Vegetable Packed Jambalaya


I have not always been the biggest vegetable fan. In fact there was a time that my early 20’s self would not even buy onions even if a recipe called for them. Now onions, garlic, celery, carrots, kale, green beans, and brussels sprouts are just a few of the many things that are constantly on my grocery list. In an effort to be more health conscious, I try to spend as much time perusing the fresh food areas as I do the entire rest of the store. Sometimes I get a little carried away, so sometimes… I make this jambalaya. I attribute my new appreciation for vegetables to living in the South. The growing season is so long here that there is always an abundance of beautiful fresh fruits and veggies. And I have learned that Southern cooking is not about fried foods, it’s not even about barbecue or butter or pie. It is all about the veggies.

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Traditional southern cooks relied on a prolific harvest to feed their families. They also preserved these vegetables in many different ways so that they could eat all winter on what they grew in the summer. This is mind-boggling and so inspirational. It seems like we are so disconnected from our food. Especially with all the chemicals, plastics, and genetic modifications our food seems to be experiencing these days. I don’t know what it means for our health or the future of our food. But I do know that many people used to survive in the South mostly on what they grew in their own garden. And when you get back to this, and approach your home cooking with seasonal, fresh, local produce… something amazing happens to your relationship with food. Continue reading “Vegetable Packed Jambalaya”

Chicken Stock

Well I have no excuses for the lack of posts lately. The winter in NC just dragged on, I have worked way too many shifts in the ED, and I have not felt motivated in the kitchen. But I finally got a vacation!! My husband and I went to Asheville and it was glorious. Such a foodie town that provided so much inspiration. Not to mention, endless wonderful beers   and ciders. And insanely good chocolate that goes from bean to bar in the coolest little shop. But one of the most amazing things about Asheville is the locally sourced and natural foods. They have everything from the most amazing bakeries to whole animal butcher shops. It seems like the people of this city have really demanded a relationship with their food and they are reaping all of the rewards.
We were very inspired by our trip and have actually started brewing cider at home. My first 3 gallon cider project is bubbling up with fermentation as I write this post. (I will keep you all posted on the results.) This reminded me that I have been doing a different kind of home brewing for a long time now – homemade chicken stock. And you have to try it! It will change your life. Homemade chicken stock makes a huge difference in your recipes.

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You can really use any chicken parts. Below you will find the recipe with all purchased ingredients. But I recommend you start saving and freezing all your leftover chicken bones and carcasses. These contain valuable marrow and flavor that will make your stock so, so good. The stock is easily stored in the freezer. I like to freeze mine in quart ziplock bags, 2 cup portions. If you let them freeze flat they do not take up much room at all. They can be thawed in the fridge or microwave. You can cook this stock in a slow cooker for 6 hours on high or 10 hours on low.

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4 lbs chicken wings (or one whole 4 lb chicken, or 2 chicken carcasses)
2 large yellow onions, cut into quarters (or sweet onions, or one red onion and one yellow onion, plus or minus green onions)
4 garlic cloves, peeled
2 large carrots, chopped (or a handful of baby carrots)
2 celery ribs, chopped into fourths
1 tbsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
1 bay leaf
4 quarts water

Place all ingredients in a large stock pot. Bring to a boil. Cook for 3 hours. Taste for seasoning, add salt as needed. Strain with fine mesh sieve.

Yes, that is it.

This is a Bubbly Kitchen original recipe.