For months, I stared at a recipe I’d pulled from Food and Wine magazine: a Pork Tinga from Rick Bayless. It looked delicious…and time-consuming. I am not opposed to time-consuming recipes (obviously!), but, for some reason, this particular recipe daunted me. Yet I kept coming back to it.
Then my husband had knee surgery, and I needed a lot of free freezer space to store the ice we needed to keep the swelling down (he had a machine that did the hard part, but it need to be fed a lot of ice). In my “what can I cook right now?” frenzy, I ran across a bag of boneless pork shoulder that fit the description.
But, time. Time. The Pork Tinga recipe didn’t fit my available time. However, something done up in the crockpot would work just fine. We love pulled pork, we love Mexican flavors, we love easy meals. So I stole the concept of the recipe and worked it into a delicious meal that showcases a favorite food while providing enough leftovers for other meals.
Jambalaya is most strongly associated with Louisiana, though friends from Mississippi claim it as their own. Every person who makes jambalaya has his or her own secret recipe — and, if you spend about five minutes searching for recipes on Google, you will discover dozens of variations of this classic dish.
Put another way: this recipe is just a starting point for your own version of jambalaya. My recipe anticipates you will have plenty of time to cook this dish…but, as you will see, there are plenty of opportunities to speed up the meal if time is short.
There are two major types of jambalaya: Creole, which contains tomato and is often associated with New Orleans, Cajun, which relies upon browned veggies and meat for a wonderful smoky flavor. My recipe blends the best of both styles, featuring chicken, spicy andouille sausage, and, when it’s on sale, shrimp.
Needless to say, jambalaya is a great party dish because the recipe can easily be doubled. It’s also a great dish for crockpots.