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Mardi Gras Jambalaya

By 18:45 , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Happy Sunday!

As always I hope you are all enjoying your weekend, I know the people of Louisiana certainly are! Mardi Gras is this Tuesday, and the celebrations have already started in New Orleans, Louisiana (US) where the annual Mardi Gras parades are a big deal and bring fame to the city.

No celebration is complete without some good food alongside it, and in the case of New Orleans we're talking about some good ol' Southern cooking! Yes ma'am! Even though I can't be out there myself, I wanted cook something that is a real favourite in New Orleans, so I tried my hand at some Jambalaya.

Here's the recipe:

Ingredients (vary the amounts to your taste):

sliced smoked pork sausage
diced bacon,
2 chopped chicken portions
(I also added a handful of prawns (shrimp) later)

The Trinity 
1 stick celery
1/2 green pepper
1 medium onion
(all medium chopped)

(Creole seasoning if you can find it. I couldn't so I put together what I could)
approx. 2tsp salt and pepper
approx 2 tsp chilli powder
approx 2 tsp garlic powder
pinch of ginger
1.5 tsp parsley and thyme
1 bay leaf
Chicken stock ( amount depends....about 2/3 cups worth, enough to cover your rice but I had to add more water)
(also paprika if you have it)

1 cup rice (long grain or easy cook type of rice)
1 tin tomato puree (or chopped tomatoes)

1) Heat a little oil in a large pot and brown the sliced sausage for about 10 mins. Remove when done and set aside

2)Do the same with the diced bacon and chicken being careful to leave any fat/browned residue from the meats

*I discovered I had frozen prawns so defrosted, and de-veined these (which took much longer than I  expected!) and cooked these in the pot for about 5 mins*

3) Add everything back to the pan and mix on medium heat. Then add your "trinity"- the celery, green pepper and onion, and cook until soft but not soggy. 
4) Add your salt, pepper and spices and mix. Then do the same with your herbs. 

5) Next add your rice and tomato puree. It is probably best to add one first, mix, then add the other and mix but I just happen to do it this way. 

6) Add your chicken stock until it covers the mixture. You want it to cook and almost 'bind' the rice i.e. not be too dry. Cover and cook on medium/high heat for about 25-30 mins or until tender. They say you shouldn't remove lid whilst its cooking but I think you should occasionally taste for seasoning and add more if necessary as I did. Also add more water if necessary. 
7) Once cooked, there's nothing left  but to serve it up! We served it with fried plantain in my house but you can also garnish with spring onions or eat it own. 

There are all sorts of variations this recipe-Jambalaya is essentially a 'jumble' of different ingredients- so you can use any variety of meats/poultry/fish, as well as adding red and yellow peppers. To make it a Cajun Jambalaya simply omit the tomatoes. The key ingredients however are the trinity of Louisiana cooking, the onion, celery and green pepper, and also the sausage whether pork, chicken or turkey sausage. 

Try it out and let me know how it tastes! Use this video as an extra guide if you need (jump to 3.51):

Happy Mardi Gras, "laissez les bons temps rouler!' 


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