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."Throwdown" 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 tasty 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 of Pork, Chicken, and Sausage (or any combination).
  • 1 Onion - chopped.
  • Garlic - 2 tablespoons chopped.
  • 2 cups Rice.
  • 5 cups Water.
  • 1 teaspoon of Cajun Seasoning. Cajun Seasonings has salt.
  • Black Pepper to taste (and add Salt if you do not have Cajun Seasoning).
  • 2 teaspoons Oil - 1 for browning meat, and 1 for sauteing veggies.
Slice pork and chicken. Okay to leave chicken in whole pieces. You can break it down later.

Saute chicken and pork in a large cast iron pot (any pot really - should hold 8 cups of water) until very brown for about 15 to 20 minutes.

Add sausage toward the end because it browns quickly (take out pork and chicken if too crowded). 

Add chopped onion, cajun seasonings, and black pepper, and saute until tender about 5 more minutes. 

And add water cover and cook meat at a low boil for about 30 minutes. Stir to dissolve and mix the charred bits on the bottom of the pot, this is what makes the rice "dirty".

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

After chicken and pork boil for 30 minutes, that's when I remove larger pieces of meat break it down and take any off the bone. (In the video Mom simmers meat for an hour, but I find half an hour is enough to tenderize meat). 

Return any of the cooked meat to water and add rice. Stir and cook for 20 more minutes (according to rice package cooking directions).

Afterward, mix meat and rice, cover again, turn off the 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 for her 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!!!

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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