One of the reason why I decided to attend a cooking school in New Orleans is because I wanted to learn to make the famous dish called Jambalaya. I have always love the Spanish dish called Paella so I figured maybe Jambalaya is the Creole version of Paella, the same ingredients except different spices and seasonings, Paella always used saffron. Jambalaya uses a combination of cumin, paprika, chili powder and dried herbs like oregano, thyme and many others.
After I got home from New Orleans, I decided to try the Jambalaya recipe, Ms. Harriett showed us during class at the New Orleans School of Cooking. Except for a couple of changes, I bought the same ingredients and tried the recipe at home. The spices I used for my recipe was the same spice mix available at the New Orleans School of Cooking called Joe’s stuff. The man Joe is actually Joe Cahn, former owner of the school. So in our tiny kitchen, I decided to give it a try. What else am I going to do in a lazy Sunday Afternoon.
Here is my attempt to make Ms. Harriett’s Jambalaya.
1 medium-size onion, chopped
1 large bell pepper, chopped
3 stalks of celery, chopped
3-4 Andouille sausages, sliced
3 gloves of garlic, chopped
2 1/2 cups of uncooked long-grain rice
3-4 cups of chicken stock
3 cups of cooked chicken, shredded
2-3 heaping teaspoon of Joe’s stuff
1 can diced tomatoes
1 cup frozen peas
In a heated pan with olive oil, saute onions, bell peppers and celery and let it sweat for about 10 minutes. Add garlic, tomatoes and Joe’s stuff and mix well. Add rice, chicken and sausage and saute well until spices are mixed in with the rice and meats. Add chicken stock and bring to a boil. Simmer until rice is fully cooked. Add frozen peas.
I made a couple of changes from Ms. Harriett’s recipe. Ms. Harriett used on ingredient called kitchen bouquet – a browning sauce with absolutely no flavor. It only serves as food coloring if you want a brown Jambalaya. For red Jambalaya like what I made, instead of using kitchen bouquet, I used diced tomatoes, fresh or canned. Another slight change I made was adding frozen peas in the end. I wanted to add some color to the dish. As for Joe’s stuff, you can add as much as you can handle. For my recipe, I added 2 heaping teaspoon.
I used cooked chicken thighs that I have shredded and used canned tomatoes. All in all it turned out great. It’s not too spicy for me and my family to handle. It’s a great one-pan dish for about 5-6 people each with a healthy serving.
I’m very glad I signed up at the New Orleans School of Cooking. I had a great time and I learn a lot than I expected. It was a great way to learn about the local cuisine and I highly recommend doing it.