So named both because it’s one of the dishes I routinely use for pot-lucks, and also because the ingredients can vary based on what I happen to have on hand at the moment. See also last year’s recipe, which is fairly different, and yet very much the same.
- 2 boxes Zatarain’s Jambalaya mix (rice, not pasta)
- 1 qt chicken stock
- 1 12-oz can tomato paste
- 1 lb cooked shrimp
- 1 lb browned burger (I prefer venison, but beef will work just fine)
- 1 lb andouille sausage (Johnsonville makes a surprisingly good one, but better is, well, better)
- 1 large or 2 medium green bell peppers (toss the seeds and stems)
- 1 baseball-sized or 1/2 softball sized white onion
- 4 ribs celery
- 1 leftover cooked carrot
- 1 tbsp smoked paprika
- 1 tbsp black pepper, ground
- 1 tbsp kosher salt
- 1 tbsp garlic powder
- 1 tbsp red pepper flakes (not dust - cut back to 1tsp if it’s finely ground and not flakes)
- 1 tsp oregano
- Dice vegetables, and sauté in bacon drippings, butter, or (as a last ditch) olive oil. Celery goes in first, then the onions, then the green peppers, and finally the (already cooked) carrot. Total time should be just until the onions start to go translucent. Throw into the bottom of a pot, and then pour any grease back into your sauté pan.
- Cut andouille into 1/4″ thick slices and brown in the leftover grease from the veggies until both sides of the medallions are dark brown. You want to be into serious maillard reaction here. Dump it into the pot, and pour the grease back into your sauté pan.
- Brown the burger in the leftover grease from the andouille, seasoning it with about 1/2 of the spices. Into the pot with it once it’s all browned. If you use venison, you’ll have very little grease left at this point, but drain any excess grease.
- Dump both boxes of zatarains, the tomato paste, the chicken stock, and the remaining spices into the pot. Add two cans’ (from the tomato paste) worth of water.
- Turn it on low for a couple hours and cover it tightly. You want the water to go into the rice, not out into the air. If you have a crock pot (5 quart is the absolute minimum size), you can set it on high for the first two hours, especially if steps 1-3 were the previous night. If you’re doing it all in one shot, set the crock-pot on low. Keep it at a low simmer for up to 2.5 hours, or as little as an hour if you’re on a stove-top. Stir it about every half hour and check on it. When the rice has absorbed all the liquids, it’s ready to eat.
- Add the shrimp. It’s already cooked, and you just want it in there long enough to warm up. Fluff the rice as you mix in the shrimp, and turn off the heat. Let sit for five minutes so nobody gets a cold shrimp or burns their mouth.
Preparation time: about an hour
Cooking time: 1 - 3 hours
Feeds a whole mess of people. Ten as a main dish, or up to forty at a pot-luck where everyone brought too much food.
I think of steps 1-3 as “prep” can be done the night before if you’re doing this for lunch at work. Just put everything into either a 1-gallon zip-top freezer bag or some tupperware, and fridge it overnight.
You can also use other vegetables, too. I used a carrot this time because I had one leftover from Monday’s supper. You can substitute a can of spam (cubed into 1/2″ pieces and browned) or a pound of chicken (thighs are best, also browned) for any of the listed meats. If you don’t use andouille, you will want to double the red pepper and paprika. You can cut the salt back to as little as 1tsp since the Zat’s mix has salt, but 1 tbsp is about what I end up using when I “season to taste”. Spice amounts are a good place to start, but taste the liquid every time you stir, and adjust if you think it’s missing something.