Jambalaya – Bringing Together Friends through the Big Easy

My step-dad is from New Orleans, and I knew when I started this blog that some of the dishes from the Big Easy had to be represented. I have a number of recipes, but jambalaya is one of the dishes I wanted to tackle. When I looked at the recipe, I realized if I didn’t have some help, I was going to be eating leftover jambalaya for weeks. I invited a few friends over, and suddenly, I was having a Cajun-style dinner party.

Chopping up the ingredients.
Chopping up the ingredients.

As with a lot of the recipes I’m already slightly familiar with, I had to do a little bit of research and comparing to pick the recipe that looked like it would best represent the dish I am trying to make. I ended up settling on Emeril Lagasse’s recipe. Emeril was one of the first celebrity chefs who really got me into cooking. I loved to watch him on the Food Network, waiting to yell “bam!” at appropriate moments. I may or may not have emulated him when I was first learning to cook.

A bunch of protein marinating in Cajun spice.
A bunch of protein marinating in Cajun spice.

This recipe calls for Emeril’s Cajun spice and also includes a recipe for making your own. I happen to have some awesome Cajun spice (Todd’s Bayou Dirt) that I use at least once daily, so I used that.

Tasting for the perfect blend of spices.
Tasting for the perfect blend of spices.

I did find that the recipe took a little longer to cook than estimated. I had to boil down the rice a little bit longer to make sure it was no longer soupy. However, the result was awesome.

Jamdalaya!
Jambalaya!

There’s nothing quite like a good meat and rice dish in my book. The blend of spices tickled my tastebuds, and I knew that this is going to become one of my go-to recipes for entertaining. The idea is to throw whatever protein is in your fridge into a giant pot. One dish clean-up; what’s not to like? Plus, with a good bottle of Louisiana hot sauce on the table, you can satisfy both the hot heads (like me) and those who like their food a little milder with a couple (or more) shakes onto the dish.

Everyone gets ready to eat.
Everyone gets ready to eat.

The jambalaya was a big hit. The flavors made me want to hop into a second line as soon as possible. New Orleans is definitely on my list for a return visit, but this dish will just have to do for now. Try it. You will not be disappointed.

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