|This nicely seasoned jambalaya, a rice-based dish similar to a low country purlow, starts with the classic trinity of vegetables, contains bacon, spicy andouille smoked sausage, and cubes of pork loin, and is baked to a fluffy perfection.|
Pork and Andouille JambalayaWe enjoy jambalaya year round down here along the coast because it's a perfect party dish and take-along for picnics, reunions and those potluck gatherings that still remain popular in the south. Sort of a deep south take on purlow or even a paella, jambalaya is a rice central dish, but from there it can meet with a wide range of ingredients – usually some kind of pork, shrimp or chicken, and often accented with andouille, a spicy smoked Cajun sausage.
Jambalaya is a popular dish for many reasons - it can usually be made from what you have on hand, making it very economical, plus it is a hearty dish that can feed quite a lot of people, and it both freezes and reheats beautifully. Because it is such a perfect party food, I featured this jambalaya in the February/March 2012 issue of eat. drink. Mississippi as my Mardi Gras season column feature. If you're a resident of Mississippi, or are separated from our home state, you really should check it out. It's a great magazine featuring everything foodie in Mississippi, from restaurants and chefs, to bakeries and stores, gourmet foods and gift shops, to regional bloggers, and everything in between, across every region of the Magnolia State. You'll love it.
Jambalaya comes in two basic forms here along the Gulf Coast - one being a more Cajun style version that is essentially a brown jambalaya like this one, and the other a Creole style that is similar, but generally including some kind of tomato. We even have our own version of Hoppin' John Jambalaya down this way, and we've had the nerve to carry its concept over to pasta, though some purists get up in arms about that one. As you see, it's a pretty versatile dish.
While you certainly can, and many people do, cook jambalaya start to finish on the top of the stove, I find the texture and consistency better when it's finished in the oven, tightly covered. I've seen a lot of stove-top, gummy jambalaya in my life and I don't like my jambalaya gooey. The process of baking it seems to eliminate that, producing more separated rice grains, and resulting in a drier, more fluffy jambalaya, the way that I personally prefer it.
Here's how I make it.
Recipe: Pork and Andouille Jambalaya©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 15 min |Cook time: 1 hour | Yield: About 6 to 8 servings
- 3 slices of bacon
- 1 pound of raw pork loin, cut into cubes
- 1 pound of andouille or other spicy smoked sausage, diced or sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
- 1/4 cup of water
- 2 cups of chopped onion
- 1 cup of chopped green bell pepper
- 1/4 cup of chopped celery
- 1 tablespoon of minced garlic
- 1 quart of beef stock or broth
- 3 cups of water, heated
- 1/4 cup of sliced green onion
- 1/4 teaspoon of Cajun seasoning (like Slap Ya Mama), or to taste, optional
- 1/2 teaspoon of dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon of dried basil
- 1/2 tablespoon of dried parsley, plus extra for garnish if desired
- 4 cups of long grain rice
- Bottled hot pepper sauce, for the table
Slice bacon into a 6 quart Dutch oven and cook until fat is rendered. Add the cubed pork and cook over medium high heat in the drippings, stirring regularly, until meat is heavily browned and browned bits (the fond) have formed in the bottom of the pot. Add the sausage, cook and stir for 3 minutes, add the 1/4 cup of water a little at a time, using a wooden spoon to scrape up the browned bits from the bottom. This will add both flavor and color to your jambalaya.
Add the onion, bell pepper and celery, cook and stir for 4 minutes; add the garlic and cook another minute. Stir in the beef stock, bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat, cover and let simmer for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Add the 3 cups of hot water, green onion, Cajun seasoning, thyme, basil, parsley and rice; stir well.
Cover and transfer pot to the oven, baking at 350 degrees F for 35 minutes. Remove and let stand covered until ready to serve, or for at least 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork before serving. Spoon loosely into a serving platter if desired, but do not pack down. Garnish with parsley, serve with a side salad or green vegetable, and pass a bottle of hot pepper sauce at the table.
Cook's Notes: With andouille sausage, and no additional cayenne pepper or Cajun seasoning, this results in what I would call a moderately spicy jambalaya with a healthy kick. Add cayenne pepper or Cajun/Creole seasoning for extra spicy. For testing purposes, I used Conecuh brand Cajun Smoked Sausage. For a milder dish, substitute a mild smoked sausage or kielbasa. Okay to substitute leftover cooked pork, or a loose raw sausage.
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