12/07/2012

Jambalumbo!

Jambalumbo!

The meeting of Jambalaya and Gumbo ...

Originating in the Caribbean and itself a kind of fusion dish taking some Spanish influence, Jambalaya is a Louisiana Creole dish of meat or fish, the trinity of onion, celery and pepper, and rice.

The Creole method uses tomatoes, too, and so differentiates itself from the Cajun method which does not.

Gumbo is most definitely Cajun, again, based around meat or fish and the trinity of onion, celery and pepper, thickened with the West African plant, okra.

Gumbo begins with a roux of flour and fat, which is simmered on until deep brown in colour.

That gives us paleo people a challenge ...

I began with a good amount of coconut oil and coconut flour. This browned quickly and gave the colour I was looking for but not the initial thickening of a traditional roux. No issue - we'll be thickening with the okra anyway.

Once finished, the coconut flour gave the dish a rather gritty texture, which was not unpleasant and perhaps that certain je ne sait quoi which added to the experience. Next time, I'll try a nut flour.

So, with the dark roux in place, soften some chopped onion, chopped green pepper and chopped celery.

Once softened, toss in some small brown shrimp and warm through.

Next, pieces of fish - I had some smoked cod and some coley in. Not authentic to the dish, but certainly good ingredients; the smoked fish just added to the overall smoky flavour.

Pour in some chopped tomatoes and some water, some sea salt and ground black pepper, pepping it up further with cayenne pepper or chillies.

Here, you can deviate and not use tomatoes to go with a straight-up Cajun gumbo with some stock and the okra.

In goes the okra ... this is a gumbo.

Fusing the dish with Jambalaya, I sprinkled in some arborio rice and topped up with some water, leaving it to simmer until the rice was cooked, the dish slightly reduced and thickened; certainly wetter than Jambalaya and perhaps thicker than gumbo.

Arborio rice echoes the original Spanish influence, aping it's European ancestor: paella.

Rice is not paleo. Many paleo eaters are finding that some white rice is acceptable in their diets. White rice is pretty much a good pack of simple starch; huskless, the seed is far less harmful.

Want it a bit more pure paleo? Use cauliflower rice. Simple.

Just for some additional fusion, I served with with a German Potato Salad alongside (think, Des Allemands?) which worked out great as spoonfuls were heaped into the middle of this hot, smoky, vibrant stew.

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