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Jambalaya Salad

Here's one that should have the guests toe-tapping. It's jambalaya, a hallmark of Creole cooking with something for every taste. Technically, it s not a chicken salad, but deliciousness overrules that minor fact. The recipe is easily doubled and is a great crowd-pleaser.

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium onions, chopped
4 cups chicken broth
Small piece bay leaf
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon crushed hot pepper flakes
2 cups long-grain white rice
4 medium red bell peppers, (2 cut into 3/4-inch dice, 2 sliced into thin rings)
2 medium green bell peppers, cut into 3/4-inch dice
1 bunch of scallions, thinly sliced
1 1/2 pounds cooked medium shrimp, shelled and deveined
2 cups diced ( 3/4-inch) cooked chicken
2 cups diced ( 3/4-inch) cooked ham
1 cup Jambalaya Dressing (recipe follows)
15 to 16 cups shredded iceberg lettuce

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat until hot. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add broth, bay leaf, thyme and hot pepper.

Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add rice and stir briefly. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook until liquid is absorbed and rice is just tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Discard bay leaf. Transfer rice to a large bowl and let cool.

When rice is room temperature, add diced red and green bell peppers, scallions, shrimp, chicken, ham and dressing. Toss until well mixed. Arrange lettuce on a large serving platter. Top with jambalaya rice and garnish with red pepper rings. Serves 12.

Jambalaya Dressing

3 tablespoons white vinegar
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 egg
1 teaspoon black pepper
Pinch cayenne
Pinch salt
3/4 cup mild-flavored olive oil

Combine vinegar, mustard, egg, pepper, cayenne and salt in a food processor or blender. Blend well. With machine on, gradually drizzle in oil until mixture thickens. Refrigerate until ready to use. Makes about 1 cup.

"365 Main-Course Salads"

Thursday, June 03, 1999

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