The time has come for a certain someone I know to choose what language they’d like to learn in school. The options – French, Spanish and Mandarin Chinese – are interesting. I recommended Spanish, since it is far more useful than Mandarin Chinese and even French in every day life. I should know. I took four years of French in high school. It’s been ten years and I remember very little and really never gained an ability to speak it conversationally.
I do, however, remember our yearly Mardi Gras celebrations. It’s a traditional French holiday in which you are meant to eat lots of fatty, rich foods to prepare for the 40 day sacrifice you are meant to make. Because it is a French holiday, we always celebrated. Students would bring in different foods and drinks and we’d basically spend the entire period pigging out. My mom, a pastry chef, once sent in paper-light cookies dolloped with feathery chocolate mousse. It was a hit, calling all teachers from the third floor to indulge.
This year, I made a few treats of my own. Our Mardi Gras menu includes blood orange spritzers, some fresh beignets that I’ll share later this week and this jambalaya. Now, traditional jambalaya has chicken, shrimp and andouille sausages laced throughout. I had no shrimp on-hand and my chicken was frozen. So I just sort of flung caution to the wind and adapted. What resulted was a flavorful, satisfying, spicy jambalaya that will please any Mardi Gras celebrator. It is filled with veggies, spicy sausage and lots of rice, making it incredibly hearty and filling.
So if you plan on celebrating before giving up something you love (like maybe meat. I am debating. I know it should be a sacrifice but come on!), try out this jambalaya.
- 3 hot sausages, sliced into rounds
- 2 Tbsp. butter
- 2 tsp. smoked paprika
- 1 tsp. cumin
- 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
- 3 stalks celery, diced
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 3 cups chicken stock
- 1 cup brown rice
- Heat butter over medium high heat in a large saucepan. Add sausages and brown all over.
- Add paprika and cumin and stir well. Add tomatoes and mix until well-combined.
- Stir in celery and onion and let cook for 5 minutes.
- Add in broth and rice and stir well to combine.
- Bring mixture to a boil then reduce to low and cover. Cook 45 minutes until rice is tender.
- Season with salt and pepper.