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Jambalaya, TOPP-Style

My partner, Dave, has a wonderful perk at his company, TOPP. Every other Friday, a small group of employees cooks lunch for the entire parent company. A different group each time. Everyone gets to participate.

Whenever it’s Dave’s turn, he makes my dreams come true by bringing men home to cook for me. That is, some of his coworkers come over and they practice their menus before unleashing the same recipes upon their coworkers.

Last time, they decided to make jambalaya, rice and beans, collard greens, cornbread, chocolate mousse, and tuiles. I am a lucky woman – I spent the evening curled up on the couch with my laptop doing lawyerly work and being a breadwinner, while the men cooked together for me.

Their jambalaya was just excellent, better than any I’ve had before. It was adapted from a combination of recipes that they found online and in cookbooks, tweaked further by whatever caught their eye at the store and in our pantry. It helped that, much like a Depression-era housewife, we store bacon grease in a can in our freezer. Because it makes things more delicious, that’s why.

I have never been at a company with such awesomeness as that. Of course, now that I’m in solo practice, I cook and bring in lunch for my entire company almost every day.

Jambalaya, TOPP-Style
Bacon grease
1 1/4 lbs. boneless chicken breast, cut into bite-size chunks
1/4 lb andouille sausage, cut into bite-size chunks
2 large onions, coarsely chopped
3/4 bunch celery, coarsely
2 bell peppers, coarsely chopped
14 oz can fire-roasted tomatoes
3 bay leaves
1/2 tsp dried rosemary
3 fresh sage leaves, chopped
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 tbsp dried hot Hungarian paprika
3 C chicken stock
1 C basmati rice
Salt and cayenne to taste

In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, sear the meat a deep brown in bacon grease, then remove the meat and set it aside. Add in the onions and brown them until they are nice and dark. Scrape the bottom as you go, and be careful not to burn those tasty brown bits.

Add the veggies and spices and cook for 15 minutes or so, then add back the meats.

Add the rice and chicken stock and simmer until done, adding more water if necessary.

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10 Responses to “Jambalaya, TOPP-Style”

  1. Kitt says:

    Bacon grease makes everything better! Thanks for the yummy recipe. I love me some jambalaya.

  2. ha3rvey says:

    I guess I know what I’ll be doing this weekend. :)

    This looks similar to my old jambalaya with some interesting twists. I really like the idea of using fire-roasted tomatoes. I haven’t used basmati rice in mine, but I did briefly flirt with the idea of using jasmine rice to make a more “Asian-style” version with soy sauce and lemon grass. In hindsight, I’m glad I didn’t pursue it.

    Chuck Taggart’s recipe at http://www.gumbopages.com/food/jambalaya.html is pretty much like mine, but I’m still working on getting the amount of water exactly right.

  3. Yvo says:

    *gasp* Are you hiring? Are THEY hiring? *drool*

  4. There’s a restaurant here in Alaska that has consistently been ranked as the best cajun place west of the Mississippi (for what that’s worth) that has fabulous jambalaya, etouffee, etc. The Double Musky Inn if you’re ever this way.

  5. I got to get myself some BACON GREASE!!!

  6. Lisa says:

    Sounds delish! And I’m quite envious of your nights when the men cook. :D

    Bacon greese in the freezer, eh? That I’ve never heard of before but it’s sheer genius!!


  7. tartelette says:

    I smiled at the bacon grease line. I do exactly the same thing for gumbo and shrimps and grits, nothing beats that smoky touch.

  8. Danielle says:

    I hope to visit Alaska at some point, so I’ll definitely check out the Double Musky Inn when I get there.

    And I’m delighted that you all share in the love of bacon grease.

  9. Julie says:

    Cooking for your coworkers is a nice idea. Sounds like a good company to work for.

    Bacon grease is a great idea for jambalaya; I’ll bet it adds a lot of good flavor. I need to remember that next time I make it. (And why have I never thought of storing bacon grease in the freezer? That’s a really great idea.)

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August 2007
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