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nmayeux 03-02-2008 07:58 AM

An Illustrated Guide to Jambalaya
Jambalaya is a meal that is a fairly regular treat in our house and for some of our friends. This dish is great because it is easy, inexpensive, and freezes wonderfully. Also, it was designed for leftovers, so you can use whatever you think up.

After speaking with BigMista about using this dish for catering, it made sense to show how we have done it for generations. However, please understand that this is a family dish, and our family has its own way of cooking. Please enjoy, and feel free to ask any questions.

Basically, the ingredients are as follows:

The Trinity:
2 medium onions diced
2 bell peppers diced
1 bunch celery diced

1 bunch green onions diced
3 cloves garlic crushed

2 cans beef broth
2 cans chicken broth

3-4 cups rice - 3 cups is kinda wet, and 4 cups is fairly dry. Just experiment!

2-3 lbs meat, usually chicken and sausage, I prefer andouille, polish kielbalsa, or spicy smokes sausage. You can use almost any leftover, such as pulled pork, brisket, shrimp, possum, crawfish, turkey, lamb, steak, or just about anything that you can think up.

Season to your liking, but I usually use something like this:
2 tbs salt
2 tbs garlic powder
2 tbs cumino (cumin)
1 tbs black pepper
1/2 tbs smoked paprika
1/2 tbs chili powder
some mustard powder
some white pepper
3 bay leaves
some white pepper

With that said, you are ready to cook!

nmayeux 03-02-2008 08:05 AM

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Step One! Prepare a roux...

The first step in making this dish is preparing a roux. All a roux is, is a flavor base that helps thicken sauces and stews. To make a roux, you cook equal parts oil and flour.

For this dish, I like to use a cast iron dutch oven, but you can use a heavy skillet for the roux and a stock pot for the actual jambalaya.

I start by heating between a quarter to a third cup oil, usually canola, to the point of just starting to smoke. After lowering the heat, I add an equal amount of flour and begin to stir constantly. The key is to take your time, and make sure that you do not burn the mixture. After a minute or so, you will notice a change in color and smell. I continue cooking until I reach a brick red color, and a nutty smell. However, if you start seeing black specks, you have to start over again.

If this seems like too much work, you don't have to make a roux. You can just heat some oil, and start cooking the veggies. This works well, but you lose some depth of flavor.

nmayeux 03-02-2008 08:09 AM

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Step 2, cook the veggies!

Once you reach the desired color and smell of roux, you can cook the veggies. I just dump all the veggies in, and keep stirring so that the roux doesn't burn until it is mixed completely. You want to cook until the onions are translucient, and the roux has mixed with the moisture to make a gravy like coating.

CritterCook 03-02-2008 08:11 AM

You almost lost me at "possum".....but go on...

nmayeux 03-02-2008 08:11 AM

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Step 3, spice and rice!

Once your veggies are almost done, I add the spice mixture, along with 3-4 cups rice. I continue cooking for another 5 minutes or so constantly stirring. This allows the rice to absorb the flavors without really beginning to cook.

CajunSmoker 03-02-2008 08:14 AM

Looking good Noah, I'd eat that already:biggrin:

nmayeux 03-02-2008 08:16 AM

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Step 4, add the meat!

Once all the veggies are done, you can add the meat. I usually wait until the last minute as the meats that I normally use are either seafood or precooked leftovers. Although if Critter Cook was coming over I'd break out the possum, I decided to use leftover spatchcocked chicken, smoked sausage, and some peeled frozen shrimp. Incorporate the meat, and add 2 cans of beef stock, and 2 cans of chicken stock. and bring to a rolling boil.

nmayeux 03-02-2008 08:24 AM

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Step 5, making magic!

Although jambalaya is basically a rice dish, a couple of tips really help bring it together. Cast iron, a high btu stove, and leaving the dish alone for an hour really make the difference between OK, and really good. I use a cast iron duch oven with the dimples on the lid to continuously baste while cooking, my out door range (although most kitchen ranges work if you leave at the lowest setting for the last hour), and a timer and sign to make sure that nobody, inclucing myself, lifts the lid for an hour! These tips really make a difference!

Because cast iron hold heat well, after I reach a rolling boil, I stir one last time, cover, and cut the heat off alltogether. If you are cooking on a kitchen range, just reduce to the lowest setting.


fnnm358 03-02-2008 08:24 AM

nice illustration how do you keep from eatting it before it is done

nmayeux 03-02-2008 08:31 AM

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Step 6, enjoy!

After an hour, you can uncover and serve. You will notice that many of the goodies have come to the top, and the rice should have cooked evenly. If the bottom has burned, this is a special delicacy that is usually reserved for the cook! Stir, and serve! Also, after refridgeration, this dish makes meals for a few days to a week, and it also freezes wonderfully.

After church, I will make some corrections, and add some more tips. However, you will notice that there are no tomatoes in this cook. My dad always said that tomatoes were the difference between creole and cajun dishes.

Kevin 03-02-2008 08:35 AM

Thanks for the pictorial Noah. You know I've been making this regularly since you shared the recipe. Excellent flavor. Think I'll go dig a bag out of the freezer for tomorrow.

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pat 03-02-2008 08:45 AM

Nice tutorial Noah!! Thanks for sharing. I usually put tomatoes in my jamba. Will have to try it without...looks just as good.

N8man 03-02-2008 08:51 AM

Wonderful How to Guide and Great Looking Eats!!!

Bbq Bubba 03-02-2008 09:06 AM

I must admit that i eat the heck out of the Zatarain's (yankee mod)
But i think i just found a new favorite!! Thanks for the pictoral, will be trying this very soon!! :biggrin:

Ron_L 03-02-2008 09:37 AM

Very nice, Noah! The pictures and step by step guide are well done. I've add this to the KCQuer Roadmap to the Q-Talk forum.

Jambalaya is now on my list of things to cook, soon!

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