Besh (Best) Jambalaya

We cooked this on one of our last dinner parties at our apartment in NYC.  It was amazing.  We made a huge pot of it, and I am pretty sure there were no leftovers.  People were stuffing their face and going for third helpings.  Chef John and I love “My New Orleans” cookbook.  Other then the obvious fact that his recipe’s are amazing, I also love this cookbook because John Besh describes the cooking process and why it is important to do certain things while you are cooking.   -ts

Chef John says: If you don’t have John Besh’s book, “My New Orleans,” than you need to have your head examined, go buy it. In my opinion, he’s easily one of the most talented and innovative chefs out there and best of all he likes to use pork… a lot. I’m trying to eat my way through his book at the moment but wanted to share with you his Jambalaya recipe. Prior to this, I’ve never tried to make it on my own and I was really surprised by how easy it was.  This is one of my favorite comfort foods and provides a great base for a long night out.

2 pounds bacon, diced
3 pounds andouille sausage, diced
1/2 cup lard (OPTIONAL- we did not use bc there is enough pork fat)
2 pounds fresh pork sausage, removed from casings
8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs, roughly cut into 1-inch pieces
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
6 large onions, diced
4 bell peppers, seeded and diced
10 stalks celery, diced
12 cloves garlic, minced
9 cups converted Louisiana white rice
2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 dried bay leaves
3 tablespoons pimention de la Vera or smoked paprika
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon celery salt
6 cups canned crushed tomatoes
6 cups chicken stock
5 pounds Louisiana white shrimp or other wild American shrimp, peeled and deveined
3 bunches green onions, chopped

  1. First, you’ll need to heat a very large pot 3-5 gallons) over high heat until it is hot, then reduce the heat to moderate.  This will allow the heat to be uniform all over, preventing those little hot spots that are likely to burn.
  2. Render the bacon with the sausages and the lard in the hot pot, stirring slowly with a long wooden spoon or a spade.  While the pork is rendering, go ahead and season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper.  Add the chicken to the pot, stirring, and cook until the chicken becomes golden brown, about 5 minutes.
  3. After the chicken as browned, add the onions to the pot and all them to caramelize, about 15 minutes.  Add the bell peppers, celery, and garlic and cook for about 5 minutes.  Continue stirring from time to time so that everything in the pot cooks evenly.
  4. Next add the rice, thyme, bay leaves, pimention, cayenne, 2 tablespoons salt, 1 tablespoons black pepper, and the celery salt to the pot and cook, stirring often for 3 minutes.
  5. Increase the heat to high and add the tomatoes and chicken stock to the pot,  Bring the stock to a boil.  Reduce the heat do medium low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
  6. While the rice is cooking in the covered pot, season the shrimp with salt and pepper and save them, along with the green onions, to be added at the last minutes.
  7. After the rice as simmered for 15 minutes, go ahead and remove the lid from the pot and fold int he shrimp and green onions.  Turn off the heat and let everything continue to to cook in the hot covered pot for an additional 10 minutes.  Remove the lid, fluff the jambalaya and serve.
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2 Comments

Filed under Cajun food, Chicken, Comfort food, Main Course, Party food, Pork, Seafood

2 responses to “Besh (Best) Jambalaya

  1. Mardi Gras is coming up (Feb 21st). I’ve been trying Jambalaya recipes for over 20 years, and this is what I’ve been looking for all that time. This recipe is kick ass. I halved it and it still made about 8 servings. The lard is not needed.

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