Momo’s Chicken & Sausage Jambalaya
My grandmother in Louisiana was a legendary cook in my family. Though she didn't call herself a cook per se, she could absolutely throw down in the kitchen. Any visit to her house seemed to guarantee gumbo bursting with complex flavors, garlicky pork roast, smothered pork chops or beef and brown gravy with rice, crawfish etouffée, meaty jambalaya and more. No one left (or should have left) her house hungry. My parents, aunts, uncles, cousins & siblings revered her for her strength as a black woman raising 9 children through the 1940s-60s with my grandfather on their small St. Landry Parish farm. They raised pigs and other animals, grew vegetables and pecans and sold them at the market to help make ends meat. They were resilient and could improvise anything on the farm and in the kitchen.
Cajun cooking is not the same as creole. Creole cooking mainly derived from people who moved to New Orleans and had to have their ingredients shipped in to town for their kitchens and restaurants. Cajun cooking draws from the people in Acadiana, south central and southwestern Louisiana, that tended their own crops and hunted for their food mainly used what they had on hand.
This chicken and sausage jambalaya uses our Cajun Red seasoning, the Cajun trinity, spices and herbs to season the pot along with seared chicken, andouille sausage, Tasso ham and rice among other ingredients that create a proverbial melting pot of flavor.
One pot meals are a staple in Louisiana cooking. Etouffée, gumbo and jambalaya are just a few of many deliciously complex and subtly spicy meals that will stick to your ribs.
I was blessed to have grandparents, a mother and father as well and many aunts, uncles, cousins who could cook and were great food instructors. Thankfully, I have been able to retain and replicate a lot of what they taught me to teach to my kids.
Thank you Alice aka Momo (pronounced maw-maw).
I love you, Jared
Hook’s Rub Cajun Red & H-Town AP Rub
1 lb Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast
1 lb Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs
2 ribs celery with leaves
1 whole chopped onion
3 cloves garlic minced
3 cups long grain rice
1 lb smoked pork & beef kielbasa sausage (sliced into ½-inch pieces & quartered)
1 lb Andouille sausage (sliced into ½-inch pieces & quartered)
1 lb Tasso ham, cubed
1 stick butter
1 cup chopped green pepper
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
1 15 oz can diced tomatoes
2 large bay leaves
¼ teaspoon fresh thyme - leaves removed and chopped
5 Cups Chicken Stock
Louisiana style hot sauce
Cast Iron Dutch Oven with lid (Or stock pot with lid)
Wooden or Silicone Spatula
Plate or Serving Dish
1. In a Dutch oven, melt 2 TBS of butter over medium high heat.
2. Season your chicken with the Cajun Red, place into the Dutch oven and fry/sear for 3-5 minutes per side. Remove to a plate or serving dish on the side. *Note, the chicken may not be cooked through, but don't worry, it will be finished off later in the cooking process
3. In the same butter, fry sausage and ham until lightly browned, about 3 to 5 minutes. Remove meat to serving dish next to the chicken.
**PRO TIP: Searing/frying the meat initiates the Maillard reaction which is a chemical reaction between amino acids and reducing sugars that gives browned food its distinctive flavor. The browning reactions on meat occur when it is roasted or seared and the protein in the skin starts to breakdown due to the high heat.
4. Add remaining butter to same pan and sauté onion, celery, bell pepper and parsley until tender, about 3 minutes.
**PRO TIP: The next few steps will have very distinct stirring directions. Note this as over stirring can break down the chicken, the rice or the herbs and cause the dish to be smoother in texture than you want the finished product to be.
5. Chop chicken into smaller than 1 inch chunks then add chicken, sausage and ham. Give it 1-2 stirs.
6. Add in garlic, tomato paste, diced tomatoes, thyme. Give it 1-2 stirs.
7. Shake in H-Town AP, Cajun Red and hot sauce all to taste.
8. Add rice and mix all ingredients to coat thoroughly.
9. Add bay leaves.
10. Add in 5 cups stock or enough to cover rice. Cover and simmer on medium low until all liquid is absorbed by the rice, about 15-20 minutes.
(At sea-level add about 5 minutes to simmer time if the rice has not absorbed the liquid)
11. Remove bay leaf and serve hot. Alternatively, you can let it sit off the heat for 20-30 minutes to let the flavors continue to develop, then serve.
*Store any leftovers in the fridge for 1-2 days
Serves 8 to 10.