Chef's Table Recipe: Jambalaya

James Beard House featured chef Brent Sims demonstrates how to make this simple and flavorful jambalaya.

INGREDIENTS:

2 ½ to 3 pounds boneless chicken, cut into cubes
3 tablespoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 pinch of cayenne pepper
1/2 cup of olive oil

CHEFS TABLE: JAMBALAYA
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1 pound fresh sausage (andouille or chorizo), sliced
4 small onions, diced
3 stalks celery, diced
2 bell peppers, diced
5 cloves of garlic, minced
1 bunch scallions, minced
1/3 cup of chopped flat leaf parsley
4 cups long grain rice, such as basmati
12 cups chicken stock, heated

PREPARATION:

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Season the chicken with the salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper. Heat oil in a heavy bottomed pot until it begins to smoke. Add the chicken and sausage and cook until browned, about 8 minutes per side. If using skin-on chicken, the skin should be brown and crispy. When chicken and sausage are almost fully cooked, remove from pot and set aside. Add the onions, celery, bell pepper, and garlic and sauté until beginning to brown, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.

Add the scallions and about half of the parsley. Return the chicken and sausage to the pot and stir to combine. Add the rice and reduce heat to medium, stirring well to lightly toast the rice, about 3-4 minutes.

Add the chicken stock. When it comes to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cover. Don't stir or mix the dish from this point until it is done. Put the pot in the oven and cook for 15 to 20 minutes or until rice is fluffy. Remove from the oven, sprinkle with additional parsley, season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve immediately.

CHEF'S TIPS:

The best chicken for this dish is the dark meat of the legs and thighs left with the skin on. If you have the time, you can debone the chicken legs and thighs yourself and use the bones to make your own stock for the jambalaya.

It is much easier to slice a seared sausage than a raw one. Just sear the sausage whole, then cut into slices. If it isn't cooked all the way through, it will be once it comes out of the pot.


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