Growing up in Michigan, I didn’t know much about Mardi Gras outside of the association with Fat Tuesday, known as “Paczki Day” in my Polish suburb, thanks to the jelly-filled donut the day is named for. Since then, I’ve learned much of the history behind the celebration and now understand why it’s such a magical time for those in New Orleans and beyond.
When I moved to St. Louis, I discovered that this city has one of the largest Mardi Gras in the nation. The entire city floods to the Soulard neighborhood in the early morning hours, sitting on the fence for the upcoming parade, or on a barstool for the upcoming drink specials.
I made it down to Soulard on Saturday to check out the excitement and all I can say is…wow. The amount of people, beads, crazy costumes, and hurricanes left a feel of intense celebration all around. While the party is one that I might not check out again for another few years (I’m getting too old for this stuff! I was fast asleep by 7 p.m…), I’m glad I got to witness the gathering of the city!
I decided to make my own Mardi Gras celebration at home this year. I haven’t ventured much into Cajun cooking but after making this recipe for jambalaya, I’ll certainly be back. I generally don’t love “one pot” meals but I couldn’t stop eating this one!
This sausage and chicken jambalaya recipe is originally from Bon Appetit. As much as I would love ten servings of this stuff, I halved the recipe and switched up the ingredients just a bit.
Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya
Keywords: saute roast entree Mardis Gras French winter
Ingredients (serves 4)
- 1/2 lb bacon, diced
- 1 lb fully-cooked sausage, halved lengthwise and cut into semi-circles
- 1/4 lb smoked, cubed ham
- 2 large white onions, chopped
- 1 celery stalk, chopped
- 1 green bell pepper, chopped
- 1 lb chicken thighs, cut into 1- to 1 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 tbsp paprika
- 1/2 tbsp chopped thyme
- 1/2 tbsp chili powder
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 can fire-roasted, diced tomatoes
- 1 can diced green chiles
- 1 1/4 cups beef broth
- 1.5 cups long-grain white rice
- 4 green onions, chopped
- Chopped fresh parsley
Position a rack in the bottom of your oven and preheat to 350°F. Cook the bacon in very large pot/dutch oven over medium-high heat until brown but not quite crisp, stirring often, 8-10 minutes. Add the sausage and ham. Sauté until the meats start to brown in spots, about 10 minutes. Add the onions, celery, and bell pepper. Cook until the vegetables begin to soften, stirring occasionally, 10-12 minutes. Mix in the chicken and cook until it turns white, about 5 minutes. Mix in the paprika, thyme, chili powder, and cayenne and cook for one minutes longer. Add the diced tomatoes, chiles, and broth, and stir to blend. Mix in the rice.
Bring jambalaya mixture to a boil, then cover pot and place in the oven. Bake until the rice is cooked and liquids are absorbed, about 45 minutes. Mix chopped green onions into the jambalaya, saving a few to top with the parsley. Serve!
The ingredient list may look wrong, but this recipe really isn’t much work at all. You’ll get a workout from the chopping but one ingredient goes into the pot after another, and you just let it cook! The result is a full meal, full of spicy meat, veggies, rice, and a little Cajun kick.
You don’t need to serve this with anything, but if you wanted to whip up a hurricane and throw some Mardi Gras beads onto the plate, I’m not going to stop you!
Laissez les bons temps rouler!
Question: How do you celebrate Mardi Gras?