By Jan Kenney
It seems to be traditional that any holiday celebration dinner include
a ham. Which also means that there are usually leftovers. And
although I can claim to be a New Englander all the way back to the
Mayflower, there must be some Cajun blood mixed in there somewhere
because I truly believe there is no better use for ham leftovers
than a big pot of jambalaya.
According to my favorite recipe, from a tiny cookbook appropriately
named “The Little New Orleans Cookbook” by Gwen McKee, jambalaya
is “an African dish [for which] ham (jamba) and rice (paella) are
the main ingredients. Jambalaya was traditionally made outdoors in
huge black iron pots used for boiling sugar cane syrup.”
Although ham and rice are the main ingredients, almost any leftovers
you have can go right in the pot as well.
“The Little New Orleans Cookbook” by Gwen McKee
1/2 lb. ham chunks
1 lb. smoked sausage/kielbasa, sliced or ground
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 bell pepper, chopped
2 cloves minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon of each: salt, pepper, thyme, Worcestershire, soy sauce
1/8 teaspoon red pepper (or more)
2 1/2 cups water
1 cup uncooked rice
1 tablespoon chicken or beef bouillon granules
1 small can mushrooms,partially drained.
Brown the sausage in a large soup pot. Add onion, bell pepper,
garlic, ham and spices. Stir until all is softened. Add water, rice and
bouillon. Bring to boil and stir well. Cover and cook over low heat
30 minutes; add mushrooms, stir and cover. Shrimp or other seafood
can be added at this time as well, just cook until no longer translucent.
Serves 6 – 8.
As with all recipes, you can adjust as you wish. I like more garlic, a
bay leaf or two and a dash of hot sauce. My husband adds a teaspoon
of Cajun spice.
It tastes even better the next day, but you may have to add more
water as the rice will absorb a lot.