So I’ve never been to New Orleans, my French is laughable
ask my girlfriend and the only Jazz I know comes from Louis Armstrong. But New Orleans has the sassiest interpretation of French Cuisine this side of the Atlantic! And while there’s plenty to geek out about that (I’m looking at you beignets, cafe au lait, GUMBO, and po’ boys!) its Jambalaya that takes your palate on a grove. Basically rice cooked with sausages, shrimp, and chicken, heavily seasoned and served with the holy trinity (bell peppers, onions, celery) it can range from mild to spicy and you get a punch of umami flavor in every mouthful.
I’ve been cooking this dish since high school french class, and since finding Paul Prudhomme and the treasure trove that Creole and Cajun cuisine are, every version of this dish has only gotten better. A few days ago, I was invited to a party of a few friends. 20 people later, my friend asks me to help him make a dish that can feed all of them.
We had this massive pot where I rendered bacon, and then used the bacon fat and butter to sautee the onions, bell peppers, celery, tomatoes, garlic, and chicken together. Adding the seasonings: smoked paprika, thyme, and oregano, and finally simmering it in chicken stock. Fresh herbs go a long way in making the aromas of this dish stand out. Finally, mounting a little butter for a light initial mouthfeel does the trick. I like it because it mitigates the spiciness of the dish and adds a creaminess to it as well. For some serious heat, use andouille sausage and generous hot sauce in the process. For this dish I used what was already on hand, regular smoked sausages, shrimp, and chicken.
20 people fed later, we still had more than half the pot of Jambalaya left! Even after second helpings and people taking it home. The morning after, we still had so much of it that it made sense to have it for breakfast. And adding a fried egg on top did not sound too far fetched, but that may have been the hangover talking….
And it was fantastic!
- 2 cups rice
- 1 cup onions small dice
- 1 cup bell peppers small dice
- 1 cup celery small dice
- 3 garlic cloves schopped
- tomatoes rough chopped
- 2 Chicken breasts
- 1 Cup shrimp
- 2 whole sausages (andouille for spicy)
- hot sauce
- 3 cups chicken stock
- Render the bacon and save the fat
- Add butter and saute the chicken breasts.
- Remove the chicken and add the vegetables. Saute until onions are translucent and add the paprika, oregano, and thyme.
- Add the rice and coat in the oils.
- Add the rest of the proteins (chicken, shrimp, and sausage)
- Cover with chicken stock and cook on low