Homemade Jambalaya

Last weekend, when it was 68 degrees and still August, I needed some comfort food. So I drug out my dutch oven and made something hearty.

Jambalaya.

Jambalaya used to be something I only ate in a restaurant, like it was a giant Southern mystery food, to be made properly by folks trained in the art. Then my March 2011 issue of Bon Appetit recipe arrived touting a recipe for jambalaya on the cover and I thought Maybe I could

I know people who reject recipes with more than 5 ingredients.

This one has 17. Four of them are meats, totaling just under four lbs.

The first time I made it, I used all the meat it called for, which was insane. The final product was meatastic and made vegetarians cry for a 20 mile radius.

I don’t make it that way anymore.

Instead, I stick to the bacon, chicken cutlets or thighs, one smoked or andouille sausage and shrimp. No meat or tofu would be good too.

You have to love a recipe that starts with bacon as the base.

You have to love a recipe that starts with bacon as the base.

There’s a lot of chopping to do with this recipe, so I employ my resident sous chef to help me out. I go large with the veggies, more than the recipe calls for: onions, celery, bell peppers, red, yellow, orange peppers, carrots, garlic.

Here are the ingredients chopped up and ready to add.

Here are the ingredients chopped up and ready to add.

I would like to point out that when the recipe calls for 3 10 oz cans of tomatoes and chiles, it means the cans where the tomatoes and chiles are combined.

NOT three 10 oz cans of tomatoes AND 3 10 oz cans of green chiles. Let me just say that would be a lot of chiles, if you happened to do it that way.

I also do not add the chili pepper or the cayenne because the girls and I like our taste buds to function. For those whose taste buds have been burned away from years of hot wings, I serve sriracha on the side.

Lastly, since we don’t eat white rice, I had to learn to simmer the pot for twenty minutes after adding the brown rice and before throwing it in the oven or the rice will be al dente. Or hard. Depends on your perspective, whether you’re the person who just spent three hours cooking it or the knows-too-much-for-his-own-good 9 year old sous chef in the house.

The recipe says 10 servings but it is way more than that for us. Everyone usually has seconds and then we eat it for lunch the next day too. It holds well in the pot, if you wanted to leave it there with a stack of bowls and some crusty bread, and let everyone help themselves. Perfect for lazy football Sundays.

All of this to say: Jambalaya—it’s not just for restaurants anymore.

Bon Appetit Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya (March, 2011)

12 oz applewood smoked bacon, diced

1 1/2 lbs smoked fully cooked sausage, cut into pieces

1 lb andouille sausage, cut into pieces

1/2 lb tasso or smoked ham, cut into cubes

1 1/2 lb onions, chopped (4 to 5 cups)

2 large celery stalks, chopped

1 8-10 oz green bell pepper, chopped

1 8-10 oz red bell pepper, chopped

6 large skinless boneless chicken breasts, cut into pieces

2 tablespoons paprika

1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped

1 tablespoon chili powder

1/4 teaspoon (or more) cayenne pepper

3 10 oz cans of tomatoes WITH green chiles

2 1/2 cups of broth (I use more like 3 1/2)

3 cups of rice

Preparation

  • Position rack in bottom third of oven and preheat to 350°F. Cook bacon in very large pot over medium-high heat until brown but not yet crisp, stirring often, 8 to 10 minutes. Add smoked sausage, andouille, and tasso. Sauté until meats start to brown in spots, about 10 minutes. Add onions, celery, and bell peppers. Cook until vegetables begin to soften, stirring occasionally, 10 to 12 minutes. Mix in chicken. Cook until outside of chicken turns white, stirring often, 5 to 6 minutes. Mix in paprika, thyme, chili powder, and 1/4 teaspoon cayenne. Cook 1 minute. Add diced tomatoes with chiles and broth; stir to blend well. Add more cayenne, if desired. Mix in rice.
  • Bring jambalaya to boil. Cover pot. Place in oven and bake until rice is tender and liquids are absorbed, 45 to 48 minutes. Uncover pot. Mix chopped green onions into jambalaya; sprinkle jambalaya with chopped parsley and serve.

 

 

 

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