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Eula Mae's Jambalaya

Eula Mae's Jambalaya

In `The Tabasco Cookbook,' Paul McIlhenny writes: `Jambalaya is a Spanish-Creole one-pot meal made with rice and whatever is on hand. Derived from jambon, the French word for ham, and alaya, which means rice in an African dialect, jambalaya is a wonderful conglomeration of sausages, chicken, ham, and seafood cooked with rice. It is a Louisiana tradition, favored by Cajuns and Creoles alike.

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`The rice absorbs all the flavors of the basic seasonings, which include onions, bell peppers, tomatoes, garlic, herbs, scallions, and of course, Tabasco pepper sauce. The variations are infinite, and they're all delicious.

`Eula Mae says that scraping up all the browned bits from the bottom of the pot gives her jambalaya its special color and flavor.'

1 3-pound chicken, boned and skinned, or 1-1/2 pounds skin

less, boneless breasts and thighs, cut into 1-inch cubes

1 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

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2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1/2 pound cooked ham, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

2 large onions, chopped

1 medium green pepper, seeded and chopped

1 cup celery, chopped

4 garlic cloves, peeled

3 cups chicken broth

1 16-ounce can whole tomatoes,

drained and chopped, juice reserved

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

1/2 cup green onions, chopped

2 pounds medium shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 teaspoon Tabasco pepper sauce

2 cups rice, rinsed and drained

Sprinkle chicken cubes with salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper. Add oil to a large heavy pot or Dutch oven over medium heat, and cook chicken, stirring, until browned on all sides, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove chicken to a bowl. Add ham to the pot and saute for about 5 minutes, or until lightly browned, then add it to the chicken. Put onions, green pepper, celery, and garlic in the pot and saute for about 5 minutes, scraping the bottom to incorporate all the browned bits. Add the chicken and ham, reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add chicken broth and reserved tomato juice to the pot, cover, and simmer for 45 minutes.

Mash cooked garlic against the side of the pan and stir into the mixture. Add tomatoes, parsley, green onions, shrimp, and Tabasco sauce, and adjust the seasonings to taste. Add rice. Cover the pot, bring to a boil, lower heat, and stirring occasionally, simmer, covered, for 25 to 30 minutes, until the rice is tender and fluffy and the liquid is absorbed. Serves 6 to 8.

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