Food Articles


Chili Alternative: Jambalaya

January 30, 2013

I'm pretty sure I'll make it to the crematorium without ever watching a Super Bowl, but since so many cooks seem to be obsessing on it I thought I'd throw out an alternative to squandering $30 worth of short ribs on nachos: Jambalaya. Specifically duck and chorizo jambalaya. Everyone associates the Cajun translation of cassoulet with Mardi Gras, but it's a spectacular dish on any winter's night. And it takes a bit of work, but you get a huge batch that reheats well and won't stain your rug the way chili might. As I learned yesterday, this is a much more forgiving one-pot meal than you'd think. I cobbled together mine from three cookbooks* and guesstimated the rice-to-liquid ratio, which resulted in grains you could euphemistically describe as al dente, and not enough of them at that. After we ate too much richness, I cooked another cup of rice in mushroom stock and stirred it in; all the lively flavor was still there, but the balance of meat to starch was better. Andouille, of course, is the traditional sausage, but chorizo is what we had in the freezer. Partly because of that, I substituted smoked paprika for the regular kind specified in all three recipes, and it really added a sublime undertone. *I'm still old-school and prefer actual pages on my kitchen counter, but our iPad is becoming increasingly seductive. I should have used this Epicurious recipe, substituting my duck legs for the chicken thighs. With two kinds of sausage plus bacon and tasso, it seems Super Bowlish for sure.

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