You cannot go wrong with this dish or the next one (Shrimp and Ham Jambalaya). This recipe is taken from Emeril Lagasse’s Louisiana Real and Rustic, pages 220-221. Lagasse claims the origin of the word jambalaya is this: jambon, French for ham; ya, from a West African dialect for rice; and a la, French Acadian for “per the method.” Whatever the derivation, this dish is another crowd pleaser.
The key to tender, moist rice is the two-to-one ratio of liquid to rice. Although the recipe calls for water, you may substitute chicken broth, but use unsalted, or cut back on the added salt in the recipe.
½ cup vegetable oil
3 cups chopped onions
1 cup chopped bell peppers
1¼ tsp cayenne
1 lb. andouille, chorizo, or other smoked sausage, cut crosswise into ¼-inch slices
1½ lb. boneless white and dark chicken meat, cut into 1-inch cubes
3 bay leaves
3 cups medium-grain rice
6 cups water
1 cup chopped green onions
1. Heat the oil in a large cast-iron Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions, bell peppers, 2 tsp of the salt, and 1 tsp of the cayenne. stirring often, brown the vegetables for about 20 minutes, or until they are caramelized and dark brown in color. Scrape the bottom and sides of the pot to loosen any browned particles. Add the sausage and cook, stirring often for 10 to 15 minutes, scraping the bottom and sides of the pot to loosen any browned particles.
2. Season the chicken with the remaining 1 tsp salt and remaining ¼ tsp cayenne. Add the chicken and the bay leaves to the pot. Brown the chicken for 8 to 10 minutes, scraping the bottom of the pot to loosen any browned particles.
3. Add the rice and stir for 2 to 3 minutes to coat it evenly. Add the water, stir to combine, and cover. Cook over medium heat for 30 to 35 minutes, without stirring, or until the rice is tender and the liquid has been absorbed. Remove the pot from the heat and let stand, covered, for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the bay leaves.
4. Stir in the green onions and serve.
Serves 10 to 12.