Originally Posted by nmayeux
Just updated a few things, but wondering what some of you do different.
Noah- great tutorial
FWIW, I grew up with a little different version in AL. Not sure where my Mom got hers from. She actually did w/o stock and just sautéed some bacon to start with. Then added onion and bell pepper (no celery), garlic, the rice/spices, and then tomatoes and water. I suspect that's a bit more authentic in the tradition of "making do."
I've made this approach my own over the years. Sometimes, I'll do the bacon to start with. But I've never made a roux for jambalaya. And I definitely use stock (chicken base is the house thing- Knorr's roasted from RD). For spices, mine typically includes the bay leaves plus roughly equal parts dried oregano and thyme (1-2 T for recipe w/ 2C rice). For a while, I put chilis/chile powder/red pepper in for flavor/spice. Don't have a set method there, but I think I've put a bit of ground ancho/chipotle in lately.
I also saw Prudhomme many years ago- his concession to his cardiologist at that point was to cut back the fat and saute the ingredients long enough to add color/flavor. Probably the same idea as doing a roux. With some of the fattier smoked sausages, I've browned them in the pan or oven ahead of time to add that caramelization.
Meat-wise, smoked sausage is a given. If you haven't been to Patak in Austell, it's smoked meat heaven. I like their andouille a lot. Usually, any chicken goes in raw and stews with the rice. Shrimp go in at the end to try to avoid getting them rubbery.
I've also gone weenie- I get it all going in the dutch oven on the stove, then throw on the lid and finish in the oven for 25 min or so. For whatever reason, I don't mind crust in paella, but I avoid it in my jambalaya.