I do all my cooking – and dishes – outside now. It’s kind of like camping, with real beds.
The grill is my new BFF. Really, it’s amazing what you can do on it. I’m wondering if I even need a stove. I’m getting so used to cooking in my back yard that I might not want to go back into my kitchen even if it does miraculously get finished. This morning I made jambalaya on it.
I came across this recipe called “camping jambalaya” – I don’t know what kind of crazy camping cooks are out there, but I’m not this ambitious when I’m cooking over a campfire and sleeping in a tent. To me, camping is an excuse to eat hot dogs and Cheezies. I’m pretty sure you won’t find me mincing garlic at a campsite any time soon. However. You can grill the meat bits (sausage, chicken and shrimp) on the barbecue, and the rest of the bits in your cast iron skillet on the barbecue, then simmer the lot together with rice and tomatoes and stock and turn out a pretty decent meal without heating up the house, or while you have a gaping chasm where your kitchen used to be.
(This is noticeably lacking chicken – only because when I went to get the thighs from the freezer, the frostbitten bag wasn’t actually chicken thighs. I need to learn to label my freezer packages. The jambalaya was still delicious.)
Jambalaya on the Grill
Adapted from Brad’s Campsite Jambalaya in Bon Appétit.
canola or olive oil, for cooking
1 lb skinless, boneless chicken thighs
1 lb. garlic or farmers’ sausage
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2-3 celery stalks, chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 pint cherry tomatoes, some halved, some whole (or a couple of diced tomatoes)
1 cup long-grain white rice
2 tsp. each garlic powder, oregano and paprika
a few sprigs of thyme
2 bay leaves
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 lb raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
a handful of chopped flat-leaf parsley or cilantro
Preheat the grill to medium-high and set a large, heavy cast iron skillet directly on grate. Place the chicken thighs and sausage on the grill alongside it and cook, turning, until charred and cooked through. Remove to a wood cutting board and when it’s cool enough to handle, cut into bite-sized pieces.
Meanwhile, add a drizzle of oil to the skillet, and when it’s hot add the onion, bell pepper, celery, and garlic. Cook, stirring often, for 4-5 minutes or until softened. Add the tomato paste and cook for another minute, then stir in the tomatoes, scraping up browned bits. Mix in the rice, spices, thyme and bay leaves. Add the stock; season with salt and pepper and bring to a simmer. Move the pan to a cooler spot (or reduce the heat), cover with foil, and simmer until almost all the liquid is absorbed, 20–30 minutes.
Season shrimp with salt and pepper; quickly cook on the hot grill, then mix into the rice along with the chicken and sausage. Toss to combine and top with parsley.