Southern Stylings


February 28, 2017
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I’ve had many requests for a good home-cook version of jambalaya, and this is that. Like the dish itself,  a mix of Spanish and French ingredients with African thrown in by way of the Louisiana bayou, the word jambalaya derives from Provencal for “mish-mash”.  But I love that the Atakapa–a native American people who lived in the river valleys of Louisiana along the Gulf of Mexico–had a phrase: “Sham, pal ha! Ya!” which meant “Be full, not skinny! Eat Up!” that etymologysts say Spaniards changed to “jambalaia.”  The dish includes a Cajun or Creole version of the Spanish sofrito (tomatoes, garlic, oil and onions) at its base, along with spices, seafood, sausage, sometimes poultry and always rice. What’s atypical about it is we’ve cooked the rice separately to preserve the fluffiness of the grains, and, to allow diners to choose how much of the beautiful stew to top it with. (Leftovers also hold better if you keep the rice and stew separate.) Also? I’ve included fresh okra, rather than green peppers for the flavor and color pop– a personal preference.

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  • Reply Anita Wolff February 28, 2017 at 9:44 pm

    BASED on a recipe from the old Time-Life regional American cookbooks, try adding a very little ground cloves or allspice to your jambalaya next time. It adds an elusive but welcome warm spice note. That recipe also recommends cooking the rice separately.
    In Chicago, get great andouille, and also tasso, from the Paulina Market on Lincoln Avenue, made in house.

    • Reply Monica Rogers March 1, 2017 at 2:31 am

      Hi Anita 🙂
      Yes! good suggestions, thanks, and Happy Fat Tuesday!

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