The story of my Step Father’s first encounter with Jambalaya has proven to be insanely different to my first encounter of the same dish. It seems the stress of producing the perfect Master Chef bowlful of prawns, chicken, chorizo and rice is nothing on cooking up 50 gallons worth to feed the masses!
The setting: A closed down steel mill near Charleston, South Carolina.
The Weather: Bitter Cold – mid January
Scene: Gigantic industrial machinery in bits and pieces. Tools and scraps scattered all over the plant site.
Work Force: Swollen to 10-20 times its normal level.
In the center of this mayhem is a new 55 gallon drum sitting on a pile of fire wood. At about 10AM each day the drum is filled with fresh water with a large amount of chicken — mostly necks, backs and thighs. The fire is lit. In goes celery, onions, chillies, capsicum and other secret ingredients. When the “chef” says it’s time; a large bag of rice is stirred in. The fire is reduced and buckets of green prawns (fresh from the local shrimp boats) are stirred into the concoction.
The alarm sounds — its LUNCH TIME !!
So, again I am very happy I did not let him down!! A Jambalaya is not Asian. It is not what I hoped to cook, nor something I knew how to cook. Intuition and determination got me through and I loved the flavours. I loved the challenge. Somehow, whilst I didn’t think it would be, it was actually my day to shine in the kitchen. And Jambalaya will not stray far from our own home and our repertoire of meals.
The children love it, my husband is totally converted – and a one pot meal is fantastic for a busy Mum, who is trying to start a business and not lose sight of prioritizing her children.
So I highly recommend the recipe – you can try to concoct your own – a less elaborate, more rustic and traditional approach. Otherwise, you can find a delicious family version, slightly more sophisticated, under my recipe link. Keep it simple, serve it in a pot, and watch the satisfied smiles around the table as the rich flavours produce a sensory overload on their palates. Savour……………