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Our Budapest correspondent offers a cherished family recipe.
Super Bowl Sunday is days away. What to eat? Certainly something hearty yet easy to prepare: a big pot that can be left simmering on the stove for you and any guests to dip into as needed.
Louisiana native, Budapest-based expat, and all-around bon vivant Rod Dreher urges you to take the Jambalaya Option. He writes:
Good morning from the banks of the Danube ("It Ain't the Mississippi, but It's Aight"™). What a lovely request! Happy to oblige with the best jambalaya recipe I know: the one that belonged to my late father, whom the grandkids called "Paw." I don't have Uncle Ben's over here, so I use normal rice, but I can't remember off the top of my head how to adjust the recipe, so I'm just going to cut and paste the recipe in, as it was given to me exactly by my dad, who died in 2015.
4 chicken breasts
3 links andouille sausage (or kielbasa-style smoked sausage)
3 stalks celery, cut into ¼-inch pieces
1 large onion, diced
2 green bell peppers, diced
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups Uncle Ben’s converted rice
½ cup vegetable oil plus about 3 tablespoons for browning
½ cup all-purpose flour
salt and pepper to taste
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
Gently boil chicken in salted water, then allow it to cool. Set aside about 4 cups of chicken cooking water for later use. Tear cooled chicken into roughly 1-inch chunks.
Cut sausage into ½-inch rounds, then brown it well over medium-high heat in about 1 tablespoon of oil. Remove sausage with a slotted spoon and place on a paper-towel-lined plate to drain.
Sauté celery, onion, bell pepper, and garlic in remaining oil, adding another tablespoon if pot seems too dry. Remove vegetables with a spoon and save for later use.
Make a roux by adding oil and flour to pot. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until roux turns dark brown in color (a bit past the color of peanut butter, but well before it smells like burning).
As soon as roux reaches its ideal color, add vegetables, then sausage and chicken. Add reserved 4 cups of chicken cooking water, then rice.
Stir entire mixture well. Add salt, pepper, bay leaves, and about 1 tablespoon of cayenne pepper, then stir again.
Bring mixture to a low boil, then cover pot and turn heat down as low as possible. Leave top on for one hour, then check to make sure rice is fully cooked. Adjust seasonings and serve warm.
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