The Wisdom Dude’s
Amazingly Delicious Jambalaya
This is a personal recipe, gleaned from several people's kitchens. It owes
nothing to recipe books, nor to commercial establishments. It is basically Creole
(NOT Cajun), with a heavy Tampa accent. Some things are best not trifled with;
it's no secret that the use of black, white, and red (Cayenne) pepper gives
it that distinctive deep, smoky "N'Awlins" taste. For some reason, folks where
the snow flies almost invariably skip the three peppers, or make substitutions
and then complain mightily that the dish just doesn't taste right!
- 3 tablespoons of Spanish olive oil. (This is an important ingredient
that you must not make substitutions for. Vigo makes the best; Goya
will work. The Giant Foods house brand of olive oil is Spanish, but not every
supermarket chain is the same, so check before you buy.)
- 1 1/2 cups finely chopped onion
- 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
- 1 cup finely chopped green bell pepper
- 6 cloves of garlic, pressed or crushed
- 1 12-oz. can of whole tomatoes, crushed by hand (this is not an
- 1 cup finely chopped celery
- 12 to 16 ounces of raw, shelled shrimp
- 2 1/2 cups of rice
- 4 to 5 ounces of chicken, cut into portions approximately the size of the
first joint of your little finger
- 2 to 3 ounces of pork country-style rib meat or a chop — cut the same
way as the chicken. (Do not use smoked pork!)
- 4 to 5 ounces of ham, cubed
- 6 to 8 ounces of Andouille sausage, sliced thin. This is one of the most
important ingredients, and it must be specifically Andouille sausage do
not make substitutions, or you'll rue the day!
- 2 cups of chicken stock (if fresh stock is not available, use 1 can of
College Inn chicken broth)
- As needed: clam juice or a vegetable juice, preferably V-8. DO NOT
- if desired, 1 tablespoon or less of dry, pale sherry
Herbs and Spices:
- 1/2 tablespoon each of red pepper, black pepper, and white pepper
- A hefty pinch (1/4 tsp.) of saffron — crush it with your fingers when you
- 1/4 teaspoon of monosodium glutamate
- 1 1/2 teaspoons of Hungarian hot paprika (be careful not
to get mixed up and use sweet paprika!)
- thyme — either a hefty pinch (1/4 tsp.) if it's dried, or about a teaspoon
if it's fresh
- 1 small bay leaf
- Heat the olive oil in a heavy pot. Cast-iron is best, but aluminum will
work. (A New Orleans jambalaya pot and a Tampa paella pot are the same critter
heavy cast-iron and as roomy as a Dutch oven. If you're buying a pot, prefer
one that's U.S.-made they're heavier.)
- Stir in the peppers, onion, garlic, and celery. Cook on high until everything
- Add the raw meats. Keep stirring on high until the chicken and pork have
- Add the cured meats. Stir for 2 or 3 minutes.
- Add the tomatoes, and stir for 5 to 6 minutes.
- Lower the heat to medium-high. Add the stock and all the seasonings. Cook
for about 20 minutes, until everything is well melded.
- Add the rice, cover, and cook for 30 minutes.
- Add the shrimp, and the extra liquid if you need to (if the rice is dry
or not all the way cooked), and stir it thoroughly. Cook 5 to 10 more minutes.
- Prepare for your guests to swoon in ecstasy!