CHICKEN AND TASSO JAMBALAYA
2 whole bay leaves
1 teaspoon ground red pepper (preferably cayenne)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons white pepper
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon rubbed sage
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 pound chopped tasso (preferred) or other smoked ham (preferably Cure 81), about 2 cups
3/4 pound boneless chicken, cut into bite-size pieces, about 2 cups
1 cup chopped onions, in all
1 cup chopped celery, in all
1 cup chopped green bell peppers, in all
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 cup canned tomato sauce
1 cup peeled and chopped tomatoes
2 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 1/2 cups uncooked rice (preferably converted)
Combine the seasoning mix ingredients in small bowl and set aside.
Melt the butter in a 2-quart saucepan over high heat. Add the tasso and cook until meat starts to brown, about 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Add chicken and continue cooking until chicken is brown, about 3 to 5 minutes, stirring frequently and scraping pan bottom well. Stir in the seasoning mix and 1/2 cup each of the onions, celery, and bell peppers and the garlic. Cook until vegetables start to get tender, about 5 to 8 minutes, stirring fairly constantly and scraping pan bottom as needed. Stir in the tomato sauce and cook about 1 minute, stirring often. Stir in the remaining 1/2 cup each of the onions, celery, and bell peppers and the tomatoes. Remove from heat. Stir in the stock and rice, mixing well. Transfer mixture to an ungreased 8x8-inch baking pan. Bake uncovered in a 350° oven until rice is tender but still a bit crunchy, about 1 hour. Remove from oven. Stir well and remove bay leaves Let sit 5 minutes before serving.
To serve, mold rice in an 8-ounce cup and place 2 cups on each serving plate for a main course or 1 cup for an appetizer.
Makes 4 main-dish or 8 appetizer servings.
Chef Paul Prudhomme's Louisiana Kitchen
Morrow,William & Co
Dan's note: Don't use instant rice, it splits and gets soft again. Still very good though. Original recipe said 2 tsp red pepper- it's spicy enough with 1.