Preparation / Directions:
To make a really good pot of jambalaya, you're going to need a well-seasoned black cast iron Dutch oven with a tight-fitting lid. And for this recipe, an 8-quart pot is perfect! So take the pot, put it on the burner over high heat, and pour in the bacon drippings (or margarine). Then toss in the smoked sausage, andouille, tasso, and crumbled bacon and stir-fry the meats until the smoked sausage turns light brown (it should take about 8 minutes or so).
Now, drop in the julienne chicken and stir-fry it until every strip loses its translucency (turns white). Then immediately add the onions, bell pepper, celery and garlic, and reduce the heat to medium-high, and cook the vegetables until they soften.
At this point, pour in the rice. And you want to stir it thoroughly into the seasoning vegetables and meats until every single grain is moistened -- about 4 to 5 minutes.
Next, add the tomatoes, beef stock, Kitchen Bouquet, thyme and chili powder, blend everything together well, and bring the mixture to a slow boil. When this happens, taste the liquids and season the dish to taste with salt, black and cayenne pepper. Just remember that you're going to have to season it a little on the "heavy side" because the rice will absorb much of the seasonings as it cooks, and you still have a couple pounds of shrimp to mix in. *So be sure to taste carefully!* [I'd definitely add Tabasco for flavor, too.] When everything is just right, reduce the heat as low as it will go, put the lid on the pot, and simmer the jambalaya for about an hour. This "slow cooking" process allows each grain of rice to cook evenly, puff properly, and pick up the combination of flavors. If the heat is too high, the rice will stick to the bottom of the pot and turn mushy.
Then when the jambalaya is done, about 5 minutes before you're ready to eat, stir in the raw shrimp, green onions, and parsley, put the lid back on the pot, and continue to simmer the jambalaya over *low heat* until the shrimp turn pink.
I suggest that before you serve the dish, you fluff the rice slightly. I also suggest that you serve the dish alongside crispy butter French bread and ice-cold beer.
CHEF'S HINTS: 1. Under no circumstances should you remove the cover from the pot during the slow-cooking process. If you do, you'll release steam you need to cook the rice. Your rice will turn out hard in the center and your jambalaya will be dry instead of moist. Don't peek in the pot! 2. If you don't feel that your stove-top will cook the jambalaya slowly enough, put the cover on the pot (after you mix the liquids in), set your oven at 300F, put the pot into the oven, and bake the dish for about 45 minutes. It will come out perfect! From "Frank Davis Cooks Naturally N'Awlins" by Fra