Any really good Southern cook knows that the key to mouthwatering Cajun and Creole cuisine is the "Holy Trinity." Yes, the reliable regional partnership of onions, bell pepper, and celery has held steady as the signature base of most Louisiana-style recipes since the mid-1700s, and jambalaya — Louisiana's spicy, bold take on the Spanish paella — is no exception. But what if another, more unexpected ingredient could amp up your jambalaya recipe and take it to the next level of toasty flavor? Turns out there is one, and you might just have it in your kitchen pantry already — instant coffee.
That's right, folks, coffee is useful for more than just giving you that daily morning or afternoon caffeine fix — it turns out that adding dissolvable instant coffee crystals to your jambalaya may just pack it with that robust, flavorful punch you never knew it needed.
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How To Add Instant Coffee To Your Jambalaya
The good news is that adding instant coffee as the secret ingredient to a great jambalaya is relatively simple. After you make your favorite jambalaya recipe, add a pinch of instant coffee crystals at the end, just before you stir in your rice. (For clarity, the exact measurement of a "pinch" of an ingredient is generally just the amount you'd pick up between your thumb and index finger. This measurement is commonly used for dry ingredients that have intense flavors that can easily overpower dishes when added in excess, such as salt and, in this case, instant coffee.) So all you need is a mere pinch to liven your jambalaya up with that deep, toasty flavor, tone down the sweetness of the tomatoes, complement the spices, and balance out the overall taste.
And there's no need to worry that this jambalaya will give you the jitters. Because of its process of being made, in which coffee beans are brewed, concentrated through evaporation, then freeze-dried and broken into granules, instant coffee has a lower caffeine content than freshly brewed coffee.
Other Unexpected Uses For Coffee In Food
You may be pleasantly surprised to learn that jambalaya isn't the only dish instant coffee can elevate. Meat and poultry eaters can rejoice that instant coffee also contains natural acids and enzymes that help it to tenderize meat, turkey, and chicken, and used coffee grounds can be rebrewed and used as a marinade, offering your meats an earthy flavor. According to Healthline, "Simply add used coffee grounds to your favorite dry-rub recipe and apply the rub to the meat two hours before cooking," so the meat will crisp up nicely.
Instant coffee can also be utilized during baking and added beautifully to a brownie or tiramisu recipe to intensify its flavors, as well as oatmeal with chocolate in it for a mocha taste. It can even be added to any baking batter that could use a slight bitterness to balance out the brown sugar. So don't be afraid to experiment — you just might create magic.
Read the original article on Daily Meal.