Fleur de Lis

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Sunday, August 21, 2011

Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya

My friend BayouBQ from New Orleans is always, without fail, a consistent source for delicious Cajun/Creole recipes.  He's also an accomplished sausage maker.  Here's his recipe for Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya along with a little history and explanation of the dish.  I've added in my pictures from today with his recipe instructions.  Thank you Bayou!  I hope to see you soon.

According to John Folse, the word Jambalaya comes from "Jambon a la ya-ya", Jambon being French for pork and Ya-ya from an African word for rice.  Jambalaya is derived from the Spanish dish paella.  There are two basic styles of jambalaya, Cajun and Creole.  I would like to discuss the difference between them.  If you travel the Louisiana countryside, you are not likely to find tomatoes, bell pepper, or celery in the jambalaya.   The Cajuns call this brown jambalaya.  Cajun jambalaya is generally made with chicken or pork with sausage and onions.  In New Orleans, jambalaya almost always contains seafood, onion, bell pepper, celery (known as "The Trinity") and tomatoes.  This is known as Creole, or red, jambalaya. Creole jambalaya often has shrimp or crawfish instead of chicken.  The debate over whether red or brown jambalaya is "real" jambalaya rages on.  I generally prefer the Cajun style, but am perfectly happy with either one.
Here is my basic recipe for Cajun style:
1 lb. smoked sausage, sliced
1 1/2 lb. boneless chicken, cut in small strips
1 bell pepper, chopped
2 ribs of celery, chopped
2 medium onions, chopped
1-3 T. chopped garlic
1 can of chicken stock
2 1/2 cups of rice
thyme, parsley, cayenne pepper, black pepper, salt

Brown sausage in a large iron pot.

When thoroughly browned, remove and add chicken. Allow chicken to stick to the bottom of the pot before stirring.  Scrape bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon to loosen browned bits.

Remove chicken and add bell pepper, celery, onion and garlic. Wait about 2-3 minutes before stirring.  As the vegetables begin to sweat, scrape bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon to loosen browned bits.

Return chicken and sausage to pot.

Add 5 cups of water and all remaining ingredients except rice.  Cover and bring to boil.  Add rice and reduce heat to simmer.  Cover and cook for 20 minutes.  Do not lift lid until time is up, then remove lid and stir.  If jambalaya is a little soupy, let it stand uncovered for a few minutes to thicken.

(Note: It is important to brown the meats and vegetables fully. This is what gives the jambalaya its color and rich flavor.)
Variations:  Substitute Pork, Shrimp, or Crawfish for Chicken and Sausage

Note from Lolly:  Just because I had about a half pound of shrimp, yearning for a recipe to be added to, I added them to the pot after the jambalaya was cooked.  Simply turned off the heat and let the heat from the dish cook the shrimp.

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