Updated: Jul 31, 2019
This is my simplified version of a classic New Orleans jambalaya. I am using duck fat and crispy duck skin, as well as my own seasoned salt blend that I will share with you. Over time, I will upload a few modifications that include different proteins, peppers, spices, and fats.
I choose to make my own seasoned salt blend primarily so that I can control the salt content in the food that I cook. A lot of traditional food from the south can be extremely high in salt, so I cut out the sodium and make my own blends. Never mind the duck fat that I used to cook the andouille sausage and chicken thighs though...
What You'll Need
3 Cups Basmati Rice
3 Cups Water
6 Whole Tomatoes
4 Chicken Thighs, boneless and skinless
2 Links Andouille Sausage (spicy - back home I like to use Richards)
1 Cooked Duck Breast, Skin On
2 Celery Stalks
3 Bell Peppers (tri-color)
1 Yellow Onion
1 Garlic Head
2 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
2 Tablespoons Cayenne Pepper
3 Tablespoons Paprika
2 Tablespoons Freshly Chopped Oregano
2 Tablespoons Freshly Chopped Thyme
1 Tablespoon Kosher Sea Salt
1 Tablespoon Garlic Powder
A Lot of Cracked Black Pepper
For cooking, you'll need at least two deep skillets. I am using a cast iron combo cooker and a dutch oven.
Now, I happened to have roasted a duck the night before I decided to go through this process for this recipe. Thus, I decided to use it in the jambalaya. If you don't randomly have a roasted duck or cooked duck breast, it will be ok. Alternatively, you can get your chicken thighs with skin on and crisp up that skin or render that fat.
Here's What You Need To Do
Put your oven on high broil. Take the 6 tomatoes and cut them into quarters. Heirlooms work great here because of how juicy they are. Put the tomatoes on a sheet pan lined with foil. Crack some black pepper over them, a pinch of salt, and pop 'em in the oven. Make sure the rack is in the middle.
Salt your chicken thighs lightly. Heat your skillet to medium heat and add the chicken thighs. No need to add oil to cook them, even without the skin there will be sufficient fat trimmings left over to get things going.
Now is a good time to prep all of your vegetables and your spice blend. First, chop up the onion, bell peppers, celery, and garlic. Combine into a bowl and set aside.
Now, for the spice blend, combine the cayenne, paprika, oregano, thyme, sea salt, and garlic powder into a small bowl. Mix with a whisk and set aside.
Check on your tomatoes. If they are blackening and roasting, take them out of the oven and set aside. If they aren't, let them keep going. If they're burnt to a crisp, toss em and try again.
Your chicken thighs should be getting close to completion after about 15 minutes. You can now dice up the andouille sausage and add to the chicken thighs, along with any duck fat if you happen to have some. Stir the meats and let them cook for another 10 minutes, or until slightly crispy.
In your dutch oven or deep skillet, at medium heat, transfer some of the fat that has been generated by the sausage/chicken/duck fat mixture. I would say about 4 tablespoons worth if you got that much. If you don't have enough fat, you can use butter.
Once the fat is heated up, turn the heat down to low-medium and add the rice. Stir continuously to coat the rice and let it get a bit crispy. Add the spice blend a couple of minutes after. This total process will take about 5 minutes.
Next, add your chopped veggies. You may need to add some more fat at this point.
Once your veggies are added to the rice, add the roasted tomatoes into the meat mixture and mash them up. Then, add the meat and tomato mixture into the rice mixture and stir.
Add the water to the rice mixture and then turn the heat up to medium-high for about 1 minute. Continue to stir. Make sure to smell and taste your food while you cook. If you want to make any adjustments, the time is now.
Cover the dutch oven and turn the heat down to just above a simmer.
Cook for 25 minutes. Be patient. You don't want to check on it and let out that precious steam.
While the rice is cooking, you can make your crispy duck or chicken skin. Simply use the skillet that the meat was cooked in and add the layers of skin. There should be plenty of fat in the pan, so no need to add any. Put the heat up to high and let them get close to burning.
After 25 minutes has elapsed, uncover your jambalaya and stir. Cover again and let it go another 5 minutes before you serve your food.
Serve in a bowl and top with your crispy skin. Don't forget to add Crystal Extra Hot sauce. Enjoy!