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Recipe: Jambalaya

by Libdrone (writer), Pierce County, Washington, October 13, 2010

Credit: Jon Sullivan
Restaurant Jambalaya

"A little bit of this, a little bit of that."

It always amuses me a bit to hear about cooks in other parts of the world scrambling about to assemble a very long list of ingredients to make some restaurant's version of Jambalaya. While it is true that the best jambalayas contain lots of different kinds of seafood and meat, no sane Louisianian would Ever go out to buy, say 12 shrimp, a third of a pound smoked sausage, a third of pound chicken, a third of a pound duck, 6 oysters, etc. In Louisiana, jambalaya is something you make when you have a fridge full of left-overs that you need to clean out. Jambalya is truly an infinitely flexible recipe that you can make it with whatever ingredients you happen to have on hand. Here's what you do:

Assemble approximately 2 pounds of leftover meats and seafoods or veggies of any kind you happen to have on hand. Ham and shrimp? Delicious. Oysters and Sausage? Devine. Scallops and stewed tomatoes? It will taste great. Obviously, you will want to use some restraint-- broccoli would not be a good thing to put into jambalaya-- it would make the dish taste bitter. If you don't have leftovers to use buy a one pould kielbasa sausage at your MegaMart and a pound of your favorite cooked chicken, cut into eating sized pieces. (A grilled chicken from your MegaMart would work well here.)

Chop all of your meats and seafoods into bite sized pieces. Leave shrimp whole, but slice sausage and cut large oysters, scallops, etc in half or as needed.

Measure out three cups of rice. You can make this with brown or white rice as you prefer. If you are a brown rice fan, you are of course well aware that brown rice takes about three times longer to cook than white rice and will not painfully try to chew the hot crunchy kernels after just the 25 minute cooking time for the white rice has passed. Measure your rice into a large saucepan and measure six cups of water and add it to the rice. Set this pot aside.

In a skillet saute 1 small onion, 1 bunch green onions, 2 shallots, 2 stalks celery and 2 cloves garlic, all chopped in 1 tablespoon of butter combined with 1 tablespoon olive oil. The heat should be about medium. After about ten minutes, when the vegetables are translucent turn off the heat and add the sauteed aromatic vegetables to the rice pot.

Next add seasoning. You will certainly want to use generours amounts of Tony Chachere's seasoning, and if you like it Hot also Tobasco sauce. I would add 2 tablespoons sweet paprika, 1 teaspoon cumin, a half-teaspoon coriander and some chopped fresh parsley.

Finally, add the chopped meats and seafoods, stir well and begin cooking covered, over medium heat. Watch the pot closely, when it comes to a boil turn the heat down to LOW and set your timer for it's simmering time: if using white rice begin checking after 20 minutes of simmering. The dish is done when the rice is tender and most all of the water has been absorbed. Total cooking time may be 20--30 minutes. If using brown rice, begin checking after 80 minutes of simmering. Total cooking time make be 80--90 minutes.

Serve jambalaya in big soup bowls and pass around a loaf of crusty French bread and plenty of good butter. Jambalaya can make ordinary leftovers into a feast.

About the Writer

Libdrone is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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1 comments on Recipe: Jambalaya

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By HomeRearedChef on November 06, 2012 at 12:02 pm

Hello Libdrone! This looks amazing, and you make it sound so simple. In truth, I have never made Jambalaya, though I make rice dishes here at home all the time. I think I should try my hand at this one.

My husband loves Jambalaya (and my father who's now passed did too), he would always order it from The Louisiana Territory (used to exhist in Mt. View, CA), a Cajun restaurant we frequented a long time ago, but has been closed now for many years.

By the way, would you have a Shrimp Pirogue recipe you'd recommend? I loved that dish but haven't had it since that old Cajun restaurant closed. Thank you! ~Virginia

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