When I think Mardi Gras, I think New Orleans, southern cooking, spice, fatty, indulgent, and delicious. With Fat Tuesday, and Mardi Gras celebrations throughout this week, I decided to skip all the king cakes I've been seeing around in the windows of the local bakeries, and go instead for a paleo jambalaya, full of spice, good fats, and veggies.
Never making a jambalaya before, I Googled (yeah, I love that that is a verb now) several recipes, and learned there are VERY different types of jambalaya, probably tasting the same at the end, but different in the order in which the ingredients are added. I took the middle ground.
I went straight in, first creating a roux, "the mother sauce", as I found many pages expanding the important of a roux in cajun cooking. Next I added my veggies- some onion, and colored peppers for some sweetness, and finally my "rice" (cauliflower) and protein (chicken sausage).
I have to be honest, I always tell myself "this is the best thing I've ever made, like better than the last thing that I thought was the best ever." but this one really takes the (king)cake. Check out the recipe below and catch a glimpse of why this was quickly a favorite.
You will need:
1 small head of cauliflower
half a diced onion
3-4 or 1-2 large red/yellow/orange sweet peppers
2-4 sausages (I used a clean, additive, hormone, sugar free chicken variety from the grocery)
3 tbsp bacon grease, or any other fat of choice
2 tbsp Zocalo Sweet Potato Flour
1 tbsp Pure Indian Foods Ghee
Real Salt, Pepper
Optional: stewed tomato, or 1-2 tbsp tomato paste diluted in 1/4 cup water
First, in a large pot (with lid!) melt ghee and bacon grease over medium until HOT! Carefully add in the flour, (be sure not to let yourself get splashed with the hot grease) and begin stirring feverishly. Again, be very careful here not to splash, this stuff is dangerously hot.
Keep stirring and allow the mixture to bubble a bit, all the while stirring. It will start to get a little darker as it cooks. Some rouxs go 20-30 minutes, I read. I did about 5-10 max. If it begins to burn or start smoking, turn down the heat. If it begins to stick, keep stirring!
Next, carefully add in peppers and onion, coating them in the mixture. I turned down the heat a little at this point, and let cook until beginning to soften. Now add in your riced cauliflower, spice, salt, and pre-cooked sausage. Stir together very well and let simmer.
If you notice the mixture is very thick, you can add a little tomato, tomato paste, or puree to thin out a bit. I mixed a tablespoon or two of tomato paste with a little water when mine got too thick. Cover, checking regularly, and cook on low for as long as you'd like, to let the flavors meld.
If you have any leftovers (you probably won't, this stuff goes quick) you might see a layer of fat around the top- just reheat before serving in a skillet.
There you have it! No gluttonous Fat Tuesday here, just real food.