June 17, 2009

Jambalaya with Shrimp and Ham NOT HAM (CEiMB)

I am a notorious hater of ham. I know, I know...most people love ham. Not me. No way. No siree Bob. It is too pink, and slimy, and sweetish, and overly hammy....YUCK!!!! I just hate it. There is no convincing me otherwise. It is ironic that I will eat almost all other types of pork product. Not to mention, my deep and affectionate love of prosciutto de Parma.

(Don't bother to point out that prosciutto IS ham. I delude myself into thinking that prosciutto is a magical element all onto itself and not --cringe-- ham.)

The standard American ham is just not my friend. It does not make sense to a lot of people, but what can I tell ya...I am a question mark of a person sometimes.

When this jambalaya recipe popped up on my Craving Ellie in My Belly group it sounded really good...except for the...you know...ahem... --gag-- ham. I decided to give it a try and just substitute something else for my porcine nemesis. So, playing the part of slimy, disgusting, wretched --hiss-- ham will be a nice, non-threatening,well-mannered, spicy beef smoked sausage instead.

Trust me, it is just better that way.

Jambalaya with Shrimp and Ham NOT HAM
Adapted from: Ellie Krieger (2007)
CEiMB hosted by: Anonymous New York

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more, to taste
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more, to taste
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon tomato paste
6 ounces diced, smoked ham BEEF sausage
2 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can no-salt added diced tomatoes
1 cup uncooked long-grain white rice
1 pound peeled and deveined medium shrimp
Hot pepper sauce
Creole seasoning to taste (optional)

Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over a medium heat. Add the onion, peppers and garlic and saute until they begin to soften, about 10 minutes. Mix in the next 11 ingredients, salt through the diced tomatoes. Add Creole seasoning to taste. Bring to a boil. Stir in the rice, cover, reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until rice is done and most of the liquid is absorbed. Add the shrimp and cook, covered, for 5 minutes more, or until shrimp is cooked through. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Serve with hot pepper sauce.

The Result:
This is probably my favorite CEiMB meal recipe so far. This was really, really good!!! Some of the reviews on the Food Network website indicated that this dish was bland, so I adjusted it accordingly. I did not follow the quantity of spices and just did my own thing, but I stuck to the ingredients list. I pretty much took all the spice quantities and doubled them. Then, I just salted as I cooked so the whole dish would be properly seasoned. Yum. Also, I did not cook the rice in the jambalaya itself. I was afraid it would get all weird and gummy, and I just didn't want to take the chance of screwing the whole thing up. Instead I cooked it separately, then mounded it on top once in the serving dish. Whatever I did worked out perfectly, since this dish turned out spicy and delicious!!!

(Oh, and in case you are wondering...the beef hot links turned out to be a great substitution, which proves my point that --ick-- ham is totally vile and unnecessary.)

I will definitely make this recipe again. Great pick!!!


Anonymous said...

Now that is a true hate for ham. Good substitute.

nick said...

We really loved this one too (and doubled the spices).

Technically, prosciutto di parma is ham, but it is unsmoked and air dried for a year (or more) and differs in most every way from most "American" hams. If you like it, you should definitely check out San Daniele.

I'm not sure if you ever have, but if not I suggest you try cooking a fresh ham. No curing salt (no pink color) no smoking (combined w/curing salt probably attributes mostly to the flavor you don't like), and easy to make.

Also, not to be a spoil sport, but the same things mentioned above turn "commercial" bacon pink / generally ruin it as well. Not sure if you are into bacon though :)

Leslie said...

Way to go! I always love to see when someone changes the recipe to suit their likes/dislikes and comes up with a winner!

Sara said...

yeah, i am totally anti ham. Nick and his family always eat it for easter and it never looks appetizing. I used chicken sausage instead, much better. Yours looks great. I love a healthy mound of white rice.

slabounty said...

This looks really good. One question though. Should I double the spice as you've written it or has it already been doubled?

Jen B. said...

The recipe is written without the spices doubled...as Ellie Krieger wrote it. I would take the original recipe as posted and add/change spices to your liking. Good Luck!

slabounty said...

Thanks Jen. I just found your site and am trying the pizza casserole tonight. I'll give the jambalaya soon.