Jambalaya

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • Yield:

    24 or More

    Servings.

Appears in

Craig Claiborne's Southern Cooking

Craig Claiborne's Southern Cooking

By Craig Claiborne

Published 1987

  • About

There is some dispute as to the exact origin of the name jambalaya, the excellent blend of rice and other ingredients including—depending on your recipe—sausage, shrimp, crawfish, and ham, among other things. In the most definitive book on Creole and Cajun cooking, Chef Paul Prud-homme’s Louisiana Kitchen, the author quotes the Acadian Dictionary, written by Rita and Gabrielle Claudet and published in Houma, Louisiana, in 1981. Jambalaya, the dictionary declares, “comes from the French ‘jambon’ meaning ham, the African ‘ya’ meaning rice, and the Acadian [language] where everything is “à la.’ “ If you really want to be authentic, the ham used in a basic jambalaya is a Cajun specialty called tasso. It is a highly seasoned ham and rarely found outside Louisiana.

Ingredients

  • ¼ pound salt pork, cut into small cubes
  • ¾ pound hot link sausages, such as chorizos or hot Italian sausages
  • 4 cups finely chopped onions
  • 3 cups finely chopped celery
  • 3 tablespoons finely minced garlic
  • 4 cups chopped sweet green peppers
  • 1 cup chopped sweet red peppers, or an additional cup of chopped sweet green peppers
  • 3 pounds porkette (smoked boneless pork butt), available in supermarkets, or a cooked ham in 1 thick slice
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme, or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 1 can (35 ounces) tomatoes, preferably imported Italian tomatoes
  • 1 cup finely chopped parsley
  • Salt to taste, if desired
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • Tabasco sauce to taste
  • 1 quart shucked oysters with their liquor
  • 4 cups Fish Stock or bottled clam juice, approximately
  • 4 cups water, approximately
  • 5 cups rice
  • 5 pounds raw shrimp, shelled and deveined
  • 1 pounds fresh bay scallops

Method

  1. Using a large kettle or Dutch oven, cook the salt pork cubes, stirring often, until rendered of fat.
  2. Cut the sausages into ½-inch-thick slices and add them to the kettle. Cook about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, and add the onions. Cook, stirring often, until wilted, and add the celery, garlic, green peppers, and red peppers.
  3. Cut the porkette or ham into 1-inch cubes and add it to the kettle. Add the bay leaves, thyme, tomatoes, parsley, salt, pepper, and Tabasco sauce. Continue cooking. Drain the oysters and add the liquor, ½ to 1 cup, to the pot.
  4. Add 2 cups fish stock and 2 cups water. Cook, stirring once or twice from the bottom, about 10 minutes.
  5. Add the rice and stir gently. Cover and cook about 15 minutes. If necessary, add a little more stock and water to prevent sticking and to keep the jambalaya from becoming too dry.
  6. Add the remaining stock and water, the shrimp, scallops, and oysters. Cook, stirring often from the bottom, 15 to 20 minutes. If necessary, add more liquid to prevent scorching and drying out.
  7. Serve with a bottle of Tabasco sauce on the side.