An authentic Cajun jambalaya with chicken, sausage, pork and andouille sausage. This one-pot meal is fit to feed a crowd (a large crowd) and is perfect for parties, Mardi Gras or anytime you feel like delicious Cajun food.
In the River Road Recipes II cookbook, there is a section called “How Men Cook.” At first, I was wondering why they get their own section but it is true that men in Louisiana have a special way of cooking. When we first moved to Louisiana, I noticed that similar to many barbecues in Mississippi, it was the men manning the jambalaya, crawfish boils, etc. Cajun culture is all about preparing large amounts of delicious food like jambalaya and just having a good time with family and friends.
Source: “Jambalaya Jam.” The Advocate, 11 Oct. 2013.
Learning Jambalaya is a Process, Not a Recipe
My husband first learned how to cook jambalaya from his coworkers who have been cooking this dish for years. They entered into their company’s jambalaya competition and then went on to compete at the Capital Area United Way’s Jambalaya Jam competition. I finally watched him cook jambalaya this weekend and have captured the steps and sort of a recipe below.
Feeding a Crowd
This jambalaya serves about 50 portions. We make it in a 5 gallon cast iron pot. Go big or go home, right? This dish serves a big crowd and is great for parties. We always have left overs no matter how many people we feed. We always send everyone home with a “party favor” bag of jambalaya. It freezes well so you can always freeze the left over jambalaya. I would love to create a small-batch jambalaya, but anyone who knows jambalaya knows that it wouldn’t come out quite the same.
Steps to Making a Jambalaya
Step 1: Cook the Sausage
First, brown the sausage (3 pounds). The best sausage to use is andouille sausage which is a smoked pork meat typically found in Louisiana. We always used Conecuh sausage, but you can use Richard’s or Manda sausage. Now that we are in the Netherlands, the most similar we could find is called “verse rookworst fijn” which is just a fresh smoked pork sausage.
Step 2: Cook the Pork
After removing the sausage, brown the pork. If you can get a hold off pork temple meat (meat from the temple of a pig), it is really the best meat for jambalaya. If not, you can use pork shoulder or a Boston pork butt. You’ll need about 3 pounds chopped into cubes and you will cook it until the meat is brown and most of the liquid is out of the pot. Make sure not to scrape off the bottom of the pot during this process. This is the gradoux (grah-doo) which is all the good stuff stuck to the bottom of the pot and will help flavor the rest of the dish.
Step 3: Cook the onions, bell peppers and chicken.
Step 4: Add the sausage and pork back to the pot.
Step 5: Add garlic, seasonings and water.
- White pepper
- Black pepper
- Kitchen bouquet (use almost a whole bottle depending on how dark you like your jambalaya)
- Hot sauce (use about 1/3 of a bottle)
- Salt (about 8 tablespoons or 130 g)
Add the water. It is a 2:1 ratio of water to rice. Add water until about 1 1/2 inches to the top of your 5 gallon pot. For this jambalaya pot, we used about 10 liters of water.
Step 6: Bring to a boil, turn off the heat, cool and skim the oil.
After you’ve added your seasonings, bring your pot to a boil. Then turn off the heat and allow it to cool for about 20 minutes. The oil will then rise to the top and you will want to skim the oil off the top of the jambalaya.
Step 7: Bring back up to a boil and add the rice.
Bring it back up to a boil and add the rice. This will depend on your pot size but for a 5 gallon pot, we added 20 cups of rice (about 4,000 grams). Make sure to use long-grain rice. After you have added the rice cover the pot for 35-45 minutes and “fluff” every 10-15 minutes. Try not to stir the rice but rather “fluff” or fold the rice into the water.
- 3 lbs of andouille sausage
- 3 lbs of pork shoulder or boston butt
- 5 lbs of onions and bell peppers (chopped)
- 3 lbs of boneless skinless chicken thighs
- 3 bulbs of garlic (minced)
- White pepper (to taste)
- Black pepper (to taste)
- Kitchen bouquet (1 bottle)
- Hot sauce (1/3 of a bottle)
- 8 tablespoons of salt (130 g)
- 10 liters of water
- 20 cups of rice (4000 g)
- Brown the sausage and remove to a pan (cover with aluminum foil)
- Cook the pork (season it with salt and pepper) and cook until the liquid is gone and pork is brown. Then remove to a pan. Be careful not to scrape the bottom of the pan.
- Add onion and bell pepper mix to pan and cook for a few minutes.
- Add the chicken thighs and cook until the mixture is brown and vegetables are soft.
- Add the sausage and pork back to the pot.
- Add the garlic, seasonings and water.
- Bring to a boil then turn off the heat and let it cool for 20 minutes.
- Scrape off the oil off the top and discard.
- Bring back to a boil and add the rice.
- Cover the pot and cook for ___ minutes or until rice is done.