How to make a REAL cajun jambalaya

Discussion in 'The Club House' started by DeltaF, Jan 5, 2014.

  1. DeltaF

    DeltaF New Member

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    Having grown up in South Louisiana, I roll my eyes every time I see "jambalaya" on the menu anywhere else.

    Whether it's a well meaning Yankee, a tourist stop restaurant in Florida or a novelty stand in New York, everybody claims to be making jambalaya.

    And nobody makes the real Cajun jambalaya right, outside of Louisiana that is. They just don't.

    My visit back home for Christmas has rekindled my tastebuds for some c'est ce bon Louisiana cooking. So tonight I'm making jambalaya. And in the spirit of our friendly Louisiana culture, I'm going to invite you into the kitchen with me. Laissez les bonne temps rouler!

    Okay actually I'm lying about the culture thing. If my papa caught you in his kitchen while he was making his jambalaya he would stab you with his filet knife and take a hand off with his cleaver. I didn't learn his recipe for jambalaya until I was 23 years old and he had his first stroke. And even then it was hard to get out of him.

    And this ain't it btw. His is more work but it comes out better and if I were to post it on the internet he would wheel himself down to the house and gut me with his one good arm.

    This is my quick and easy family dinner recipe and it is still better than 98% of any "jambalaya" I've eaten outside of the pelican state. If you don't want to read a novel just the recipe, you can scroll down aaaall the way to the bottom of the post. But you'll miss out on the important stuff. And consequentially may end up as gator bait when you try to pass your fancy rice off as jambalaya.

    Rule #1: Jambalaya MUST be started in a case iron pot or cast iron skillet. If you use Teflon, stainless steel, glass or any other non stick fake wanna be cooking utensil, alligators will climb out of the swamp and drag you kicking and screaming into the deepest recesses of the stagnate water they inhabit. They won't touch your jambalaya though. They will leave it to BURN! Most jambalaya chefs would say that the whole thing should be done in cast iron, but really as long as the base is done in cast iron you'll be ok.

    Rule #2 NEVER NEVER NEVER EVER EVER NEVER USE MINUTE RICE!!! Minute rice makes CRAPPY JAMBALAYA!!!! Using minute rice in jambalaya is like putting a baby bonnet on a nutria rat. It looks cute until the first bite. Even some self professed Cajun jambalaya chefs take this shortcut every now and then when cooking a big batch. The cook time of regular rice allows it to soak up the seasoning from the base. Minute rice doesn't do that. So those self professed jambalaya chefs try to compensate by adding a buttload of "Cajun seasoning." So what you get is really salty spicy rice with no flavor on the inside.

    Rule #3 ALWAYS MAKE THE BASE FIRST! A lot of people skip the base. That's just stupid. It's like trying to gator hunt without a boat, or duck hunt without hip waders, or make a gumbo without a roux. The base is the most important part of the jambalaya. You can screw everything else up and still have something that tastes awesome as long as you do a good base.

    You will need:

    A pot. A CAST IRON FRICKING POT. Aluminum will work in a pinch as long as you don't mind contracting Alzheimer's later. And the jambalaya won't taste the same. It just won't.
    A big spoon.
    A big pot with a lid.
    2lbs of chicken
    2lbs of SMOKED sausage (really smoked, from a smokehouse, not that fake cheap crap on the shelf at Walmart)
    Onions in a large enough quantity to produce enough CS to stop a riot in Cairo.
    A couple of pickup trucks full of bell pepper, parsley, garlic.
    (By the end of it all seriously for a batch this tiny you need enough to fill a 12 inch skillet to the brim. Which is about 1lb
    3 cups of Zatarains rice.
    A tow-behind seed broadcast spreader full of "Cajun" seasoning
    Butter
    Kitchen bouquet
    Worcestershire sauce

    1) Toss half a stick of butter and your 1lb or so of seasoning mix in the cast iron and let it simmer on medium for 20 minutes.

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    2) Slice the chicken into the skillet.

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    3) Add a gargantuan amount of dry seasoning. I actually use McCormick's Montreal Chicken seasoning mix instead of the usual Tony's Chachare's. I also add a few other things at this point, but I'm not giving away ALL my secrets! Tony's and Montreal Seasoning will serve you just fine. Or you can use some seasoning salt if you're worried about it getting too spicy. 2 whole tablespoons MINIMUM here. I'm just warming up in this pic.

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    4) Mix it up and get it simmering again.
    5) When the chicken is about half done add the sausage and continue to cook it down until the sausage starts to shrink a little.



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    Is this enough? NO. Smoked sausage is the most important part next to the base you just made out of chicken juice and deliciousness!



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    Dats mo betta

    6) Using the lid, strain all of the juice from the meat and vegetables into a measuring cup. DONT SKIP THIS STEP OR YOU'LL HAVE RUNNY RICE. If you use the same meat and same portions every time you should only have to do this once. I don't have to do this anymore, I know I get about 6-8 oz of juice from this mix in this portion size. If I do a bigger jambalaya I will measure the juice to be safe. Pour the juice back into the pot.
    7)Dump everything into a bigger pot if you're using a skillet, add the recommended amount of water taking into account the juice already in the pot for 3 cups of rice. For me it was 5 and 1/4 cups. Bring it to a boil. Add Worcestershire and kitchen bouquet while it's warming up.

    image-154619705.jpg

    8) Add the rice.
    9) COVER THE POT AND LEAVE IT THE HECK ALONE. DONT STIR THE POT. Scrape the stuff off the bottom every 10 minutes to keep from burning the bottom. That's it. Other than that leave it alone. Check it after 20 minutes. Once the rice is done, then you can stir it. Let it sit with the kid on the pot for another 5 minutes or so.



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    10) Eat it.


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    A good jambalaya shouldn't have white looking rice. EVER.

    This is a small batch of jambalaya.


    image-3188193606.jpg

    That's after 4 people tore it up for supper. But yes. It's a small batch.

    A normal sized batch is cooked in a 200 gallon cast iron pot over a propane burner. I'm not exaggerating, google it.
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2014
  2. jon1992d

    jon1992d New Member

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    I have never seen anything more beautiful in my life! I just screen shoted the whole process and printed it out exactly how you put it. Guess who's mother will be making it for dinner on Wednesday !! ;D
     

  3. Jagermeister

    Jagermeister New Member

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    Fine......I will bring the beer.:D
     
  4. SB777

    SB777 New Member

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    Thanks for the recipe Delta. I never had a true Cajun jambalaya but have had what's called jambalaya in the northeast and that includes shrimp in the recipe. Anything special about the chicken pieces? Do you just use chicken breast or cut up legs and thigh meat also? I may try a batch this afternoon. Got a big cast iron pot looking for something to do.
     
  5. WebleyFosbery38

    WebleyFosbery38 New Member

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    That looks delicious, nothing like the Mcd's happy meal Jambalaya they serve in places round here!

    I gotta say, Cajun cookin looks like scrambled innards but it tastes so good if its done right!

    [ame]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eK4umRMJlrs[/ame]

    Justin Wilson taught us all that there was this whole different country in the bayous down south called "Cajun Country". About the only cooking show that has ever held my attention for more than about 5 seconds (9 year old boys didnt watch cooking shows when I was a kid, unless their Moms did). He was awesome, little wine for the gumbo, little more wine for Justin, a fart here and a burp there to keep things interesting! No fancy cookware, no Barefoot Contessa (I dont like that phony bitch whatsoever), just a half hour of woohooweee, coookin and yum eatin.

    He really did enjoy himself, Im guessing he couldnt drive legally after shooting a couple of his shows, (Drank almost as much "Sauce" as he made!
     
  6. John_Deer

    John_Deer New Member

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    The chicken is just a filler when you add smoked sausage. Legs and thighs work just fine. It wasn't that long ago that every community in Acadiana had their own smokehouse that sold boxes of smoked sausage at a good price. It seems like every year another smokehouse closes.
     
  7. danf_fl

    danf_fl Retired Supporter

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    Let the good times roll!

    Heck, I introduced the wife to real gumbo when we were at Barksdale. She liked it (except the okra). So she started making gumbo (sans okra), but added the german touch of (and don't ask me why) using brussel sprouts.
     
  8. WebleyFosbery38

    WebleyFosbery38 New Member

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    lemme get this straight, Likes Little nasty bitter cabbages but doesnt like Okra? Thats completely Gespunterflect! (German for I dont speak German) Hmmmm, sounds like my wife, she loves those little fart producing green turd balls. I like Okra but I dont have much use for Brussels! If Im having Cabbage, it should be Sour or with Ham/ Corned Beef, dont spare the Beeno!
     
  9. Jagermeister

    Jagermeister New Member

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    Ok, I even asked my wife about "Gespunterflect".:confused:......:p
     
  10. SB777

    SB777 New Member

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    That's a shame. There are a few in my location and one that puts out several excellent products. A bit more expensive then other mass produced brands found in the super stores but, of course, you get what you pay for.
     
  11. WebleyFosbery38

    WebleyFosbery38 New Member

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    Jager, I learned that in My 1.5 years in Katterbach. Any words or not jumbled together with an angry guttural inflection in your voice sounds German even if it means nothing actually. Unter Gleiben Glouben Schlobben sounds so german, I have no idea if it is nor do the millions of us that jammed to Def Leppard!

    [ame]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=748IjOdrjwg[/ame]

    Added note, I did take headstart to German like every other GI that showed up in the Bundesrepublic but just like most other GI's, My barroom German was as good as it ever got. Learned all the really nasty phrases and important ones like Ein Bier Bitte (thumb up not forefinger, that means 2 beirs and a hangover for sure) and "Wo ist da Wasser Closset", "Wo is da Bahnhoff", "Flughoffen", "Krankenhause", "Nuremberg Wall", "Gasthause", "Autobahn", and the all important lady getting phrase, "Commen Zi Heir und Sitzen on mien Gaziet Schatze, Bitte" (Notice I said please?, excuse my spelling, way wrong I'm sure)!

    Ive never been to Korea but learned some of the really raunchy stuff never to say to a Korean from a roommate in Ft Riley!
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2014
  12. John_Deer

    John_Deer New Member

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    We keep a box of frozen hamburger patties in the freezer. One or two hamburger patties and a box of Zatarians dirty rice mix, Hoppin John or Jambalaya makes a quick and easy meal. It's not as good as homemade but in 30 minutes you can have good tasting meal for around $2.50.
     
  13. willshoum

    willshoum New Member

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    Cheaters...............

    My father would slap you up side da head if you needed kitchen bouquet to add colour to your Jambalya. Seems it took him forever to cook one. If you brown off your smoke sausage first it will add to the flavor and add a darker base..........Stay away from zatarains, [ mix ] it'll ruin your food................
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2014
  14. Jagermeister

    Jagermeister New Member

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    Great album......
     
  15. eatmydust

    eatmydust New Member

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    I can't imagine this thread with out old Hank in it!

    [ame]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xnKOVPXhlnE&feature=player_detailpage[/ame]
     
  16. SRK97

    SRK97 Well-Known Member Supporter

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  17. dango

    dango Well-Known Member Lifetime Supporter

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    How many Cajuns was that....? :confused:
     
  18. 303tom

    303tom Well-Known Member

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    Hey DeltaF that looks good ! I bet Zombiegirl would love to have that on her FB page !...................
     
  19. DeltaF

    DeltaF New Member

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    Haha, the other recipe doesn't have kitchen bouquet, and the rice comes out like orange-red if that makes you feel any better. And no funky "New Orleans style" creole GOUP either.

    I said I used a couple shortcuts though didn't I? LoL
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2014
  20. willshoum

    willshoum New Member

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    Red neck cooks................

    Sorry Jus tan, I saw all your shows and your humor matched your cooking. You don't just trow everything into a pot with a box of salt and call it cajun cooking..................Cajun cooking is like making love.............Take out the rabbit part and put it in da pot if you know what I mean.................:eek::D;)