the fish, and then digging around the refrigerator for some veg to keep the man happy—I just wasn’t into it all.
Instead, I pulled out a jar of Jambalaya Starter Sauce we picked up on a whim at the market last week. After starting a pot of brown rice simmering, I poured tepid water into the bag with the six frozen shrimp, then sliced the grouper into bitesize pieces. The refrigerator yielded a zucchini, a red bell pepper and one stray poblano pepper (a mild, dark green chili) all of which I sliced into thin pieces.
When the rice was 20 minutes ETA, I heated some olive oil on medium high in a cast iron skillet, and sautéd the veggies, stirring occasionally, then set the table and poured the wine. About ten minutes later, the veggies were softened, and some were beginning to caramelize. I dumped the whole jar of Jambalaya Starter Sauce into the skillet and brought it all to a simmer. At rice ETA of 10 minutes, I stirred in the grouper, and a couple minutes later the now unfrozen shrimp, then slapped a lid on the skillet. By the time the rice was ready, so was the jambalaya.
I served the spicy, fragrant jambalaya in large soup bowls over a generous scoop of rice. That’s it--no salad, no bread. Healthy, filling, easy and very delicious--we actually had enough leftovers for tomorrow!
The whole process couldn’t have been easier. Although the rice took about 45 minutes to cook, slicing and sautéing a few veggies, then adding the jarred sauce and fish only took about 25 minutes. Also, this dinner created very few dishes: one skillet, one lidded pot for the rice, a small bowl, a cutting board and knife. That’s it!!
So on those days when you’ve worked, supervised your kids' schooling, cleaned the house and/or done a hundred loads of laundry, do yourself a favor: make Shortcut Seafood Jambalaya. You can thank me later!
-I used Cajun Style Jambalaya Starter Sauce from Bristol Farms; DeDe's Cajun Cuisine Jambalaya Starter Sauce (https://www.amazon.com/Dedes-Cajun-Cuisine-Jambalaya-Starter/dp/B00DIQEFTU) is another choice that might be easier to find.
-Be careful not to overcook the veggies—you want them to retain their shape and some texture.
-Also be careful not to overcook the fish or shrimp—they don’t take long when immersed in a simmering sauce!
-Use whatever veggies you have hanging around that complement the ingredients in your jarred Jambalaya Sauce. The sauce I used had the traditional tomatoes, peppers, celery, chiles, garlic, parsley flakes and salt, so there was already a lot of flavor, but adding zucchini and two types of peppers made the whole thing healthier, more appealing and delicious!