Jambalaya is a popular dish of West African, French (especially Provençal cuisine), and Spanish influence, consisting mainly of meat and vegetables mixed with rice. Traditionally, the meat always includes sausage, often smoked meat such as andouille, pork, chicken, and seafood (less common), such as crawfish or shrimp. The vegetables are usually a sofrito-like mixture known as the "holy trinity" in Cajun cooking, consisting of onion, celery, and green bell pepper. However, other vegetables such as okra, carrots, tomatoes, chilis, and garlic are also used.Jambalaya is similar to (but distinct from) other rice-and-meat dishes known in Louisiana cuisine.
Serves: 25 Prep Time: 1-1.5 hours
Chicken Bone Broth — about 14 quarts
Celery — 2 stalks of chopped celery + celery cuttings and extra celery for the broth
Chicken — from one bird, chopped
Sausage — 2 packages of breakfast sausage, Andouille sausages, or your family favorite
Green Onions — 2-3 bunches of green onions, chopped finely
Bell Peppers — 5+ bell peppers, and/or your favorite sweet peppers, chopped
Rice — 5-6 cups of dry rice
Chicken and Bone Broth
Ideally, you want to brine the chicken overnight in a pot of salty water (up to 1 ¼ cups kosher salt per gallon of water). Roast the bird for 1-2 hours, depending on weight. The bird must reach an internal temperature of 180°. Remove the meat from the bird to chop later. Put all scraps and bones into a large stockpot and boil with one or two onions and a generous amount of celery (see below for tips). Boil bone broth for 3-8 hours.
Boil the Bird
You can boil a chicken, onion, and celery for about the same time you bake it. Remove the meat, return the scraps to the pot and boil longer if you have the time. If not, strain the broth and continue on the next step. You can also purchase premade broth and brown chicken separately to add in or use canned chicken.
You can use up to three whole bunches for a 16-quart pan. I chop the ends of the celery off for stalks, as well as the leafy parts and the inner-small stalks. The broth can take a fair amount of celery. I may use a whole extra bunch just for the broth. It creates an irresistible and healthy flavor that essential to this soul food!
Sautee the sausage, peppers, and green onions together in a pan, first browning, then chopping meat (if uncooked) and then add peppers and onions until soft. This is the most delicious part of making the jambalaya; the smells filling the air will intoxicate, and it will soon fill the broth with a ton of flavor!
Add the celery and sauteed portion together with the broth and bring to a boil.
Add in chopped chicken.
Add 5-6 cups of rice and cook until rice is tender (about 20 minutes).
Flavor with additional spices: salt, pepper, celery salt, onion salt, Johnny’s Seasoning Salt, or cayenne if desired.
Enjoy with your favorite hot sauce.
Storing and Using Leftovers
The rice will absorb all the excess water overnight and turn into a gumbo eventually, so best eaten right away! It’s delicious fried up with a few eggs for breakfast. You can add additional broth to reheat if needed.
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