Jambalaya from Julie

I had been to New Orleans and eaten there but this Jambalaya recipe from my Louisiana friend was better than anything I paid for.

1 package of smoked sausage quarted longways and cut into 1/2 inch pieces (pork browns best)
1 large onion, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 qt jar canned tomatoes or 4 cups
1 tsp minced garlic
2 T fresh parsley (1 T dry if you’re desperate but fresh is superb)
1 tsp Worshesteshire sauce
5 drops Tabasco
1 tsp basil
cayenne, salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
2-5 cups rice

Now here’s the most important part:

1. BROWN the pork in a large heavy pot. Remove from pot and drain on paper towel. (As I learned from Paul Prudhomme, “Brown is flavor”)

2. Drain fat except for 1 T. Saute onion and celery. (This will soften the ‘brown’ left in the bottom of the pot)

3.Add green pepper and tomatoes. Bring to simmer.

4. Add seasonings: garlic, parsley, Wor. sauce, Tabasco, basil. Simmer 10-15 min adding water if needed and more time if you use fresh tomatoes.

5. Add sausage. At this time you can add 2 cups cooked rice.

In our family, to extend the sauce, we would serve rice on our plates first then spoon sauce on top. We’d add the left over rice to the leftover sauce for the next day’s lunch. The leftovers are truly wonderful after the flavors have melded.

How to alter this recipe:

Like a Cajun cook, you could use whatever meat or no meat, according to what you have on hand in addition to the sausage (or instead of) such as chicken, shrimp, ham or crawfish.

If your’e not a pork, sausage, or meat eater, just don’t add the meat. Saute the onion and celery in a little olive oil or water with a dash of soy sauce and a couple of drops of ‘liquid smoke’ for brown color and taste.

Lower the sodium content by using low-sodium sausage and no-salt tomatoes. Add a tsp onion powder and increase the herbs up to double their amount.

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