Monday, July 4, 2016

Abel's Jambalaya

There are many types of jambalaya recipes -- brown to red in color -- chicken and sausage -- seafood. They are all delicious.  The recipe I am sharing with you is the one that my father, Billy Abel, used to make at our family sporting goods store, the Land of Sports.  We often fed many customers and friends at lunch time.  The meat in the jambalaya depended greatly on what was in season and what people brought us from their hunts.  Rabbit, Squirrel, and even alligator tail meat make excellent protein for this dish.  However, the go-to meat for this jambalaya is chicken and smoked sausage, which is what this recipe calls for.

This is the easiest and cheapest one-pot meal you can make.

2-3 lbs chicken meat -- I recommend boneless chicken thighs and breasts for ease (though my dad always made his with bone-in chicken)
2 lbs of smoked sausage -- I like Manda's -  cut in half rounds about 1/2 inch thick
3 cups of rice (parboiled - like Uncle Ben's converted) -- this is important for the novice -- otherwise you may end up with the worst jambalaya ever -- both crunchy and mushy -- awful
6 cups chicken stock
1 large onion diced
1 large bell pepper diced
3 stalks celery diced
Oil to coat the bottom of a heavy bottomed 6- 8 quart pot
Creole Seasoning to taste.  You can use black pepper and salt instead if you prefer.

Pour enough oil to cover the bottom of the pot.  Put in cut chicken breasts and thighs  -- I usually quarter them unless the pieces are huge -- they will be large but you can break them up as you cook.  Season liberally with creole seasoning.  The meat will be juicier if you resist the urge to cut them into small, bite-sized chunks.  Brown the chicken well on medium-high  to high heat, stirring with a heavy spatula frequently.  A brown fond will form on the bottom of the pot.  This is what you want for the color and flavor.

Once the chicken is browned and your have used your spatula to cut it into smaller pieces, add your cut sausage and brown this also, add another lighter coat of seasoning.

When chicken and sausage have browned, add the onion, bell pepper, and celery - again add another light covering of seasoning.  Stir and cover to let soften.

Next, add rice.  Stir so that the rice is coated with the oil that is in the pot.

Next, add your chicken stock  Stir well and lower heat to medium.  Cover pot.  Stir every 5 minutes or so until all the moisture is taken up by the rice.  At this time, test the rice to make sure it is soft enough.  If you like it softer, you can add a half-cup more of stock (or water) and stir.  Turn off heat and let it sit for about 20 minutes before serving.

Serve with french bread and enjoy.