Who dat? Jambalaya

Super Bowl Sunday is almost here, so it’s time to get ready for great eating. The Super Bowl has become kind of like Thanksgiving – a time when groups of people get together ostensibly to celebrate an event, but it’s really about the food.

With the New Orleans Saints in the game, there are so many food options it makes me swoon. Sorry, Indianapolis. I can’t get too excited about pork and beans, and blue beer (see my earlier post). Here’s my easy recipe for jambalaya, a traditional Cajun dish that will feed a horde. It’s a great party dish. It can be prepared a day ahead, if necessary, then refrigerated and reheated, although it will taste better if made the day of the party. This recipe is from my cookbook “Fan Fare: A Playbook of Great Recipes for Tailgating or Watching the Game At Home” (Harvard Common Press, 2007). Some recipes for jambalaya include a roux, but I omitted it to make this one easy

Big Feed Jambalaya

1/4 cup vegetable oil

2 1/2 to 3 pounds cooked shredded chicken

1 1/2 pounds andouille sausage, diced

4 cups chopped onions

2 cups chopped celery

2 cups chopped green bell peppers

1 tablespoon chopped garlic

5 cups chicken broth

2 heaping teaspoons salt

1/2 heaping teaspoon cayenne pepper, or more to taste

1/2 teaspoon vinegar-based hot sauce, or more to taste

1 teaspoon Kitchen Bouquet

4 cups long-grain rice (don’t use converted rice)

Heat the vegetable oil in a large, heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and heat, stirring, until lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the sausage and cook, stirring, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Remove the sausage and chicken from the pot and set aside.

Add the onions, celery, green peppers and garlic to the pot. Cook, stirring, until tender but not limp or browned, 5 to 6 minutes. Add a little more oil if needed to prevent sticking.

Return the chicken and sausage to the pot. Add the chicken broth, salt, cayenne pepper, hot pepper sauce and Kitchen Bouquet and bring to a boil. Add the rice, stir and return to a boil.

When the mixture is boiling, cover, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Do not lift the lid during this time. At the end of 10 minutes, remove the lid and, using 2 large spoons, quickly turn the rice from top to bottom. Cover, turn off the heat, and let sit for 20 more minutes. Do not lift the lid. At the end of 20 minutes, check to be sure all the liquid has been absorbed; if not, cover and let sit a few more minutes.

Serves 12

From “Fan Fare: A Playbook of Great Recipes for Tailgating or Watching the Game at Home” By Debbie Moose (Harvard Common Press, 2007)

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