Mike

Creole Jambalaya

To me jambalaya is a fall or winter dish. I am always nervous or fidgety when LSU or the Saint’s or playing, so you might find me cooking Jambalaya while watching the game on TV to help me relax. It’s also fun to cook while sucking down a few beers at tailgate parties. This is my newest jambalaya recipe. I call it creole because it includes tomatoes and a more complex seasoning mix which contains thyme, oregano, and allspice. Sometimes I include shrimp, but I’ll save that for another post. If you don’t wish to make the seasoning mix, a store bought brand like Tony’s or Slap Your Mama will substitute just fine. I make my own seasoning for just about all my cooking because I believe it gives me more control of the flavors. Seasonings in a dish should be to your liking so feel free to tweak my recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 pound bacon, diced
  • ½ cup of oil
  • 1 pound andouille sausage, diced
  • 1 pound ground pork sausage, removed from casings
  • 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken thighs, roughly cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 pound pork roughly cut into 1-inch pieces I like to use boneless country style ribs
  • 1.5 cups of rice – converted rice such as Uncle Bens works best. If you use regular rice rinse it.
  • 3 cups of water or beef broth (I use water then add a couple spoonfuls of Better Than Bullion)
  • 2 large onions, diced
  • 2 bell peppers, seeded and diced
  • 1 jar of roasted red and/or yellow bell peppers sliced
  • 1 tbsp garlic, minced
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 1 can crushed or diced tomatoes
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped
  • 1 tbsp dried parsley. 2 if fresh

Seasoning mix

  • 2 tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp ground white pepper
  • 1 tsp ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp Dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp celery salt
  • 1 dash allspice
  • 1 Dash Crushed red pepper

Method

For this dish you’ll need a large pot. I used my number 12 black iron pot which is about 12” across with 5” sides. If you have a smaller pot, reduce the meat to ½ pound portions.

Heat the oil in the pot and brown the andouille sausage, stirring slowly with a long wooden spoon or a spade. While this is browning, go ahead and season the chicken thighs and pork chunks with about a tablespoon of the seasoning mix. Once the sausage is browned remove and set aside. Add the pork chunks to the pot, stirring, and cook until is becomes slightly seared, about 5 minutes.

After the pork is browned remove and set aside. Rendere the bacon (your choice whether to remove it or leaveit , but the rimnants sure are good on a slice of bread while cooking). Add the onions to the pot and allow them to caramelize, stirring for about 15 minutes. Add the green bell peppers, and garlic and cook for about 5 minutes. Continue stirring from time to time so that everything in the pot cooks evenly. Add the ground pork sausage and stir until browned. Return the set aside meats to the pot. Stir well

Next add the rice, bay leaves and a tablespoon or so of the seasoning mix and stir often for 3-5 minutes. You want the seasoning to coat the other ingredients and allow them to begin swapping flavors with each other. (Continue this step longer if there is a lot of liquid leftover from vegetables to allow the liquid to reduce.)

Increase the heat to high and add the tomatoes, roasted peppers and beef stock to the pot. Taste and add more seasoning if desired. Bring the pot to a boil. Reduce the burner to it’s lowest setting and put the lid on the pot. Don’t peak for 30 minutes. (A second option would be to place the pot in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes once it returns to a boil.)

After 30 minutes turn off the stove (or remove from oven) and remove the lid from the pot. Stir well, and then fold in the green onions and parsley. There will likely be about a ½ inch of liquid on top when you first remove the lid. Return the lid and let it rest for an additional 10 minutes. Remove the lid, fluff the jambalaya and serve.

How to rescue a jambalaya

Sometimes when a jambalaya is opened at the 30 minute mark there is too much water or more likely, the rice is crunchy. Don’t freak out. These problems are caused by an incorrect liquid to rice ratio. For crunchy rice stir in a cup more water and let it sit covered for 15 minutes. For too watery, remove the lid and let it sit for 15 more minutes.

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