Saturday, April 24, 2010


On the highway between New Orleans and Baton Rouge is a small Spanish Canjun town, Gonzales, the Jambalaya Capital of the World. Since 1967, they have celebrated a Jambalaya Festival and this year it will be held May 27-30, 2010.

A rice dish descended from paella, Jambalaya is a great one dish meal. I especially love this dish on a cold Sunday afternoon and this past Sunday had that familiar bite.

Leftover Jambalaya, if there is any, is even better after it sits and the flavors have blended. It disappears quickly so if you are planning on feeding more than four, double the recipe.

One of the secrets of great jambalaya is the way the hot chicken or sausage coats and seals the rice so it keeps its texture during the long cooking while absorbing the flavors that surround it.

There are two basic styles of jambalaya, Cajun and Creole. If you travel the Louisiana countryside, you are not likely to find tomatoes, bell pepper, or celery in the jambalaya. The Cajuns call this brown jambalaya. Cajun jambalaya is generally made with chicken or pork with sausage and onions.

In New Orleans, jambalaya almost always contains seafood, onion, bell pepper, celery (known as "The Trinity") and tomatoes. This is known as Creole, or red, jambalaya.

Here is a really great recipe that I learned to cook at the New Orleans School of Cooking and its magnificent paired with cornbread.

¼ cup Oil

1 chicken, cut up

1 ½ lbs Andouille sausage (Sometimes I use turkey sausage when I am trying to cut the fat)

1 large ham slice, chopped

4 cups chopped onions

2 cups celery

2 cups green pepper

1 Tbsp chopped garlic

4 cups long grain rice

5 cups stock

2 heaping tsp salt

Joe’s Stuff seasoning to taste

2 cups chopped green onions

Season and brown chicken in oil over medium heat. Add sausage to pot and sauté with chicken.

Add a heaping Tbsp brown sugar to the hot oil and caramelize, make a roux or use Kitchen Boquet (1-2 Tbsp). Add rice and return to a boil. Cover and reduce and simmer. Cook a total of 30 minutes. After 10 minutes of cooking, remove cover and quickly turn rice from top to bottom completely, Add green onions.

Bon Appetit!