Cold, Hard Football Facts for Sep 08, 2004
We got the base for this recipe from our favorite cookbook, "Cast-Iron Cooking" by A.D. Livingston (The Lyons Press, 1991). Every recipe in this book that I've tried has been a winner. This jambalaya takes quite a bit of time, but it's a guaranteed crowd pleaser. The recipe below contains a few updates of my own, and it can be tweaked to suit your own needs. It's best to get all the prep work done before firing up the stove and it's best to make this at home, the night before the game. Fortunately, this jambalaya is one of those dishes that can be reheated in your skillet or Dutch oven again and again, and gets better every time.
It's best made the day before the game (and tastes better when reheated). However, a well-organized chef can do the entire dish on game day. Serves 6 to 8.
* 1 cup long-grain rice, uncooked (good old Uncle Ben's works fine)
* 1 pound smoke-cured hams, cut into chunks (we prefer to make my own ham, as store-bought hams aren't very smoky)
* 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken, cut into chunks
* 8 slices of good, smoky bacon (see our bacon guide or (coming soon) learn how to make your own bacon)
* 1 pound of shrimp, shells removed (whole shrimp works fine, but jumbo shrimp can be cut into pieces)
* ½ pound of bulk sausage, crumbled (optional; I prefer to make my own sausage, but something like Jimmy Dean sausage will do)
* 1 cup of hot chicken broth (when making double batches, I sometimes add an equal amount of a good, well-hopped beer)
* 1 14.5-ounce can of tomatoes
* 8 ounces fresh whole mushrooms (Do not slice! Whole mushrooms may look too big, but they will shrink dramatically, and fill with flavor)
* 4 stalks of celery, chopped
* 1 large onion, diced
* 1 green or red pepper, diced
* 2 carrots, sliced (optional)
* 2-3 jalapenos, finely chopped (optional)
* 1 teaspoon kosher salt
* 1 teaspoon thyme (indispensable to this dish)
* 1 teaspoon rough ground pepper
* 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
* 3/4 teaspoon oregano
* 3/4 teaspoon paprika
* Worcestershire sauce
* Tabasco sauce
Fry the bacon (and sausage if being used) in a 13-inch skillet or 3- to 5-quart Dutch oven. Remove meat with slotted spoon, set aside on towels, chop or crumble. Brown ham and chicken in bacon fat, then set aside with the bacon. Add the rice to the bacon drippings, and cook on low heat until it starts to brown(you may find at this point that the bacon fat has begun to dry up. If it does, add a little vegetable oil or more bacon fat if you have it).
Add mushroom, celery, onion, pepper and jalapenos to the skillet. Sauté on low heat for 8 to 10 minutes. Chop canned tomatoes and add them, along with their juice, to the skillet. Add the hot chicken broth. Dump all the meat back in the mixture, along with shrimp, carrots, and spice mixture. Mix well.
Bring to a boil, cover tightly, reduce heat, simmer for 30 minutes. Stir occasionally. Add more broth or beer if needed. Add Worcestershire and Tabasco to taste. Serve with cornbread or as a great side dish to deep-fried turkey.
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