With cooler Fall weather approaching and football season underway, I just have to share one of my favorite Fall picnic and tailgating recipes: Jambalaya!
This iconic Louisiana dish has many variations. Some folks use chicken, others add shrimp, or, as I do in this recipe, I often use just pork. The beauty of this crowd-pleasing dish is that it’s ok to use whichever ingredients you love.
Having been born in Louisiana, I am a purist when it comes to which kind of pork sausage to use: hands-down it has to be Andouille. This smoked Cajun sausage used to be hard to find outside the state of Louisiana but now most groceries carry it.
If for some reason you can’t easily find it in you local grocery, any smoked sausage is an acceptable substitute.
There are a few tricks to making a perfect jambalaya every time.
First and foremost, the pot you chose makes a difference. Jambalaya is best cooked in a cast iron pot. Whether traditional cast iron or enameled cat iron, the reason cast iron is preferred is because it distributes the heat evenly and holds the heat after cooking.
Use long-grain white rice. Short grain or brown rices just do not make a tasty jambalaya.
Finally, once you put your lid on the simmering the rice, do not touch it or stir it for at least 25 minutes. This will help ensure your rice is the perfect consistency.
Once the rice is tender and cooked through, serve this tasty dish with a French baguette just like they do down in Louisiana. Everyone at your table will be asking for seconds!
- 1/2 pound bacon (about 10 slices), cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 pound Andouille smoked sausage, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup finely diced yellow onion (1 small onion)
- 1/2 cup seeded and finely diced green bell pepper (1 small pepper)
- 1/4 cup finely diced celery (1 stalk)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 can (15-ounce) tomato sauce
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 3 cups uncooked white rice
In a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat, cook the bacon until lightly browned and the fat is rendered, about 3 minutes. Transfer the bacon to a plate. In the same pot, sauté the sausage until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes. Transfer the sausage to the plate with the bacon. Drain all but about 1 tablespoon of fat from the pot.
Add the onion, bell pepper, and celery and cook, stirring often, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, oregano, thyme, and bay leaves and sauté until the mixture is cooked down, about 5 minutes more. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
While the vegetable mixture is cooking, combine the tomato sauce and chicken stock in a separate pot. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat.
Add the rice to the vegetable mixture and sauté until translucent, about 3 minutes. Return the meats to the pot and stir to combine. Slowly pour the hot tomato and stock mixture into the jambalaya, stirring to combine evenly.
Bring the jambalaya to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the rice is tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed, about 30 minutes. Serve warm.
Serves 6 to 8.
Recipe reprinted with permission from The Southern Pantry Cookbook by Jennifer Chandler.