One food staple of the Louisiana bayou is jambalaya. For as many different dialects and vernaculars there are in the area, there are just as many variations for the classic cajun recipe. I’ve created a jambalaya casserole using freshly shredded pepper jack cheese, the addition of sliced mushrooms, a deglaze of bourbon, and homemade bread crumbs. You can change it up to your liking, for there a thousand ways to start.
You can use a primarily creole base by adding more tomato sauce than light stock, or go the basic route with a roux from chicken, beef, or shrimp stock plus flour. In my casserole recipe, I take the deglazed sausage, veggie and mushroom remains to a béchamel sauce by flambéing the pan with bourbon, adding some heavy cream, a little flour, and shredded cheese. We will balance it out with fresh tomato purée and spicy hot sauce.
My mouth is watering already!
What you need:
- 1 bunch scallions
- 2 medium tomatoes
- 1/2 small white onion, small diced
- 1 green bell pepper, small diced
- 2 Tbsp butter
- andouille sausage, medium cut on the bias
- 1 to 2 cups sliced mushrooms
- 1/2 cup bourbon whisky
- 1 cup flour, separated
- 1-1/2 cup chicken stock
- 2 tsp sriracha sauce
- Creole seasoning
- 2 cups tomato purée
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
- freshly grated pepper jack cheese, approx. 1 cup
- cooked white rice (approx, 2 cups)
- breadsticks, corn flakes, or stale bread (for bread crumb topping)
- dried parsley
- mixed cheese (for topping)
Small dice your first four vegetables, approximately 1/4″ x 1/4″ in size. Set aside
Cut your andouille sausage and sauté in 1 Tbsp of butter until pink color slightly darkens. Sauté bell pepper and white onion in same pan until onions become translucent. Combine sausage with mixed vegetables in your chicken stock roux (chx stock + 1/2 cup flour whisked together until smooth) and bring to a simmer. Add tomato purée, seasoning, and a 2 tsps of Sriracha sauce (or Sambal), and mix together; simmer.
In the same pan, sauté mushroom slices in 1 Tbsp butter until slightly browned. Transfer to your simmering sauce. Deglaze your pan by flambéing bourbon then combining remaining 1/2 flour to 1/2 cup whipping cream. Once combined, add cheese, heat for 1 minute and remove. Pour into the sauce, mixing well. Add in your cooked white rice and transfer to a large casserole dish.
I made my bread crumbs by combining corn flakes and stale breadstick crackers, dried parsley, salt and pepper. Top casserole evenly, then place pats of butter over the surface. Bake at 350 degrees F for 15 minutes. Add mixed cheese blend, rotate the dish in the oven, and bake for another 5 minutes.
Garnish with fresh cut scallions. *This dish is eclectic, cheesy and very filling. It is best to only make what can be eaten in its entirity, as refrigeration will soften the bread crumbs. Seasoning as you go will create layers of flavor. Be sure to only add enough salt to enhance flavors and not overpower with too much sodium.