Even though it’s fair to say that I have very little understanding of the cultural significance behind Fat Tuesday (beyond, you know…the literal meaning, which I’ve got down) I love the French-Spanish culture of New Orleans and the city’s influence on creole and cajun cuisine.
This quick jambalaya is a Martha Stewart recipe that I made in anticipation of Fat Tuesday.
What I didn’t anticipate is that my coworker would bring in paczkis, Polish pastries that are sometimes translated as “doughnuts” — fried dough filled with flavored jelly or cream and often topped with powdered sugar.
Then we had pizza for lunch, but I digress.
I’m a fan of celebrating any and all occasions, regardless of whether or not it’s actually relevant to me, simply because it’s more fun than not celebrating the occasions. Why have plain chicken and rice for dinner when you could instead spend about 10 more minutes on the preparation and have a hot, delicious pot of jambalaya ready before you’ve even finished your first glass of after-work wine?
It is Fat Tuesday after all.
One note on this recipe: if you’re not used to cooking with sausage, as I am not, your best bet is to buy fresh pork andouille sausage from your meat counter and slice it into coins in the casing. If that doesn’t work — mine was so fresh that it started crumbling as I cut it — just squeeze it from the casing and chop it as it cooks.
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
- Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
- 3 celery stalks, finely chopped
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1 green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and finely chopped
- 1 pound andouille sausage, cut into ½-inch pieces
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 cups homemade or low-sodium store-bought chicken stock
- ¾ teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
- 1 can (14 ounces) crushed tomatoes with juice
- 1 cup long-grain rice
- Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Cook until golden brown, about 5 minutes per side. Cut into ¾-inch pieces; set aside.
- Add vegetables to pot. Cook, stirring, 5 minutes. Add sausage; cook 3 minutes. Add garlic; cook 1 minute. Stir in stock, Old Bay, tomatoes, and ½ cup water; bring to a boil. Add rice and chicken. Reduce heat; simmer 5 minutes. Cover; remove from heat. Let stand until rice is tender and liquid is mostly absorbed, 30 to 35 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.