Wednesday, September 8, 2010


I LOVE JAMABALAYA!!!  It is one of my favorite things to cook.  You know why?  Because you can put almost anything in it and it will be GOOD!!!  You can make it with chicken, turkey, shrimp, crawfish, oysters, hamburger, etc.  My favorite, of course, is crawfish!  However, it is all wonderful.  One of the thing that drives me crazy, is so many people serve Jambalaya as a main dish.  I'm not sure if this is the proper way to serve it, but in my family, it was always a side dish.  Although, at times the left overs became lunch the next day.  So, here is a good outline for making some great Jamabalaya!

  • 1 lb.  chicken, shredded; AND/OR
    • 1 lb. shrimp, leftover from a boil and peeled; OR 
    • 1 lb crawfish, leftover from a boil and peeled; or
    • 1 lb oysters, steamed; OR
    • 1 lb. leftover holiday turkey, shredded; OR
    • 1 lb. of any kind of red meat; OR
    • Any combination of the above
  • 1 lb. (hot) smoked sausage, andouille is the best, sliced ; OR
    • 1 lb. cubed smoked ham 
    • Any combination of of the above
  • 1 large white onion, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 - 6 cloves garlic, minced (I like lots)
  • 4 ribs celery, chopped
  • 3 small cans tomato paste
  • 1 28-oz. can tomatoes
  • 8 cups good dark homemade stock -- chicken, shrimp, crawfish, veggie 
  • Slap Ya MAMA to taste (or 2 - 3 tablespoons); OR
    • 2 teaspoons cayenne, 2 teaspoons black pepper, 1 teaspoon white pepper, 1 teaspoon oregano, 1/2 teapsoon thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Salt to taste
  • 4 cups long-grain white rice, uncooked
In a sauté or frying pan, brown the chicken, sprinkling with Slap Ya Mama seasoning if you've got it; or another Cajun seasoning. Don't cook if using leftover cooked bird, but you still season it, unless all your meat is cooked in Cajun seasoning like mine.  Tear the meat into bite-size pieces.

In the same frying pan, brown the sliced andouille and pour off fat. Sauté with sweet cream butter the onions, garlic, peppers and celery until onions begin to turn transparent.

In the same pot, while you're sautéing the veggies, add the tomato paste and let it brown a little. What we're going for here is an additional depth of flavor by browning the tomato paste a little; the sugar in the tomato paste begins to caramelize, deepening the flavor and color. Keep it moving so that it browns but doesn't burn. This is a VERY STICKY STEP-- BE VERY CAREFUL WHEN ATTEMPTING THIS STEP BECAUSE YOU DON'T WANT IT TO BURN!

Once the vegetables are translucent and the tomato paste achives sort of a red mahogany color, pour in 2 cups of the stock, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to mix up any browned bits, and stir until smooth, making sure the sautéed vegetables, paste and stock are combined thoroughly. It should be pretty dern thick.

Add the Slap Ya Mama seasoning, tomatoes and salt to taste. Cook over low-medium heat for about 10 minutes. Add the meat and/or seafood and cook another 10 minutes; if you're using seafood, be careful not to overcook it.

Add the rest of the stock, additional seasoning to taste, and stir in the rice, combining thoroughly. Cook for about 20-25 minutes, or until the rice has absorbed all the liquid and is cooked through.   Check seasoning again -- however, at this point you can only add to the mix and not cook in , then turn the heat down to low-medium and let the sauce thicken up a bit, with the pot uncovered, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes. Stir thoroughly again. When the jambalaya has thickened up a bit and is not too runny or too thick.


So those directions are clear as mud?  The important part is to have fun, enjoy, and remember "Good Home Cookin' Never Taste The Same Way Twice!"

Happy Cooking!

No comments:

Post a Comment