The University of Montana School Of Business (my alma mater) faculty has a regular tailgating party before Griz games. Frequently they get together on the eve of a home game and have a “chopping party” to get the ingredients together for their pre-game cookout. Here’s their recipe verbatim:
- 1 – 16 oz. package Hillshire Farms smoked sausage – cubed chunky
- 3 large chicken breasts – cubed chunky
- 4 Tbs. butter
- 2 onions – chopped
- 1 green and 1 red bell pepper – chopped
- 3 celery stocks – chopped
- 2 cups Uncle Ben’s converted rice (other rice may produce sticky Jambalaya)
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. white pepper
- 1 tsp. dry mustard
- 1/2 tsp. cyanne pepper
- 2 tsp. cumin
- 1 tsp. dried thyme
- 4 bay leaves
- 2 cloves garlic – minced
- 2 – 14 oz cans of chicken broth
Melt butter over medium heat. Add garlic and cook briefly, being careful not to burn. Add cubed chicken and cook 1/2 way through. Add sausage chunks, chopped vegetables and seasonings ans stir until veggies are soft. Add the rice and cook for five minutes – you want the rice to absorb much of the juice from the vegetables and chicken. Add the chicken broth. Cover and simmer for 25 minutes or until the the rice has absorbed the broth. It’s Jambalaya Time!
This is a relatively mild jambalaya, so we like to serve it with Louisiana brand hot sauce. Jambalaya keeps well, so it is a great left-over — it is basically a southern stew, so feel free to experiment and add your favorite ingredients. We have hesitated to add shrimp because so many people are seafood allergic. If you improve on our concoction; let us know!
Actually the seasoning and proportions of this recipe are pretty authentic, but I have a few major problems with the outcome, not the least of which is the use of both Hillshire Farms sausage and Uncle Ben’s rice. Also, mild is an understatement. This is cajun food for cripes sakes and it demands more heat.
Here’s my fix:
Substitute the smoked sausage with 1 lb of good spicy andouille sausage or some other spicy sausage.
Use regular long grain rice – it has a richer texture and flavor and, if you don’t peek at the food while it’s steaming, it will turn out fine.
Increase the 1/2 tsp of cayenne pepper to at least a 1 tsp. I use 1.5 tsp and it could still use more in my opinion but there are those who have weak pallets – so I’m respectful.
I’ve used shrimp in place of and/or in addition to the chicken. I’ve also used two strips of bacon to get the fat replacing the butter. They’re all good. I made this version and multiplied it by 10 to feed 120 people at my daughter’s wedding last year. Hence, if you have large enough pots you can increase the recipe without much change in the cooking method.
But it’s great food and exceptionally good for a casual crowd like at a tailgate party or at home for guests watching the game.
But there is one sentiment that I embrace with the Business Faculty for sure: