Cajun Pork Jambalaya
Recipe courtesy of George Graham
Cajun Pork Jambalaya
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In a large, heavy cast-iron pot with a heavy lid over medium-high heat, fry the bacon until crispy. Remove the bacon, chop into pieces and save for later.
Add the onions, celery, and bell pepper to the bacon drippings. Cook until translucent and add the garlic. Cook for another 2 minutes and then remove the vegetables to a platter.
In the same pot, add the sausages, tasso, and ham. Continue to sauté until the meats turn brown, about 5 to 10 minutes. Deglaze the pot by pouring in the beer and scraping the bits from the bottom of the pot while stirring.
Add the bacon pieces, all of the browned vegetables, parsley, and green onions. Add the cayenne and a couple of shakes of hot sauce along with salt and black pepper to taste.
Add the rice to the pot and stir until evenly distributed. Add the stock and stir again.
Here is the important point of jambalaya cooking – cover the pot and place in the hot oven for 1 hour. Open a cold beer and forget about it. Do not stir or even raise the lid on the pot for the first hour. In that hour, all the flavors are coming together, and the rice is gently cooking.
At the end of 1 hour, take a peek, but do not stir (or it will become sticky and starchy). Make sure most of the stock has been absorbed and take a taste to see if the rice is cooked to at least al dente. If so, turn off the oven, cover the pot and let it continue cooking in the carryover heat of the oven for another 20 minutes.
When your guests are seated, remove the pot from the oven and place in the middle of the table. Uncover and dig in. Oh, and be sure to have lots of French bread and ice-cold beer.
Note: The keys to jambalaya are fresh ingredients and perfectly steamed rice. Some folks cook jambalaya on the stovetop, but I've adopted an easier, foolproof oven method. When the pot is in the oven, cover tightly with a heavy lid and do not peek — steam cooks this dish. When removed from the oven, do not stir the jambalaya. If you do (and I warned you), it will become a mushy, sticky, starchy mess. Follow the recipe and you will become a jambalaya master.
Recipe courtesy of George Graham, read George's blog at The Acadian Table