By Philip S. KampeSpecial to iBerkshires Print | Email
A Recipe for Jambalaya
Are you tired of serving the usual food each year at your "Super Bowl" get-together?
Why not consider making Sunday night a special night by serving homemade jambalaya? According to "Food History," jambalaya originated in southern Louisiana.
The Cajuns lived near the bayou where food was scarce, as opposed to the agriculturally richer part of the state.
The origins of the word jambalaya are obscure; some say it is a compound word, jambon from the French, meaning ham and aya, meaning rice in an African language. Common belief is that it originated from the Spanish paella, which also has been transformed into a rice dish.
The pronunciation is jum-buh-LIE-uh.
In the past, jambalaya was always made a bit differently each time because the ingredients changed with the seasons.
Today, with the numerous markets in our area, it is easy to pick up all the necessary ingredients at the same time.
Jambalaya can be made with (separately or all together) ham, chicken, sausage, fresh pork, shrimp, mussels, clams and oysters, to which is added rice, onion, celery, peppers, spices and other ingredients.
Starting with church fairs, which were the largest public gatherings at the turn of the last century, jambalaya emerged from small quantity indoor cooking to become the ideal dish for outdoor cooking over a hardwood fire. Big black cast iron pots made preparation so easy and economical for church use that jambalaya was rapidly adopted for political rallies, weddings, family reunions and other affairs in parts of the South.
Today, in Gonzales, La., area cooks have created the Jambalaya Festival and World Champion Jambalaya Cooking Contest.
Gonzales is the "Jambalaya Capital of the World."
My family has made jambalaya for over 60 years.
I am originally from New Orleans and would love to share our adopted family recipe, especially for a Super Bowl party on Sunday.
Peyton Manning grew up in New Orleans and is known to be a big jambalaya fan.
(Remember, all ingredients can be purchased locally)
INGREDIENTS for 6-8 people:
3 cups long grain rice
3 cups chicken broth
4 tbs. olive oil
3 tbs. butter
1 pound kielbasa, chorizo or sausage (spicy preferred)
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 pound medium to small peeled shrimp
1 pound of fresh mussels or clams
1 large scallion sliced
1 large onion diced
2 cups diced celery
2 large peppers (red, yellow or green) cored and diced
3 large tomatoes diced and seeds removed
4 cloves of diced garlic
3 jalapenos diced with seeds removed
2 tbs. dried oregano
2 tbs. dried thyme (fresh if you have it)
4 bay leaves
1 can tomato tomato paste
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
½ cup of parsley
1 lemon juiced
Zest of one lemon
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat a large pot, sauté pan or paella pan over medium heat. Add a tablespoon of oil and add sausage and sauté for 10 minutes.
Take out of pan and set aside. Add the chicken to the same pot and cook until brown on all sides.
Do not overcook.
Remove chicken and add butter and rest of oil. Lower heat and add onions, celery and pepper to the pot and cook until translucent. Add the tomatoes, garlic, jalapenos, oregano, thyme and tomato paste and stir. Cook 5 minutes and add chicken broth. Bring to a broil and add rice, sausage, chicken, bay leaves, salt and pepper. Stir.
Lower heat, simmer and cover for 20 minutes.
When finished take off lid, turn off heat and add shrimp, mussels or clams, lemon zest and lemon juice, parsley, scallions and cayenne pepper. When heat is off, stir and cover for 15 minutes, making sure after 15 minutes that the shrimp are cooked.
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