This recipe will knock your socks off

Published 12:00 am Saturday, October 24, 2015

There are many theories about the origin of the name jambalaya. The words “jamon” in Spanish and “jambon” in French mean ham. Most jambalayas contain ham. Some say the word comes from American Indian language roots, and means more or less, “sweep the kitchen,” a name suggesting a way of using up whatever ingredients you might have on hand.


Whatever the origins, jambalaya is a distinctly French Louisiana creation. And, though there are two main types: Cajun and Creole (with all their variations), jambalaya is not quite like a rice dish in any other cuisine.

When cool weather comes and tailgating is the thing, one thinks of jambalaya. It serves a lot of people and it is tasty. One can use whatever is available and make it as spicy as you wish.

The October issue of ’Southern Living’ had an article on John Besh. He is the owner of 12 restaurants—10 in or around New Orleans. He has a new cookbook out which is a smaller, more usable book than his others which are like coffee table books. His new cookbook called, 101 Home Cooked New Orleans Recipes, has a recipe for jambalaya. He said his family had been using this version for generations. I had to give it a try and it was delicious. It takes a little over an hour to cook, but makes a lot of jambalaya-enough to last for many meals or for all your friends eating from your tailgate.


Taken from October 2015 issue of ‘Southern Living’


Creole Seafood Jambalaya

Serves 6-8

½ lb. bacon, diced

1 lb. fresh pork sausage, casings removed

½ lb. andouille sausage, diced

3 Tbsp. lard (I used olive oil)

4 skinned and boned chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch cubes

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1 large onion, diced

1 bell pepper, diced

3 celery ribs, diced

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 cups converted white rice

1 tsp. dried thyme

2 bay leaves

1 ½ Tbsp. smoked paprika

1 tsp. ground red pepper

1 Tbsp. celery salt

1 cup canned crushed tomatoes

2 cups basic chicken stock

1 ½ lb. raw white shrimp or other wild American shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 bunch green onions, chopped

Heat a large Dutch oven over high heat until hot, and then reduce to medium. (This will allow the heat to be uniform all over; preventing those little hot spots that are likely to burn.) Cook bacon, sausages, and lard in the hot pot, stirring slowly with a long wooden spoon, for 10 minutes. Season chicken thighs with kosher salt and black pepper. Add the chicken to pot, and cook, stirring often, 5 minutes or until chicken is brown.

Increase heat to medium-high. Add onion to pot, and cook about 15 minutes or until soft. Add bell pepper, celery, and garlic, and cook 5 minutes. Continue stirring occasionally so everything in the pot cooks evenly.

Add rice, thyme, bay leaves, smoked paprika, red pepper, and celery salt to pot, and cook, stirring often, 3 minutes. Increase heat to high, and add tomatoes and chicken stock. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover pot, and simmer 15 minutes.

After the rice has simmered for 5 minutes, fold in the shrimp and green onions. Turn off the heat, and let everything continue to cook in the hot covered pot 10 more minutes. Remove the lid, fluff the jambalaya, and serve.