The Mardi Gras season ends Tuesday. Ash Wednesday and the more solemn events of the Lenten season are about to begin. Mardi Gras isn't a big deal out in California, but I have many friends in the New Orleans area and they have been celebrating for a while now! Someday I hope to join them. In the meantime, to keep in the spirit of this festive season, I made jambalaya.
Jambalaya is a Louisiana based dish, heavy on it's French and Spanish influences. It's quite similar to a Paella. It consists of meat and vegetables mixed with rice. Traditionally, the meat always includes sausage of some sort, often a smoked sausage such as andouille, along with some other meat or seafood, frequently pork, chicken, crawfish, or shrimp. The vegetables are usually a mixture known as the "holy trinity" in Creole and Cajun cooking, consisting of onion, celery, and green bell pepper, though other vegetables such as carrots, tomatoes, chilis, and garlic are also used. After browning and sauteeing the meat and vegetables, rice, seasonings, and broth are added and the entire dish is cooked together until the rice is done. You can use any kind of sausage, but spicy andouille gives the jambalaya a nice kick of heat. The jalapeno and Tabasco in this version adds even more heat, the Tabasco can easily be cut back to suit your taste buds.
This easily serves 6-8 people, so share with friends. Laissez les bons temps rouler!
Ham and Sausage Jambalaya
1 pound andouille or other smoked sausage
1 pound smoked ham, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 white onion, finely chopped
3 celery stalks, finely chopped
1 green bell pepper, cored, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, cored, finely chopped
3 plum tomatoes, seeded, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon finely chopped thyme
4 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken stock
3 cups long-grain rice, rinsed
4 bay leaves
10 dashes hot sauce (preferably Tabasco)
Freshly ground black pepper
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled, deveined
1/4 cup chopped scallions
1/2 cup chopped parsley leaves with tender stems, divided
Lemon wedges (for serving)
Cook sausage and ham in a large pot over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 12 minutes; transfer to a plate. Wipe out pot.
Melt butter in same pot over medium-high heat. Cook onion, celery, green pepper, red pepper, and 1 teaspoon salt, stirring frequently, until onion is transparent, 10-12 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, garlic, jalepeno, tomato paste, and thyme; cook until heated through, about 1 minute. Season with salt, if necessary.
Add chicken stock and bring to a boil. Stir in rice, bay leaves, and hot sauce. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Return to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, 15 minutes. Uncover and stir in reserved sausage and ham. Cook until heated through, about 5 more minutes.
Add shrimp, scallions, and 1/4 cup parsley. Stir a few times to allow shrimp to begin cooking, then cover pot, turn off heat, and let jambalaya sit until shrimp are cooked through, 15-18 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl, then top with remaining 1/4 cup parsley. Serve with lemon wedges alongside.
Source: Bon Appetit magazine