Good-for-Kwanzaa recipes

Posted: Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The seven days of Kwanzaa begins today and concludes New Year's Day. During each night, observers light the Mishumaa Saba: seven red, black and green candles, in a kinara (candleholder).

Each candle represents a distinct principle. The seven principles, or Nguzo Saba, are Umoja (unity), Kujichagulia (self-determination), Ujima (collective work and responsibility), Ujamaa (cooperative economics), Nia (purpose), Kuumba (creativity) and Imani (faith).

Harry Connick Jr.'s Jambalaya

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter

1 1/2 cups chopped onion

1 cup chopped celery

1 large green bell pepper, chopped

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thigh meat, cut in

1/2-inch pieces

3 tablespoons minced garlic

2 bay leaves

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon Creole seasoning

1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne

1/4 cup tomato paste

1 pound Andouille sausage or hot Italian sausage, but in

1-inch pieces

2 (14.5 ounce) cans diced tomatoes in juice

2 (14.5 ounce) cans chicken broth

2 1/2 cups long-grain white rice

1 cup diced, cooked ham

Salt and black pepper

In a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add the onion, celery and green pepper and saut until softened about 3 minutes. Add the chicken, garlic and seasonings and saut about 2 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste, then add the sausage and saut about 2 minutes more. Add the diced tomatoes with their juice, chicken broth, rice and ham and bring to a boil.

Cover with a tight-fitting lid and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook, covered, about 20 to 30 minutes more, or until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed.

Check near the end of the cooking time and add a little more water if more liquid is needed.

Remove bay leaves. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Serve with hot pepper sauce if desired. Makes 6 to 8 serving.

Kitchen Ade Note: It will take about 9 medium cloves of garlic to get 3 tablespoons of minced garlic. I found 2 tablespoons of garlic sufficient for this dish, but if you like a lot of garlic go for it.

Alonzo Mourning's Sweet Potato Pie

3 (about 2 1/2 pounds total) sweet potatoes, boiled until

soft, then peeled (4 cups pured)

12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened

1 1/2 cups sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

6 large eggs

1 teaspoon lemon extract

2 tablespoons vanilla extract

2 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk (not sweetened

condensed milk)

2 deep-dish 9-inch pie crusts

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place sweet potatoes and butter in a mixer bowl and beat on medium speed until combined. Add remaining ingredients except pie crusts and mix on medium speed until smooth. Divide mixture between pie crusts.

Bake for approximately 15 minutes. Then reduce heat to 350 degrees and continue baking about 40 minutes more, or until knife inserted midway between center and rim of pan comes out clean and pies are golden brown on top. Place pies on rack to cool. Makes two 9-inch pies, serving 12 to 16.

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