Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday) is upon us. I've already posted Grillades and Grits and now it's time for Jambalaya. There are as many recipes as there are bayous that crisscross the good state of Louisiana. This recipe is from Louisiana Real and Rustic - Emeril Lagasse. Emeril is one of the very few chefs that I don't mess with their recipes a lot. According to Emeril it is believed that the word comes from the French jambon, meaning ham, the African ya meaning rice, and the Acadian (or "Cajun") language where everything is a la. It is a article of faith that jambalays should - must - be brown, like this recipe. The brown color is achieved by caramelizing the onions and browning the sausage and chicken in a black cast-iron pot. In New Orleans and some other parts of the state, jambalays is often red, made so by adding tomatoes. That version may have, instead of chicken, ham and shrimp as well as sausage. The only common ingredient that all jambalayas have is rice. No matter which of the jambalayas you choose to make, the secret to tender, moist rice is the two-to-one ration of liquid to rice.
Get out the cast iron pot and lets get started
Andouille and Chicken Jambalaya
10 - 12 servings
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 cups chopped onion
1 cup chopped bell pepper
3 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 1/4 teaspoons cayenne pepper
1 pound andouille, chorizo, or other smoked sausage, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch slices
1 1/2 pound boneless white and dark chicken meat, cut into 1-inch cubes.
3 bay leaves
3 cups medium-grain white rice, uncooked
6 cups water
1 cup chopped green onions
1. Heat the oil in a large cast-iron Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onions, bell pepper, 2 teaspoons of the salt, and i teaspoon of the cayenne. Stirring often, brown the vegetables for about 20 minutes, or until they are caramelized and dark brown in color. Scrape the bottom and sides of the pot to loosen any brown particles. Add the sausage and cook, stirring often for 10 to 15 minutes, scraping the bottom and sides of the pot to loosen any browned particles.
2. Season the chicken with the remaining 1 teaspoon salt and remaining 1/4 teaspoon cayenne. Add the chicken and the bay leaves to the pot. Brown the chicken for 8-10 minutes, scraping the bottom of the pot to loosen any browned particles.
3. Add the rice and stir for 2 or 3 minutes to coat it evenly. Add the water, stir to combine, and cover. Cook over medium heat for 30 to 35 minutes, without stirring, or until the rice is tender and the liquid has been absorbed. Check this after 18-20 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and let stand, covered, for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove bay leaves.
4. Stir in the green onions and serve.
COOK'S NOTE: It takes less time to put this together than it does to read this damn recipe.