Jambalaya, Probably no Bayou
Marty Martindale

Most foods don’t rate their own music and lyrics. However, the late, great Hank Williams felt he had to spread thejambalayaword that, “Jambalaya and a crawfish pie and fillet gumbo were indeed a whole lot of fun on the bayou.”

In the south, gumbos, etouffees and jambalayas are a serious and varying science.

For instance, gumbos and etouffees are served over their rice. Jambalaya includes its rice as an ingredient and lets it soak up all the blending flavors.

Tomatoes are big with them. A Creole jambalaya, a red one, contains tomatoes and were added late to the recipe as a substitute for hard-to-find and expensive saffron. Cajun jambalaya is brown in color due to the careful browning of all meats included.

The protein in an jambalaya is spread wide as a rainbow, and it gets spread wider the further out the cook is located in Louisiana’s vast wildernesses, swamps and bayous. The broadness of the “game” goes something like this — crab, shrimp, oysters, crawfish, fresh and saltwater fish, squirrels, wild turkey, duck, muskrat, frog, turtle, seafood , ham, link sausage rounds, chicken, fresh pork, even nutria.

Remember it this way: Creoles lived in or near the cities where meat is more expensive. The Cajuns, country-folk, were known for their brown jambalaya, taking on the color of the carefully browning of all the meats they acquired essentially free for the hunting.

Jambalaya has roots in the Spanish, French, African and Caribbean cultures. One of the first appearances of the dish, jambalaya, in the U.S., was in 1878, when the ladies of an Alabama Methodist Church group printed a cookbook they titled, Gulf City Cook Book. In it was a recipe for “Jam Bolaya.”


There are probably as many jambalaya recipes as there are families in the south. We will take a look at Emeril Lagasse’s version, a Massachusetts convert to Cajun and Creole cooking.

His method was to marinate raw shrimp and chicken with an elaborate Creole seasoning in a separate bowl

Then he sautéed the celery, onion and green pepper for a few minutes.

Next, he added is garlic, chopped tomatoes, bay leaves, Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce.

Then, he added broth and uncooked long-grain, white rice.

Once the liquid is absorbed and rice cooked, he added the marinated shrimp and chicken, plus sliced Andouille sausage.

Simmer 10 minutes, adjust seasoning. His exact recipe is here.

Foodsites with other jambalaya recipes:





Comments are closed.