This past few days I have been hearing a lot about Mardi Gras. I have seen many blog posts featuring Mardi Gras recipes like King Cake and Gumbo. The recipe websites that I frequent like allrecipes, epicurious and myrecipes also have little sections devoted to this day and time of year. Why not jump on the bandwagon?
I was feeling very ambitious as I began looking for recipes and was set on making a King Cake. Unfortunately, I didn’t think that I’d have time to make one after work unless I wanted to be up until the wee hours of the morning since the dough has to rise for about 2 hours. I should have made it anyway because with just two people, I had a much better chance of getting the baby and being Queen for a day!
I settled on jambalaya. Jambalaya is a Creole dish with Spanish and French influences. These cuisines were meant to be combined. I have only been to New Orleans once. I went with a couple friends in college the year before Katrina. We ate great food. There is something wonderful about the flavors and ingredients that they use that is just incredible. I wanted to go to Emeril’s Delmonico, but we were college students on a college students budget. We did eat beignets at Cafe du Monde and got powdered sugar all over ourselves as we drank chicory coffee. I loved every minute of that trip.
This dish is very simple and quick. There is no seafood in this jambalaya, but you could easily add shrimp to the mix during the last 5 minutes or so. I would decrease the sausage to 1 pound if you decided to add about 1/2 pound of shrimp. Another ingredient that is common in jambalaya is tomatoes. There are none here, but I will consider adding a can of chopped tomatoes with the juice next time I make this.
The flavors are great and not overpowering or too salty. I did not use the cloves because I thought I had some, but I was wrong. I am sure that would have been a great addition, but it was just fine without it. The moisture is just about perfect. I did add another 1/2 cup of chicken broth after about 20 minutes of cooking because it looked like it would be a bit dry.
Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya
Courtesy of Bon Appetit, 1997
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 pounds of chicken pieces
- 2 cups chopped onions
- 2 cups chopped green bell peppers
- ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 ½ to 2 pounds kielbasa or other fully cooked smoked sausage, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 3/4 teaspoon (or more) cayenne pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 3 cups long-grain white rice
- 6 ½ cups canned low-salt chicken broth
- Heat oil in heavy large pot over high heat. Working in batches, add chicken and cook until brown on all sides, about 8 minutes per batch. Transfer chicken to platter.
- Reduce heat to medium-high; add onion, bell peppers, parsley and garlic to pot. Sauté until onions are tender, about 5 minutes.
- Add sausage, bay leaves, chili powder, thyme, cayenne pepper and cloves; sauté until spices are fragrant and flavors blend, about 5 minutes. Add rice; stir to coat.
- Pour broth over rice mixture in pot. Add chicken; press to submerge in liquid. Bring to boil.
- Reduce heat to low, cover and cook until liquid is absorbed, rice is tender and chicken is cooked through, about 35 minutes. Remove bay leaves. Season with salt, pepper and more cayenne pepper, if desired. Serve hot.