It’s Fat Tuesday.
Which, not being religious, nor being from Louisiana don’t mean that much to me. But I have a native Louisianian in my life, and currently in my house. At one point, Scott and I were discussing going to Mardi Gras. It would have been a fun way to celebrate my 30th and it fell over his spring break so he wouldn’t have to get out of teaching. But, life being life, had a way of getting in the way from that plan coming into action. Instead, Scott ventured north to the ever-snowy Midwest. But I wanted to have a little Mardi Gras spirit while he was here.
So I attempted to make King Cake.
Here’s the recipe.
I wouldn’t call it a cake per se. It’s more like a cinnamon bread with lots of icing. My favorite part was definitely adding the colored sprinkles. It’s unclear whether or not I would make this again. I was told that 1) Nobody ever makes King Cake 2) It usually doesn’t taste awesome. Something akin to the emperor’s new clothes for New Orleans food. So there you have it.
However, I also made a big pot of chicken and sausage jambalaya. And that, if I say so myself (and Scott will agree), was most excellent.
I think jambalaya may be my most favorite of all the Louisiana dishes. I remember the first time I had it, not terribly long after Scott and I first started dating, while we were in Atlanta visiting some of his childhood friends (the same friends that we often spend Thanksgiving with). We were sitting on the back patio, amongst his old friends and my new friends and I took a bite and absolutely fell in love. The spice of the sausage with the fluffiness of the rice with all of the flavors of the trinity (onion, celery and green bell pepper). I’ve tried to make it several times since then and have never come close to Ginger’s jambalaya. Not spicy enough, overcooked or undercooked. But finally, I made a pot that was at least in the ballpark.
Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya
As with any good home recipe, I tend to just eyeball a lot of things so I apologize in advance for the lack of precise measurements.
I like to chop all of my ingredients before even getting the pot out. There’s no good reason for this – just my personal preference.
Start with the trinity.
Dice 2 stalks of celery,
1 green bell pepper,
2 small onions.
Now for the meat. I like andouille sausage, but any sausage will work.
I slice the sausage in half, and then cut it in 1/4 – 1/2 inch wide pieces.
I also deconstructed most of a roast chicken. I don’t usually like to deal with meat – to get my hands dirty with it, but picking apart a roast chicken is one of my more favorites things. Possibly because it reminds me from a scene in Amalie. I bought this chicken already cooked because my neighborhood grocery stores sells them for $5 on Fridays, but you could easily roast your own.
Okay. Now for a pot. And some oil.
Add the chopped meat and cook over medium heat.
And a liberal amount of Tony’s.
Cook for about 5 minutes before adding the vegetables.
Cook until the vegetables are soft and the chicken start to fall apart. It will start to smell amazing at this point.
Add a couple of tablespoons of tomato paste.
And about 4 cups of chicken stock.
Bring to boil, then add 1 1/2 cups of rice. (I am breaking the 2:1 liquid to rice ratio here, but because there is so much other stuff in here to soak up the chicken stock, I wanted to make sure the rice got its fair share.)
Cover it up, lower the heat and try to wait. It’ll take about 25-35 minutes.
It should look something like this.