New Orleans is a magical, wonderful city filled with great Cajun cuisine, an excessive number of strip clubs per capita1, and a general lackadaisical attitude towards public consumption of alcohol. Now I’m 100% sure New Orleans has much more to offer, and my friends and I truly had the intention to immerse ourselves in the rich history and culture…but we were only there for a few days and it was raining for most of the days2, so we were exposed to only the most depraved activities. How Bourbon Street and its surrounding 10 mile radius is a legal, functioning entity is still beyond me (I would probably show up to every client meeting with a hand grenade in each arm). In fact, I’m fairly certain a typical New Orleans tourist’s diet looks something like this:
inspired hungover triggered, I debated between taking a crack at gumbo or jambalaya3, but I had a lot of rice laying around so jambalaya won. I will preface by saying the recipe below is probably not as good as this jambalaya.
1 When I was walking down Bourbon Street, I was verbally accosted by 3 large bouncers who yelled “titties” in my face. It was disturbing.
2 I guess it also didn’t help we began each morning by sitting on the couch and watching Arrested Development in a comatose state. We ended up finishing all three seasons by the end of the 4 day trip.
3 TIL the difference between gumbo and jambalaya! They are actually the same thing, but gumbo is served as a soup with rice on the side while jambalaya combines rice and soup stock together (kind of like paella I guess?)
- Some meat things (I used chicken thighs (2 lbs) and chorizo (1 lb), but any combination will do. Shrimp and andouille sausage is a pretty bomb combination as well)
- Long Grain Rice
- Crushed Tomato (28oz)
- Celery (4 stalks)
- Bell Pepper
- Yellow Onion
- Lemon juice
- Chicken seasoning mix (salt, pepper, thyme, rosemary, cumin)
- Cajun spice mix (salt, pepper, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, chili powder, paprika, crushed red pepper, oregano, thyme, gumbo file)
The total cook time is ~1.5 hours.
Season the chicken thighs and cook them skin-side down in a deep stock pot or deep pot over high heat. When the skin is browned crispy, turn and spray a dash of lemon juice on the bottom of the pot. Cook until the chicken is no longer pink and set aside.
Dice the onion and bell pepper, and chop the chorizo, jalapeno, and celery. In the same pot, cook the onion until translucent over medium heat.
Add in the bell pepper, chorizo, jalapeno, and celery. Cook until the onion are caramelized.
Add the crushed tomato. Note the crushed tomato may not be enough to fully submerge all the ingredients in the pot, so you may need to add some water (you will have to add some water anyways in order to cook the rice).
Add chopped parsley and the Cajun spice mix. Turn up the heat to bring the pot to a boil, and then turn the heat down for the mixture to simmer. Add in chicken thighs and simmer for 20-30 minutes.
This step is completely optional, but I did it because I did not want to deal with the hassle of cutting up my chicken (I refuse to eat Jambalaya with a fork and knife!). Take out the chicken thighs and shred with forks. Add shredded chicken back into pot.
Add water and pour a pint glass? of long grain rice1. Make sure to spread the rice evenly throughout the pot.
1 The one theme throughout these recipes is I
am really bad do not care for measurements. I like to think of cooking as an “art form” in the poetic sense and an expression of my creativity or something like that. HOWEVER…I always mess up when it comes to figuring out the necessary amount of pasta or rice to use. I always think I poured just enough, but actually end up pouring five times more than I really need. I can’t be the only person with this problem, right?
Cook until the rice has absorbed 98.3% of the liquid. Actually, an easy way to test if the dish is done is to take a spatula and run it across the bottom of the pot. If it makes a vortex-like noise like a wormhole is opening up to suck you out of Dimension C-137…then you are done!