Thursday, April 24, 2008

Mom's 99 Cent Jambalaya - Video Recipe

To add tomato or not to add tomato, that is the question when making this classic Louisiana dish, Jambalaya. This Chef attended high school in the "Jambalaya Capitol of the World" -- Gonzales, Louisiana; so I have an answer - no tomato!

However, if you order it from the Gumbo Pot at the Farmers Market here in Los Angeles, you will find it loaded with tomato and quite soupy, big city New Orleans style (a recipe that Mr."Throw down" Bobby Flay lost with) -- the exact opposite from what I had in my small-town high school cafeteria. Don't get me wrong, I like the Gumbo Pot's Jambalaya and they make a great Oyster Po'Boy sandwich, but I prefer Jambalaya dry, sans tomato.

Each spring I would attend the annual Jambalaya Festival in Gonzales, where large cast iron pots would line the main street with locals competing for the Best Jambalaya Recipe. When Cajuns have a street party, food is the central attraction.

Jambalaya is a minimalist creation of rice and any meat. The trick, to quote my Mom: "is in the browning of the meat."

What this does is give "dirty rice" its brown color, and extra caramelized meat flavor.

The Chef cruelly forced his Mom to use 99c only Store sausage instead of a Cajun specialty, Andouille sausage.

The other ingredients went over well with her: chicken from my local Latin market, Superior Grocers, and meaty pork shoulder ribs from the chain grocery store, Albertson's, (little to no bone in these ribs!)

And finally, rice, onion, and Cajun seasonings come cheaply from my local 99c only Store.

So get to cooking my Mom's Jambalaya. I make this recipe more than any other, and once you make it, you will bookmark the recipe it to your "favorites" list too.

Mom's Jambalaya -VIDEO

Play it here. The video runs 5 minutes, 45 seconds.

Ingredients (serves 4)
  • 1 pound each, pork, chicken, and sausage (or any combination - chicken jambalaya is delish on its own)
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic or 1 teaspoon of 99 cent garlic powder
  • 2 cups rice
  • 5 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon of oil for browning meat
  • 1 tablespoon of Cajun seasoning - optional. 
  • Pepper to taste (add salt if you do not have cajun seasoning)

Add oil and saute meat over medium heat in a large cast-iron pot (any pot really - should hold at least 12 cups) until very brown for about 15 minutes; add sausage toward the end because it browns quickly. (And take out pork and chicken if too crowded for sausage.) 

Remove meat and add chopped onion, cajun seasonings, pepper and saute until tender. Add garlic during the last couple of minutes.

Add 5 cups of water, and scrape the bottom of the pot to loosen all the brown bits. 

Cover pot and cook all meat at a low boil for about 45 minutes (mainly, to tenderize pork chunks.)

Finally, add rice and cook for about 20 minutes more (according to rice package directions.) Okay to substitute with brown rice (25 minutes,) too.

*If you do a chicken and/or sausage only, you can low boil 20 minutes. The chicken will also cook through as rice steams (sausage is already cooked.) Also use 4 cups of water, not 5 cups, as less water will cook away.

After rice is done, stir meat and rice, cover again, turn off heat and let stand for 15 minutes more while you have a glass of wine and set the table.

Jambalaya freezes, and reheats with a microwave perfectly. It's a dish that tastes better the next day.

I love you Mom!

99 Thanks to Amy and neighbor Pete for their camerawork.

To view or embed the Chef's video from youtube click here.


Jill said...

I love your blog! I'm a single mom who loves gourmet and this is my new favorite site!

TJ said...

I grew up in Louisiana and I like my jambalaya without tomatoes too.

B.Keene said...

I'm living in Gonzales,La. and am proud to say this is the most authenic Jambalaya there is.After all we are the Jambalaya capitol of the world!!! Cute Mom,she steals the show.Look out Jay Leno's cookie lady!!!

100 Thoughts of Love said...

sounds should get about 2,000 comments, since MSN just wrote about your blog in a column.... Good luck!!!

Edamame said...

All dishes look very delicious. I am interested in the food culture of your country. And I support your site. If there is time, please come in my site.
From Japan

Georgia Hardstark said...

Love this post! So cute!!!

Tootsie said...

Hello, my name is Tootsie Gonzales and the picture you have of the two cooks on your website is me and my helper, Jamie Rye. I am the wife of Mike Gonzales, 2006 jambalaya champ. I was his helper when he won the contest. Check out our website at Just happened to see your website, pretty cool. I will be cooking against my husband and all the other guys in 2009. Plan to become the 1st woman jambalaya champ!!

Unknown said...

Love the creative menus.

Unknown said...

Thank you so much for this recipe. We love jambalaya but haven't found one as good as we get in New Orleans. This is it.

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