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Capt. Tommy Thompson's Saltwater Angler's Guides

Stuff Your Peppers With Tasty Jambalaya

by on May.25, 2014, under Recipes and Food

Until I tried this seafood recipe, I considered bell peppers merely a dressy vehicle for serving “Hamburger Helper” to a crowd of hungry kids.  But when stuffed with a shrimp and sausage version of Creole jambalaya, this simple dish reaches new heights and is worthy of a place at even the most upscale dinner table.

While jambalaya’s heritage is Caribbean, it can now be found throughout the American south, often varying in style and taste from one small town to the next.   Some versions are veggie-heavy and tomato-red; others look less vivid—but all are centered about the key ingredients of long-grain rice and sausage.  In my version, onion, garlic, celery and tomatoes set the stage for the sausage and shrimp, but unlike some recipes I’ve seen, I don’t use bell peppers as part of the jambalaya mix.  I prefer to sweeten each spicy bite with a chunk of the “pepper package” as I proceed in clearing my plate.

Basing a meal with rice–or pasta–has always been a convenient way to stretch a little bit of meat or seafood a long way.  However, my recipe relies on plenty of sausage and shrimp.  Use only the freshest shrimp you can find and pick a sausage that suits your palate.  Andouille can be hot and spicy and if your family or guests have less-than-cast iron stomachs, consider using something less fiery.   Specialty sausages made with chicken or turkey also work well, as do chunks of Florida lobster or bay scallops.   But in any case, expect kudos for this filling and tasty entrée.

Shrimp and Sausage Jambalaya Stuffed Peppers

3 tbs. olive oil

1 jalapeno pepper

1 small yellow onion

3 garlic cloves

2 stalks celery

3 tsp. Creole seasoning (Tony Chachere’s is the best.)

2 springs fresh thyme

2 bay leaves

2 tbs. tomato paste

1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes

4 cups chicken stock

1 pound spicy Andouille sausage, thinly-sliced (I buy Savoie’s at Publix.)

2-1/2 cups long-grain rice

1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined

6 large red bell peppers, tops cut off, seeds and ribs removed

Tabasco sauce

Heat olive oil in a large stockpot over medium heat, Then sauté finely chopped (in a food processor or by hand) jalapeno pepper, onion, garlic and celery until transparent.  Add Creole seasoning, thyme, bay leaves, tomato paste, tomatoes, chicken stock and sausage and bring to a boil.  Add rice, stir, cover pot and reduce heat to simmer for about 15-minutes.  Add shrimp to the mix and cook about 5 minutes, or until the rice has absorbed all the liquid and the shrimp are no longer translucent.

While the rice mix is cooking, pre-heat oven to 350-degrees.

Discard bay leaves and thyme stalks.  Stuff bell peppers with jambalaya mixture and apply a splash of Tabasco.  Place in oven, on middle rack, and bake about 30-minutes or until peppers are fork-tender.  At the table, add a sprinkle of Creole seasoning and let everyone dig in!

Serves 6

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