Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Sausage Jambalaya

There are probably as many variations of Jambalaya as there are people in Louisiana!  This just happens to be my husbands favorite so it gets cooked the most often in my house.  You can use literally any kind of meat you have on hand and left overs work particularly well in jambalaya.  If you have any left over meat with gravy in your fridge or even a combo of a couple of different meats you can make jambalaya with them.  My brother sums up the concept of jambalaya pretty well, it's just meat, rice and gravy already mixed up for you.  To give it more of a creole flair, you would simply add diced tomatoes after you add the rice.  This is a fairly simple version of Jambalaya and as always, don't be afraid to experiment at home with different ingredients.  You may just come up with a new and fantastic dish that will become one of your family's favorites!

1 1/2 pounds of Smoked Pork Sausage
4 cups Cooked Rice
1 large Onion
1 1/2 cups water
Salt and Pepper to taste

Slice sausage into small discs and brown on a medium-high heat in a 5 quart pot.  Chop onions coarsely (or finely if that is what your family prefers) and add to sausage once it has started to brown a bit and has released some of it's fat.  Stir occasionally and keep an eye on your pot as you want to get the mixture a dark brown but not burnt!  We often refer to this in my family as a "controlled burn" because you are going to nearly burn the mixture, but not quite.  What you are doing is making a dark brown crust on the bottom of the pot that will serve as the base for your gravy.

 (This shows the beginning of the brown crust on the bottom of the pot that will serve as the base of your gravy.)
If you feel like your mixture is starting to burn or you need to walk away from your pot for a bit, just add enough water to cover the bottom of the pot, this will stop the browning until the water cooks out.  Once you've achieved a nice layer of browning on the bottom of the pot, add the water and turn your fire down to a medium-low and let simmer for 10 minutes.  This will allow the water to become infused with the flavors of your meat and onions.  Also, add your seasoning at this point.  Be careful when adding your salt, the meat is already seasoned and it would be easy to over season your mixture.  Add a little at a time and remember, you can always add more if needed. 
(This is what you're mixture should look like after the water has simmered a bit.  If you like a darker gravy you can add a small amount of browning sauce, but not too much)
After simmering add the cooked rice and stir it in well.  Turn your heat to low and cover pot with lid.  Let steam for 10 to 15 minutes to allow the rice time to absorb the liquid and flavors.  Serve with your choice of vegetables and sides.  I served mine with smothered corn and biscuits with strawberry jam (love my salty sweet combos!) This served 6 hungry people in my house. Bon Appetit!

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