Earlier this month I posted a recipe for Creole Jambalaya with this introduction to the subject:
Classic Louisiana jambalaya comes in two basic varieties, Creole and Cajun, the former being the original dish adapted from the paella of their native land by Spanish Creoles; the latter is probably a rustic variation on the more urban Creole jambalaya. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word jambalaya comes from a Provençal French word, jambalaia, meaning a mish-mash. Traditionally the Creole version contains tomatoes while the Cajun does not. And while Cajun jambalaya usually includes Andouille sausage, the Creole jambalaya recipe in The Picayune’s Creole Cook Book (New York: Random House, 1989) calls for chaurice which is similar to fresh chorizo or Portuguese chourico.
This recipe is an adaptation of a brown Cajun jambalaya with a few twists. First, when I started prepping the ingredients I discovered that I had absentmindedly made mire poix instead of the Cajun trinity; that is, I had used carrots instead of bell pepper. Well, there is no way to unchop a carrot so I left it in and added the pepper. Second, I decided to make it with brown rice instead of white. (I used medium grain because that is what I had on hand but I recommend long grain.) Ideally one would use Andouille sausage in this dish but it is very difficult to find in most places (but it is easy to make) so I used chourico instead. Any smoked sausage would work but I avoid commercial kielbasa because it is so fatty. The real secret to Cajun jambalaya is to brown the meats and vegetables thoroughly because that is what gives it its rich dark color. Allow about 45 minutes to get everything ready for the stock. Finally, the best implement by far for cooking this jambalaya is a cast iron Dutch oven. If you do not have one, you can use any heavy pot but be careful that you do not scorch it.
- Brown rice——————————————— 8 ounces
- Chicken fat or oil————————————– ½ teaspoon
- Andouille sausage, sliced————————— ½ pound
- Boneless chicken, cubed—————————- 12 ounces
- Carrot, chopped————————————— 2 ounces
- Celery, chopped————————————— 2 ounces
- Bell pepper, chopped——————————– 2 ounces
- Onion, chopped————————————— 8 ounces
- Garlic, minced—————————————– ½ ounce, about 4 or 5 cloves
- Cayenne or other hot pepper, minced———— to taste
- Chicken stock—————————————— 2½ cups
- Salt and pepper————————————— to taste
Rinse the rice and leave to soak in cold water.
Melt the fat in a cast iron Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Brown the sausage slices thoroughly on each side without burning. Remove to a bowl.
Put the chicken cubes into the pot allowing them to stick to the bottom before turning. Brown them well on all sides. Remove to the bowl with the sausage.
Add the carrot, celery, bell pepper, and onion to the Dutch oven. Sauté, stirring often, until the onions are begin to brown. Add the garlic and hot pepper. Continue to cook; now stirring almost constantly, until the vegetables are caramelized but not burned, about 20 to 30 minutes all told. Pour in the chicken stock and, with a wooden spoon, scrape all the burned bits from the bottom fo the pot. The stock should turn a rich dark brown.
Return chicken and sausage to the pot. Stir to combine and bring to a boil. Drain the rice and add to the pot along with salt and pepper to taste. Reduce heat to low and simmer until the rice is done, 30 to 40 minutes. If jambalaya is a little soupy, let it stand uncovered for a few minutes to thicken. Stir to fluff up before serving with a bottle of Lousiana hot sauce on the side.