Slow Cooker Jambalaya & 2017 Andrew Murray Syrah Tous les Jours

Jambalaya is a dish with West African & French Provençal roots and tinged with a Spanish influence. The dish typically consists mainly of “meat” and vegetables mixed with rice.  It’s nearly impossible to exaggerate how great this recipe is, and more critically, the ease of its assembly. This dish is as close to “idiot proof” as it gets.  It’s trickier to make a decent peanut butter & jelly sandwich!  I am confident that there are other ways to make Jambalaya without using a slow cooker.  But why?  Why add complications to your life on a “football Sunday” when the path to culinary happiness is a straight line from “put everything into the slow cooker before game time, turn it on and forget it ‘til the last 15 minutes when it’s time to add the final ingredient and cook the rice”.  Dinner served at half time of the second game!!

For wine I was looking for something that offered good fruit flavor, brightness on palate, nicely textured, but not “voluminous”.  A wine that has a clean finish and that would encourage the next forkful of Jambalaya. I found it in a modest Syrah produced by Andrew Murray Vineyards.  A Cru Beaujolais would also do well here (e.g. Morgon or Moulin-à-Vent), as would a Rhône Blanc.

Andrew Murray Syrah Tous les Jours ’17 (Santa Ynez Valley, CA)
The 2017 Syrah Tous Les Jours is supple, fruity and delicious, not to mention an incredible value. Dark cherry, plum, lavender and spice are all pushed forward. There is so much to like about the Tous Les Jours, including its modest price. Once again, the Tous Les Jours over delivers big time. 90pts Wine Advocate

{for the wine video, click on this link}

6 ounces of Tanqueray Gin
½ ounce of Noilly Pratt Dry Vermouth
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into fork-sized chunks
1 lb andouille sausage cut into 1” slices
1 large onion chopped
1 red bell pepper sliced
2 stalks celery thinly sliced
2 cups chicken broth
½ tsp dried thyme
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tbsp Cajun seasoning
½ tsp cayenne pepper
1 lb shrimp

1. Put gin and vermouth into a glass pitcher, fill with ice, stir vigorously while incanting, “You who know all, thank you for providing us juniper and all the other obscure ingredients responsible for creating this sacred liquid!” Strain into a pre-frozen Martini glass of admirable size.  Skewer the olives on one of those tacky cocktail swords, place in glass. Immediately begin consuming.  Now you can begin the food prep, and the cooking!

2. Add all the ingredients (except for the shrimp) into the slow cooker and stir.

3. Cook on low for 7-8 hours, or on high for 3-4 hours.

4. Swim 3500 yds & walk 7 miles (or watch the football game)

5. In the last 15 minutes of cooking add in the shrimp

6. Serve over rice.

n.b. With regards to the rice:  classically, recipes call for rice to be cooked with the ingredients, unlike Gumbo and Étouffée which is served over rice. That said, I loved this atypical approach for Jambalaya. Next, the shrimp: the bigger the better.  Also, I don’t peel and devein shrimp before cooking.  It’s an excuse for me to plunge my fingers into the food. 

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