Even though we’re still in the throes of a Texas summer, fall is almost here. And I’ve already started thinking about — and looking forward to — some hearty, winter comfort food. Stew-like dishes served piping hot. And I jumped the gun this past week and made one of my favorites — Jambalaya.
The recipe I use is from Chef John, a ‘master’ of spicy food. Although I’ve made a few adjustments, the recipe that follows is substantially his. This one comes with a warning… it is a bit hot. I like hot food, and this one ranks up there among the hottest I can tolerate. Of course you can cut back on the heat by adjusting the seasoning. If you like hot food though, give it a try as written. This recipe serves 4+.
A big pot of spicy Jambalaya
2 tablespoons of butter
8 ounces of andouille sausage, cut into ¼ inch slices
2 tablespoons ground paprika
1 tablespoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (or less if you prefer to tone down the heat)
½ cup diced fire-roasted tomatoes
2 stalks of celery, sliced ¼ inch thick
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
6 green onions, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon of salt
1 bay leaf
1 cup of uncooked red rice
3 cups of chicken stock
1 pound of large shrimp, peeled and deveined
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
Melt the butter in a large stock pot over medium heat. Add the sausage and cook until it’s browned, about 5 or 6 minutes.
Add the paprika, cumin and cayenne and cook for about a minute.
Add the tomatoes, celery, green & red bell peppers, green onions, salt, and bay leaf and stir.
Add the red rice and stir to combine everything.
Stir in the chicken broth and bring to a simmer.
Cover and turn the heat down to low. Cook until the rice is done (the time will depend on the temperature it’s cooking at. It will be at least 45 minutes but could take an hour or more).
Once the rice is cooked, add the shrimp. Cover again and leave on the heat until the shrimp are cooked, about 5 minutes.
Taste and add salt and pepper if needed (I’ve never had to add more).
I’ve made this with Aidells Cajun Style Andouille Smoked Pork Sausage Links, which are available at H-E-B. It was very good. I’ve also made it with Central Market’s andouille sausage available at the butcher counter, and it was even better.
I recommend using red rice. You can use other types of rice if desired (the original recipe calls for short-grain brown rice). Rices vary in cooking time, so pay attention to the package directions for cooking and test it for doneness frequently.
For an accompanying beverage, I recommend a good, cold IPA -- and I'm not much of a beer drinker. It's a perfect counterpoint to the heat in this dish.
Jane Gennarelli is co-editor of LNF Weekly. She also edits the Lavaca & Friends weekly arts and entertainment newsletter.