'Cooking at Home' blog posts

Cooking At Home: Strawberry Shortcake

Thursday, June 16th, 2011

From the North, South, East, or West, there has to be one sweet that means the beginning of summer for every child who’s in school and whose family eats at least somewhat seasonally. That’s strawberry shortcake. School’s either just let out or soon will be for the summer; it’s time for picnics, potlucks, trips to the beach, and summer vacations.

Besides the undeniable fact that strawberries are all kinds of delicious, I think this simple, no-fuss dessert maintains such a strong emotional fix on many folks because it really is just that – the first luscious, scrumptious bit of summer, and almost everywhere in the U.S., that first bite comes right around the time school lets out for summer. Ah, freedom. Strawberry shortcake.

This is such an easy one to make at home. This is a slightly fussier version than you might like to attempt yourself, but I’ll guide you through the options and make clear the basics. Well, actually the basics are this: strawberries and shortcake. The strawberries you must procure unless you grow them yourself, and the shortcake you absolutely should make yourself, it’s as quick and easy as biscuits.

Please please please, whatever you do, don’t try this with supermarket strawberries. At the restaurant we use mostly Seedling Orchard or Paul Friday’s Berries, or else it’s Mick Klug’s or Ellis Orchard. Go to your favorite U-pick or farmer’s market and get nice red juicy strawberries. Smaller is usually better. A good market vendor will let you sample. For shortcake, I’m not necessarily looking for the sweetest berries. Tart is O.K. I want aroma and a decent amount of acid, but I also want red juice when I pinch the berry. A more acidic berry can take more sugar without becoming saccharin and make a nice full-bodied syrup after maceration.

For the shortcake, I absolutely recommend pastry flour, which may be a little hard to come by at your local grocery store. I’m a big fan of Anson Mill’s Fine Cloth Bolted Pastry Flour, which doesn’t come cheap but is supreme and absolutely worth the money if you want top-notch short cake. There’s a couple of other tricks that work in a pinch: 1) mix equal parts all-purpose flour and cake flour. This yields little flavor if you’re using supermarket brands but it works. 2) use one tablespoon of cornstarch as part of each cup of all purpose flour. This is least preferable. It really is worth a trip to Whole Foods, where you can buy either Arrowhead Mills or Bob’s Red Mill pastry flour, both of which are excellent.

I recommend whipped creme fraiche in place of standard whipped cream, but go with your own preference. Creme fraiche is easy to make, and the pointers are listed after the main recipes. Creme fraiche will whip just like whipping cream.

On to the recipe. Simple stuff here!

For about twelve portions

Macerate the strawberries:

  • 3 quarts of strawberries, tops removed and cut into bite-size pieces
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
  • 3 Tablespoons Mathilde X/O or substitute Grand Marnier (optional)

Wash the strawberries under cold running water, being gentle but also careful to remove all dirt, sand, and grit. Place on a clean towel on a sheet tray and return to the refrigerator for an hour or two until thoroughly dried. Slice and place in a glass or stainless mixing bowl. Add remaining ingredients and toss gently. Don’t worry yet about the sugar dissolving. Cover the bowl tightly and return to the refrigerator. This is best done 2-3 hours before you want to serve. That’s another great thing about strawberry shortcake – it’s a great prepare-ahead dessert. The strawberries will keep for about a week but are best the same day.

For the Shortcake:

  • 4 cups pastry flour
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, very thinly sliced, well chilled
  • 2 cups light cream or half and half, plus a little more if needed
  • one egg and turbinado sugar for dusting, optional

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Chill all ingredients thoroughly. Sift together the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, salt, and sugar. Working quickly, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles a lumpy meal. Add most, but not all, of the cream. Working quickly so as not to warm up the mixture with your hands, gently work in the liquid while working to press the mixture into one mass. Add remaining cream a bit at a time, working each bit in, until the dough comes together as a single stiff mass. Quickly turn onto a well floured board and fold it in on itself three times. Don’t overwork the dough or you’ll have bread instead of cake! Roll the dough out to about 1″ thick and cut with a biscuit cutter of your choice. Place on a buttered cookie sheet. Beat the egg with a few teaspoons of water, then brush the shortbreads with the egg mixture. Dust liberally with turbinado sugar. Bake at 325 until set in the center and golden brown, about twenty minutes. Best served hot with cold strawberries and whipped cream.

The Creme Fraiche

  • 1 quart very fresh, pasteurized heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup cultured buttermilk

In a clean sterilized jar, mix the buttermilk and cream, cover with cheesecloth, and set in a warm location for twelve hours. It should sour and thicken in that amount of time. you may leave another few hours if not fully thickened. I have never had a batch fail, but if it’s not thickened and soured after sixteen hours, I’d advise you to start over with fresh buttermilk. Chill at once. This will whip just like whipped cream, you can churn it into slamming butter, or use anywhere you’d otherwise use sour cream.

And just for fun, if you’d like to make the violet pearls shown in the picture, here’s that formula. Of course, this is completely optional.

First things first, you’ll need to make a sodium alginate base:

  • 300 grams water
  • 6 grams sodium alginate

Place the water in a blender on low speed. Add the alginate slowly through the feeding hole on the lid. Increase speed to medium and continue to blend on medium speed for three minutes. Scrape from the blender bowl and place in a container, cover and set aside several hours to allow all the air bubbles to escape.

Next, you’ll need to make a violet syrup:

  • 1oo violet flowers
  • 300 grams simple syrup (150 grams each sugar and boiling water, stir to dissolve)

Place the violets in a blender and pulse to pulverize, lubricating by adding a little simple syrup at a time. Once violets are liquified, add remaining syrup and blend on high for two minutes. Strain through a double layer of dampened cheesecloth. Store in the refrigerator until needed.

Finally, you’re ready to make the pearls.

  • 1000 grams filtered water
  • 7 grams calcium lactate
  • 100 grams alginate base
  • 150 grams violet syrup

Dissolve the calcium lactate in the water. This will take a few minutes of stirring occasionally. Stir the violet syrup into the alginate base and place the mixture into a squeeze bottle with a fairly small dropper tip. Drop droplets of the mixture into the calcium lactate solution and wait 45 seconds for the spheres to set. Use a slotted spoon or small strainer to harvest the pearls, rinse gently under cold running water, and serve at once.

Cooking at Home: Louisiana Crawfish Boil

Thursday, May 5th, 2011

Lots of newspaper spread on a picnic or patio table is the way to go

In the three years since we served our first meal at Big Jones, I have learned to work hard to be a resource for people with questions about the traditional foods of the South, particularly about how they can reproduce them at home. Besides pointing people to cookbooks that are useful, a few months ago I realized that this blog was the perfect venue to share this type of information with people who are looking for it. Hopefully, this blog will eventually have a searchable database of simple Southern recipes you can prepare easily at home, given a little motivation and time. This is the Cooking at Home series. The Anatomy of a Dish series will continue to showcase more intricate dishes we make for the restaurant menu.

This spring, I have been asked by a humbling number of folks whether we would be doing a crawfish boil this year or what I knew about how they could have one at home. I promised all who asked to share some resources and tips and now that it is high crawfish season, here’s the lowdown. We haven’t yet had a crawfish boil at the restaurant because – and you should know this before throwing one at home – they are a fantastically messy affair best held outside. The cooking can take place inside if you’re having a fairly small, 10-20 pound boil, but move the eating outside. Now that we have an outdoor patio in our future at 5347 North Clark, there may be a crawfish boil or two in our future, but they’ll be special events and probably not until the next season, so stay in touch via our Facebook Page or Twitter.

Photos in this blog were taken at a crawfish boil we threw for Christa as her going away party last year, when we boiled 40 pounds of crawfish. This recipe will be for 10 pounds, but you can scale it up. A crawfish boil is very easy to pull off, but it takes some planning to get all the parts together, as they are not all available at the corner store.

A little about crawfish – whatever you do, absolutely, positively make sure you are getting American crawfish. Louisiana produces about 90% of the domestic crawfish, with Alabama, Mississippi, and the Carolinas weighing in for a bit of the business. Imported crawfish is never of the same quality, may be mislabeled, and doesn’t employ Americans. Crawfish weren’t considered an important food in South Louisiana until the early 20th century, and in Louisiana crawfish production is symbiotic with the rice industry. Crawfish rose in importance as a food as the rice industry gained a foothold there after the Civil War. Rice is grown over the summer months and harvested in the fall, and crawfish are raised in the same fields over winter and into spring, feasting on the biomass left after the rice harvest, turning it back into soil for the next harvest while fattening themselves up for your pot. The Louisiana crawfish industry is a model of sustainable agriculture. Louisiana is a great place to look for crawfish that is both delicious and sustainable.

In spite of their exotic and slightly intimidating appearance, they're actually harmless and make great playmates. Before you boil them.

We’re going to lay out a few recipes here to constitute a small spread you can lay out for yourself and a few friends. The boil recipe is going to use 10# of crawfish, which I’d recommend for 3-4 people, but you can scale it up from there. We’re making Crawfish boil, creamy cole slaw, and pig’s ears, a Cajun dough fritter.

The best overall strategy here is to set your large pot of water to boil while working on the cole slaw and the pig’s ears. Truly, I recommend making the pig’s ears dessert fresh after enjoying the crawfish boil. It’s a great time for everyone to gather around the stove and there is nothing like eating them straight out of the frying pan. Nothing. So, make sure all of your ingredients are at the ready ahead of time. Start the water, season it, and get to work on the cole slaw, and get that in the refrigerator to marinate. I think cole slaw is best at about 1-2 hours and starts to deteriorate after that, so it’s best to finish it about the time the water is coming to a boil. The potatoes will take about 20 minutes before adding the corn, and after another 10 minutes you add the crawfish. Depending on the BTU’s of your burner, it should return to a boil after 3-5 minutes, meaning by the time you drain your boil and let it rest until you can handle the crawfish to peel them, about an hour has elapsed and your slaw is perfect.

See the sources at the end for companies that ship crawfish.

For the boil:

  • A 5-gallon stock pot
  • 2-1/2 gallons water
  • 3/4 cup kosher salt
  • 8-10 small yellow onions, peeled
  • 2 heads garlic, peeled, about 24 cloves
  • 1 cup Spanish paprika
  • 12 bay leaves
  • 1/4 cup granulated onion
  • 1/4 cup granulated garlic
  • 1/4 cup ground black pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 4 Tablespoons worcestershire sauce
  • 5 ounces Louisiana hot sauce, such as Crystal, Tabasco, or Louisiana brand
  • 3 pounds new potatoes, average 2″ diameter
  • 4 ears corn, shucked and cut into 2″ rounds
  • 10# jumbo Louisiana crawfish

Most crawfish farms sell crawfish that has been purged and is ready to cook, but I recommend giving them a quick rinse in the back yard (or thoroughly sanitized kitchen sink) with a copious amount of cold running water before cooking. Whatever you do, don’t submerge them in a water bath and expect them to 1) survive if they are submerged in water in the sack they arrived in, they have to breathe! or 2) stay where they are if dumped into a basin of water, they will try to get out and explore! Give them a thorough rinse in cold running water and you’re good to go.

Place your stock pot on your burner and add the water. Turn on high heat and add all the seasonings except the worcestershire and hot sauce. Get to work on your slaw in the mean time. When the pot boils, add the potatoes and reduce heat to maintain a gentle boil. Periodically check the potatoes for doneness. Enjoy a cold beer. Once potatoes are just tender, about twenty minutes, add the corn and boil another ten minutes. Add the worcestershire and hot sauce and turn heat back to high. Return to a rolling boil and add crawfish as quickly as possible, but be careful not to throw too many in at once or you may splatter yourself with boiling spicy stuff! Return to a boil for fifteen seconds. Drain at once in a large colander. Dump the whole mess out on a newspaper-covered picnic table in your back yard (or your kitchen table if you’re willing to do a lot of cleanup,) pop another beer, get out your cole slaw, and dig in.

About to go into the pot - grasp them firmly by the thorax from behind, so they can't wiggle free

Creamy Cole Slaw

  • 3 cups very finely shredded white cabbage
  • zest of one lemon
  • juice of three lemons
  • 1 bunch green onions, julienned
  • 1 teaspoon celery salt, or more to taste
  • 1 Tablespoon very finely minced jalapeno
  • 1 small bunch basil, coarsely chopped
  • ½ cup mayonnaise

Place all ingredients in a 4-quart mixing bowl and toss to combine. Cover with a loose fitting lid or plastic wrap and refrigerate immediately. If storing more than 2 hours, refrigerate in an airtight container.

Cajun Pig’s Ears

  • 1-1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour, plus extra for flouring your board
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 Tablespoons fresh hog lard, or virgin palm or coconut oil, plus 2-4 cups for frying
  • 6-10 Tablespoons water, as needed to make a fairly stiff dough
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar or fresh lemon juice
  • powdered sugar for dusting, or cane syrup for dipping

Pig’s ears are best fried in a 2-4 quart heavy-bottomed saucepan, in at least two inches of oil, but use a deep enough pot that your fat only rises halfway up the sides. You want some protection against splatter! Gently heat the oil over medium heat while you make and roll the dough. Use a clip-on thermometer, and shoot for 375 degrees.

Sift the flour before measuring it. Add the baking soda and salt and sift again into a work bowl. Add the 3 Tbsp lard in small bits and work into the dough until thoroughly incorporated. Working quickly, add 6 Tablespoons cold water and the vinegar. Use your hands to press the dough together and work in the liquid. Add water another Tablespoon at a time, if necessary, until the dough just comes together. Quickly roll out on a well-floured board to 1/8″ thick, about the thickness of two quarters stacked. Use a sharp knife or dough cutter to cut long triangle shapes out of the dough. Check the heat of your oil and raise or reduce heat if necessary. At 37-75 degrees, drop the triangles into the hot fat a few at a time. Use a long-handled tong or carving fork to grab the sharp ends of the triangles and bend them upward while frying, until they set into a floppy-ear shape. Continue frying until golden brown. Carefully remove to a clean towel or wire rack to drain a moment. Dust with powdered sugar or drizzle with cane syrup after a minute, while still hot and eat at once.

Resources and Suppliers

Live crawfish

Louisiana Crawfish Company based in historic Natchitoches, has been shipping live crawfish for over a quarter of a century. Skip the online order form and call them on the telephone. Tell them you want really, really big crawfish.

Cajuncrawfish.com is based in Branch, Louisiana, in Acadia Parish in the heart of Cajun Country. As is the same with the Louisiana Crawfish Company, call them on the telephone instead of using the online ordering option.

The photos in this posting are of crawfish we purchased last season from Bayou Bounty which was based in Boutte, and is sadly no longer in business. These were some awesome critters. I can personally vouch for the quality from these two companies, so you’ll be in good hands.

Cajun and South Louisiana Pantry Items

Cajun Grocer is a great option for basic staple items and a lot of fun stuff geared toward the tourist trade. If you’re looking for a can of Steen’s cane syrup and also want some gulf shrimp, they’re not a bad choice, but pricier than some.

Cajun Wholesale is actually a retail store online that offers a wonderful selection including hard to find items like popcorn rice and wild pecan rice, in addition to that can of Steen’s you want to drizzle on your pig’s ears.

This is why you want to enjoy your crawfish boil outdoors

This is why you want to enjoy your crawfish boil outdoors

Some crawfish prefer purple haze

Cooking at Home: Chicken & Andouille Jambalaya!

Thursday, March 24th, 2011

A few weeks ago, I was humbled and also pleased when one of Chicago’s best charcuterie bloggers tried my andouille recipe, and I have to say his andouille was gorgeous. That made me feel proud as well, even though it was all Mark’s handiwork. In his post about the andouille project, he remarked that after first trying the sausage in andouille jambalaya, he felt the jambalaya was holding the sausage back a bit. With sausage that beautiful it’s easy to imagine it being best on its own, and in fact straight away sliced off the link is one of the best ways to enjoy andouille. At the same time, I vowed to share some of my jambalaya tricks because as such an unbelievably simple dish, jambalaya is really, really hard to pull off. I seriously spent years messing with recipes before I got one that I felt sang the way you’d expect such a famous dish to sing. Truth be told, it’s much more of a formula than a recipe, but I’m going to try to share the ins and outs of making great jambalaya at home.

This will mark the inaugural post in a new series called Cooking at Home, which will travel alongside and compliment the Anatomy of a Dish series. Cooking at home from ingredients you’ve procured yourself is rewarding, fun, and hopefully delicious. It’s also one of the best ways to be sure of what’s going into your food. As much as I hope you dine out and support good restaurants often, I hope you’ll cook at home just as often, with family and friends or whomever makes good company. Cooking at Home will be dishes we rarely offer at the restaurant but have deep roots in Southern cooking, or sometimes dishes we do offer at the restaurant but which are easy to make at home. Anatomy of a Dish will continue being the series where I relate the background, inspirations, ingredient sources, techniques, and recipes for dishes offered on our seasonal menu. They’ll usually be possible to cook at home as well, but will generally require a greater time commitment and more advanced technique.

On to Jambalaya. Please do not try making jambalaya without a well seasoned, heavy cast iron kettle with a fitting lid. I use Cajun Cast Iron 9 quart dutch ovens at the restaurant, and if you’ve seen us cook at events you’ve seen them live in action. They are cost effective, durable, and give you the even heat distribution necessary to cook a large amount of pilaf evenly. If you are lucky enough to afford Staub or Le Creuset enamel cookware, good for you, your presentation will be far fancier than mine and worthy of a well-appointed table.

A Cajun Cast Iron 9-qt dutch oven

This recipe will fill a 9-qt dutch oven nearly to the brim, so you can cut it in half or even better, throw a jambalaya party! First off, a few notes about ingredients:

*If you’re ambitious enough to make your own andouille, absolutely do so. My recipe is here. If you’re not so ambitious I can’t blame you, and the best andouille I have yet to try (besides my own of course 😉 is Jacob’s Andouille from LaPlace, Louisiana. They sell mail order or you can use its procurement as an excuse to take a trip south and visit New Orleans.

*Since you’ll be making a pilaf, your rice is paramount. I favor popcorn rice, but you should feel free to use any good long grain or medium grain rice. Your best sources for popcorn rice:

Falcon Rice Mill http://falconrice.com/

Campbell Farms http://www.campbellfarms.com/

If you want to go the convenient route, Riceland rice from Producer’s Rice Mill in Little Rock, Arkansas is decent, and available at most local groceries. Please remember in these hard times – friends don’t let friends eat imported rice. At least not when we’re making a home grown dish. Want jasmine rice for your tom kha or basmati for your briyani? Absolutely! Please buy American rice when you can. An important point here though – Falcon Rice and Campbell Farms will both get you very fresh rice, which will require less water than your standard kiln-killed imported or mass-market rice. This recipe is for fairly fresh new crop rice. If you are using standard-issue industrial or imported rice, increase the liquid to 3 quarts from 2-1/2.

*If you want a great jambalaya, you want a great chicken. The Butcher and Larder stocks Gunthorp Farm chickens, which are fantastic and what we use at the restaurant. The Bell & Evans chickens at Treasure Island and Whole Foods are good, and I’ve also seen good chickens at Lincoln Quality Meat Market and Paulina Market.

*Make sure your spices are of decent quality and reasonably fresh. The Spice House sells the best of the best at a couple of Chicago locations and by mail order, but McCormick spices you’ll find at most grocery stores are not bad if the store turns its inventory over at a reasonable rate. Always grind your pepper fresh. We grind our Tellicherry peppercorns fresh twice a day.

Without further adieu, here’s the recipe. It’s much simpler than it seems at first glance. Read it a few times, get your ingredients together, read it again, and then dive in.

  • 1 fresh chicken, 3-1/2 to 4 pounds
  • 2 pounds andouille
  • 1-1/2 pounds yellow onion, diced 1/2″
  • 1/2# green bell peppers, diced 1/2″
  • 3 ribs celery, split lengthwise and chopped 1/2″
  • 8 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped
  • 4 Tablespoons Cajun seasoning (Spice House’s is good, or make your own with following recipe)
  • 2 Tablespoons Black Pepper
  • 2-1/2 quarts chicken stock (made from chicken carcass, see instructions)
  • 2 quarts popcorn rice
  • 4 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 Tablespoons Louisiana-Style hot sauce (Crystal, Louisiana, Louisiana Gold)
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 6 bay leaves
  • 3 Tablespoons kosher salt, or more to taste

First, prep your meat. This stage can be done a couple of days in advance, just refrigerate all the components until you plan to make your final pot. Preheat oven to 350. Clean the chicken: remove all skin, cavity and tail fat, and set aside. Debone entirely. Chop meat into 2/3-1″ pieces and refrigerate until needed. Place the skin and fat into a small baking dish and place in the oven. Roast to render until skin and fat are crisped and lightly brown and all fat has rendered into a clear, yellow oil. Pour off oil and reserve until needed. The remaining crispy skin and fat can be seasoned with salt and pepper and eaten as a snack or garnish the finished jambalaya. Simply set aside and warm in the oven before serving.

Place bones in a dutch oven and into the oven. You’re looking to brown them to get nice browning flavors in your stock. Roast for an hour or so. Get as dark as you can without burning. Once well browned, remove from oven, place on stovetop, and cover the bones by an inch with cold water. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, reduce to a simmer, and keep skimmed of foam, scum, and oil that rise to the top. Once the scum production slows, you can add a coarsely chopped onion, some celery, herbs, whatever you like to flavor the stock. Simmer for at least an hour or up to eight, keeping well skimmed. Strain and reserve until needed. Refrigerate if you won’t be using it within an hour.

If using andouille in beef casings, peel off the casings. Chop andouille into 1/2-3/4″ pieces and place on a cookie sheet in the 350 degree oven. This can go in at the same time as the chicken bones. The idea is to render much fat from the andouille and brown it well to add more deep browning flavors. Brown until a deep dark rusty reddish brown. Drain off fat and reserve with the chicken fat until needed. Save andouille pieces separately.

You are now ready to make jambalaya.

Have all of your vegetables prepped, spices at the ready, and meats and stock ready to go. Place your dutch oven over high heat and add your rendered chicken and andouille fat. heat until the first hint of smoke. Pay attention, you don’t want to burn these volatile oils! At the first sight of smoke, add you onions, and stir. Maintain high heat and cook until onions sweat, and keep going, stirring constantly, until they begin to brown. You’re looking for a light amber color, not too dark, but you definitely want color. Add your green bell peppers, celery, and garlic, and continue to saute. Render the vegetables until they are done sweating and begin to brown. Reduce heat to medium. Add your Cajun seasoning and continue sauteing a few more minutes to release the oils in the spices and brown them ever so slightly, turning the heat down gradually until it’s off.

Add remaining ingredients and reserved meats and stir just a bit to combine. This is not risotto! Turn heat back on to medium high and bring to a boil. Occasionally while bringing to a boil, use a spatula to get under your mixture and turn the rice over off the bottom of the pot to prevent scorching. It is critical not to stir too much, just to make sure your meat, vegetable, and rice are evenly distributed and the rice isn’t sticking to the bottom, where it will scorch.

Once boiling, reduce heat to medium low and place the lid on the pot. You will now do your best not to disturb the jambalaya lest you break the steam cap under the lid and break up the grains of rice, which can lead to a paste instead of a fluffy pilaf. Three minutes and ten minutes after capping, briefly lift the lid and use your spatula to gently turn the bottom of the pot over to avoid sticking. After that, it’s covered until it’s done.

This is where it gets tricky. Some rices, depending on their processing methods and shelf age, will cook in twenty minutes, others longer. I’m going to err on the side of quick cooking. Twenty minutes after placing the lid on the first time, take a quick peak under. If you can see any liquid still pooling on top of the rice, replace the lid and keep cooking. If you see only a little, check again in three minutes. If there’s still all water over the rice, check again in six. Once you can’t see any more water over the rice, which is to say the rice has swollen able the surface of the cooking water so you can see no more pools or wells of water on top, replace the lid and turn off the heat. Residual heat will carry it on out.

Resist the temptation to serve the jambalaya too soon. After you’ve turned the heat off, let the jambalaya stand, covered, a full thirty minutes before uncovering and enjoying. This is the best way to ensure your rice is cooked throughout and everything is integrated, and you’ve minimized the chance that you’ll scorch it. Check seasoning and add more salt, Cajun seasoning, or pepper to each plate as needed when served. Top with lots of sliced green onion.

Jambalaya is well established as a great accompaniment to fried chicken, roast chicken, fried seafood, or on its own with some fun vegetable sides.

Well rendered and browned andouille yields cooking oil and comforting brown flavor

The vegetables during the saute, when Cajun seasoning is added

The end of your saute stage should be a rich reddish brown

After the stock, meats, and seasonings are added before boiling


Finished Jambalaya under a haze of steam. Mmmmmmmm!

Cajun Seasoning

  • 2 Tablespoons finely ground black pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon granulated garlic
  • 2 Tablespoons onion powder
  • 2 Tablespoons dried basil, ground
  • 1 Tablespoons dried oregano, ground
  • 2 Tablespoons dried thyme, ground
  • 2 Tablespoons celery salt
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup Spanish paprika

Combine all ingredients thoroughly. Cover, label, and date.