It is Mardi Gras and every year we make a basic jambalaya and king cake. Truth be told, Carolyn uses a King Arthur Flour kit for the king cake, it is one of the few things she does not make from scratch. But the cake is sooooo good and it looks great- the kids and I love it. So does everyone else. A few years age we had a houseguest (and good friend) who liked it so much he ate half the cake over a day. He is still sheepish about that, but we understood entirely. Sweet, moist cake with almond paste is hard to pass up!
As for the jambalaya, this is a very good anytime dish, and not just for Mardi Gras. It is a one-pot dish (something we like around here) is easy to make and feeds an army. We do a sausage and shrimp jambalaya, but you can use chicken, crawfish (if you can get them) etc. The sausage we use is Andouille, a spicy creole sausage, which can be found in most grocery stores. We also prefer the sweetness of red peppers to the traditional green peppers, but that is also an easy substitution. You will also note that we use salt, bay leaf and cayenne but no “creole seasoning”. We get creole/cajun flavor from the Andouille sausage, but if you want more spice you can add it.
Our recipe comes from a few sources, but the main one is Emeril Lagasse. I know he may no longer be “cool” (never was cool?) but his basic mantras of “porkfat rules” and “season your food” are words to live by. If you do both, your food is likely to taste good. Regardless, his recipes often work better than most, and that is what matters.
Sausage and Shrimp Jambalaya:
(Serves 8, with leftovers)
Notes Before You Start:
– Make sure to use long-grain rice, as suggested by the recipe.
– As noted, Andouille sausage can be found in most grocery stores or butchers.
What You Get: A fun, flavorful, one-pot meal that you can serve for a home Mardi Gras celebrations. But this is also a good dish for a casual party, jambayala seems exotic, but it is a dish worth making regularly.
What You Need: No special equipment required.
How Long? You can make Jambalaya in less than 60 minutes. Jambalaya provides a lot of flavor in a short amount of time. Jambalaya is an anytime dish.
– 2 tablespoons olive oil or bacon drippings
– 2 cups chopped white onions
– 1 cup chopped red bell peppers
– ½ cup chopped celery
– 2 teaspoons salt
– ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
– 1 pound Andouille sausage, cut in half lengthwise and then sliced into ¼ inch pieces
– 2 cups canned tomatoes, seeded and chopped
– 4 bay leaves
– 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
– 1 pound medium shrimp, shelled and deveined
– 2 cups long-grain rice
– 5 cups chicken stock or broth
– ½ cup chopped green onion for garnish
- Place large Dutch oven or lidded pot on stove over medium heat. Add oil. Once oil is hot, add the onions, peppers, celery, salt and cayenne. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until vegetables are soft.
- Add sausage and, stirring frequently, cook for 2 minutes.
- Add bay leaves, tomatoes and garlic and, stirring frequently, cook for 2 minutes.
- Add the rice and, stirring frequently, cook for 2 minutes.
- Add the chicken stock, stir, bring mixture to a boil, cover, and then reduce heat to low. Let cook until rice is tender, about 25 minutes. Taste and add salt as needed.
- When rice is tender, add shrimp. Cook for five minutes or until shrimp are cooked. Once shrimp are cooked, remove pot from heat. Remove bay leaves.
- Serve Jambalaya, garnish with green onion.