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Apr 1, 2013 08:24 PM

To all the Nawlanders

I have a friend who is just obsessed with Jambalaya, we had it in New Orleans once and I believe he's had some business trips there and had some more. At home there is no place to have good Jambalaya according to him. He says most places serve you yellow rice with stuff in it. Now Jambalaya came out of settlers trying to make paella from what they had and so it should be somewhat yellow rice with stuff in it. Now I haven't seen the dishes hes talking about, I'm sure a few are indeed yellow rice mixed with stuff instead of an actual pot of prepared Jambalaya, but all the pictures of Jambalaya I seen the Internet, while I wouldn't describe it as yellow rice with stuff in it, that basically what it looks like.

I went to my friends house and he was going to show me real Jambalaya, and as picky as he is with having really Jambalaya, hes at the same time a real, a man, a can, a plan, type of cook. So I don't know if what came out was what he intended to come out, but what came out was this really thick tomato based, almost casserole type consistency, pot. Again all the pictures I've seen are more paella looking, some with a lot of ingredients, some with just sausage. I looked for a long time for a recipe and made it and maybe I let it simmer too long or what, but it didn't come out as moist as the recipe looked, and again I could have served that to some unsuspecting person and they may have thought it was yellow rice with "stuff" thrown in.

So what should Jambalaya look like?

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  1. I haven't made this, but a recipe for Shrimp and Oyster Jambalaya in La Bonne Cuisine calls for only two cups of cooked rice for four dozen medium shrimp and four dozen oysters (and some other stuff). It serves ten, so it doesn't seem like a mostly rice dish.

    This cookbook is compiled by The Women of All Saints' Episcopal Church in New Orleans. Their jambalaya recipe is from Bon Ton restaurant.

    2 Replies
    1. re: GH1618

      I'm not saying that Jambalaya is a mostly rice dish. I am saying that I don't know what is suppose to look like. Although if you do a google image search for Jambalaya, you'll see a lot of dishes that look like they are made up of mostly rice.

      But to be clear, where I'm confused or at least where I think Im confused is whether or not its a creamy/moist dish or a simple rice dish with, depending on what house or region your from, different stuff (andouille, chicken, seafood, vegges, spices,........) inside.

      My gut tells me it looks like paella with a different spice and protein profile and regular rice, but the same general texture (considering the rice and broth interplay, of course)

      1. re: FooDeeLee

        my belief is the exact proportions/mix of ingredients vary from kitchen to kitchen and family to family. so make it how YOU like it and forget about what it's 'supposed to be'.

        "Jambalaya FooDeeLee"

    2. I'm not from NOLA, but I have enjoyed jambalaya many times on trips to that great city. To me, it is a rice dish full of chicken, sausage, ham and seafood, like what John Besh prepares on this video.

      3 Replies
      1. re: EM23

        Funny you should mention that video, after about 20 min. of research, not long at all, that was the recipe I settled on and made. Obviously I like the recipe, but I don't like it as a recipe recipe, first off he uses as an ingredient, left over pork shoulder, so obviously he's just throwing things together, which is fine to a certain extent thats what Jambalaya is to a lot of people but I'd like a honed in recipe. Secondly he's not calling out any quantities, so I looked online and found two sites that had his recipe and they were identical so I figured it was good enough. Even though for example John uses bacon fat to start off the cooking and later adds lardons (does this make a difference?), the written recipe calls for bacon and no bacon fat. He says Jasmine rice, the written recipe calls for "converted" rice, I read parboiled is the same as converted so thats what I used. Also the video shows what looks to be a little less then three cups of rice. Thats got to be why mine was not so moist. Heres the recipe if your interested.


        When I ate Jambalaya in New Orleans many moons ago I remembered it looking like what the video shows, but what my friend served me was much thicker and mine was better by the way. I'm gonna stick with that recipe and twik it.

        If anyone has a better recipe, please let me know, and any advice or corrections are appreciated.

        1. re: FooDeeLee

          Well, I twiked the recipe above and it came out great. The recipe calls for 3 cups rice and 5 cups stock, so I either used 2 and three quarters or three (I think three) of rice and 6 cups of stock, plus the liquid from one 12 oz can of diced tomatoes and I used a small can of tomato paste which I substituted for the tomato sauce in the recipe.

          I was going to lower my rice portion as I indicated above, but since I was going to add extra meat I figured I'd leave the rice the same and increase the stock.

          Other than what I just mentioned the changes I made to the recipe were three quarters of a pound of chicken (diced) instead of the pork shoulder, a little under half a pound of precooked shrimp (chopped), one 12 oz can of black beans (drained) and siracha instead of tobacco. And it came out great. Moist like I thought it should be like paella. I took it to my friend and he loved it said it was comparable to what you get in the finer restaurants in New Orleans. So mystery solved, online recipe as far as I'm concerned had too much rice that made it dry and apparently true Jambalaya isn't as mushy as what my friend made.

          1. re: FooDeeLee

            Foo - did you keep the sausage (andouille) in the recipe? And was your chicken pre-cooked like the shrimp?

      2. It is more than just yellow rice with stuff thrown in, especially when you think about the spices in it. I was down in the French Quarter little over a week ago and had the best jambalaya I've ever eaten there at Coop's Place. It is rabbit and sausage jambalaya and if you want to ask for it Supreme they  add tasso, shrimp, and crawfish tails!