Louisiana Jambalaya

2007-11-10_jambalayaTo me, Jambalaya is a personal preference kind of dish – everyone has their own version.  Rule of thumb:  usually your liquid and your rice are of equal amounts. Some people use converted rice – I don’t.  Also, some like a more brown jambalaya and some like theirs more red with tomato sauce/puree.  Regardless of whether you put tomato sauce/puree in yours or not, this is an easy, tasty, comfort dish that originated in Louisiana.  Play around with your ingredients – i.e. shrimp, oysters, crabs, fish, chicken, ham, sausage, or just vegetables.  You can’t make a mistake.  Historically, Jambalaya is the French/Cajun version of Paella, a Spanish dish.

This recipe serves about 10.

1/2 cup butter

3 cups finely chopped onions

2 cups finely chopped celery

1-1/2 cups finely chopped green peppers

1-1/2 cups chopped tasso  (you can use regular smoked ham if tasso is not available)

1-1/2 cups chopped andouille smoked sausage (you can use Kielbasa if andouille is not available)

36 large shrimp, uncooked, deveined and shelled

1 cup boneless chicken, raw, diced

8 medium-size tomatoes, chopped

1 cup tomato sauce or puree  (optional – will make your sauce more red)

4 bay leaves

1 tablespoon oregano

1/2 teaspoon thyme

1/2 teaspoon Cavender’s seasoning

1 tablespoon Cajun Seasoning  (Konrico is my favorite-it seems to have less salt.)

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1-1/2 teaspoons Tabasco

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

2-1/2 cups uncooked rice

2 cups hot chicken or fish stock and 1 or 2 cups of hot water  (if you eliminate the 1 cup tomato sauce/puree, use 2 cups water)

In a large dutch oven or cast iron pot, melt butter over medium heat.   Add 1-1/2 cups onions, 1 cup celery and 3/4 cup bell peppers. Cook about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Browning your onions at this step will make your sauce richer.

Add the tasso, andouille, chicken, and remaining 1-1/2 cups onions, 1 cup celery and 3/4 cup bell peppers.  Cook 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the tomatoes, tomato sauce/puree (optional), bay leaves, oregano, thyme, Greek seasoning, Worcestershire sauce, Cajun seasoning, garlic and Tabasco. Simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Turn heat to high, fold in uncooked rice.

Add hot chicken or fish stock and hot water, bring to boil, cover pot and remove from heat. Let stand, covered, 15 minutes.

Return saucepan to medium heat, add shrimp and cook covered for 4 minutes.

Remove from heat and let stand, covered, until rice is tender, about 10 minutes.

Remove bay leaves and serve immediately.  Can also sprinkle each bowl with chopped green onions.

jambalya potThis is an excellent jambalaya pot for large batches.  My dad made ours at the steel foundry where he worked.  We call it the POA pot.  My dad put his initials on the pot – Pleasant O’Neal Adley.  We still use this pot today.

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