When I was cooking in New Orleans I learned a few of the regional dishes from the cooks I was working with. My father grew up in Louisiana, so when I was visiting my sister and brother-in-law with him on Father’s Day, I thought it might be nice to make Jambalaya to celebrate. Everyone enjoyed the meal and then requested the recipe so here it is.
- Rice (1- 1/2 cups of whatever type floats your boat)
- Chicken (a pound or two of dark meat) (Don’t complain to me if you use flavorless white meat and ruin the dish!!!)
- Andouille Sausage (About a pound- you can substitute other smoked sausage.)
- Shrimp, oysters, mussels, fish (Feel free to use any or all the seafood. I’m a poor traveler, so I usually skip the seafood. However, I’m looking forward to the success of my first travel cookbook next year and after I take in all the tens of dollars, you can bet shrimp and mussels will be in my celebration jambalaya!)
- Red bell pepper
- Green bell pepper
- Onion (or two)
- Celery (2-4 stalks)
- Garlic (3-6 cloves -depending on size of clove and who you’re cooking for)
- Olive oil (to sauté the veg and chicken)
- Tomato paste (half of one of the little cans)
- Worcestershire sauce (2 Tablespoons)
- Salt (2 Tablespoons)
- Pepper (1 Tablespoon)
- Paprika (2 – 3 teaspoons)
- Garlic powder (1 Tablespoon – and yes, there’s already fresh garlic going in, too!)
- Italian seasoning (2-3 Tablespoons, depending on how you feel)
- Bay leaf (2-3; one for the pot, one for the dish, and one to grow on)
- Green onions, for garnish (I like to hum Booker T & the M.G.’s while slicing the green onions.)
- Cube chicken and brown in olive oil over medium heat.
- Remove chicken and toss in the sliced sausage.
- Mmmm. Set aside the browned sausage with the chicken and get ready for the most important part of the process. (You might want to open a beer to keep you company for the next stage.) Add the following in order and cook for a few minutes before adding the next. Cook the onions, bell peppers, and celery over low to medium heat. Don’t rush cooking the aromatics. Trust me.
4. Circle the wagon of vegetables and make a place for your garlic to brown in olive oil. 5. Add the bay leaf, tomato paste, spices, Worcestershire sauce and about a cup of water. Cook for a few minutes and reintroduce your browned meats back into the pot.6. After a few minutes of listening to Hank Williams, add enough water for your rice. (Follow the instructions for the type of rice you’re using. I like to add a little more than called for.)
7. When the whole pot is simmering sweetly, add the rice and stir it in well.
8. Cook the rice until it is tender. (Be sure to stir the pot and check that you have enough liquid so nothing burns. If it does burn, just call it extra Cajun blackened jambalaya)
9. Garnish with green onion.