Mardi Gras Recipe: Jambalaya with Red Beans & Andouille Sausage

by Maris Callahan on February 15, 2010

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Since I grew up in New Jersey, it wouldn’t be fair to say that Mardi Gras,which begins tomorrow, was ever a big part of my life. It would be fair to say that in college, Mardi Gras was an excuse to go out celebrate. And by celebrate, I mean drink alcohol on a school night.

Well, now that I am older I have a deeper understanding of Mardi Gras (and an inability to drink alcohol on a school night with the expectations of functioning the next day). Sometimes referred to as Carnival, it is a a period of celebration that has roots in pagan
end-of-winter and beginning-of-spring rituals
reaching back thousands
of years.

There is a lot of lore attached to Mardi Gras: stories about women flashing their chests in exchange for beads, rumors that people walk around in the nude. Mardi Gras, which is known as “fat Tuesday,” can be one big party, but it originated as a pre-Lenten festival in preparation for Ash
Wednesday and the start of the fast of Lent.

Mardi Gras is thus the
last opportunity for partying, celebration and indulgence in food and drink. In
practice, the festival is generally celebrated for one full week before
Lent
and includes spectacular parades featuring floats,
pageants, elaborate costumes, masked balls, and people dancing in the
streets.

If you’re celebrating Mardi Gras in your own town this year but like me, are not much of a party-er on school nights, celebrate with some cuisine reminiscent of the French Quarter – like cajun-style Jambalaya.

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Jambalaya with Red Beans & Andouille Sausage

Ingredients:

2 Tablespoons olive oil

3 celery stalks, finely chopped

1 medium onion, finely chopped

1 green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and finely chopped

1 pound andouille sausage, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 cups homemade or low-sodium store-bought chicken stock

3/4 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning

1 can (14 ounces) crushed tomatoes with juice

1 can (25 ounces) red kidney beans

1 cup cooked brown rice

Directions

1. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add vegetables to pot. Cook, stirring, 5 minutes or until onions and celery have softened.

2. Add sausage; cook 3 minutes. Add garlic; cook 1 minute. Stir in stock, Old Bay, tomatoes, and 1/2 cup water; bring to a boil.

3. Add rice and beans. Reduce heat; simmer 5 minutes. Cover; reduce heat to low. Let simmer, stirring every 5 minutes or so, until liquid is mostly absorbed, 30 to 35 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, as desired. Serve with simple cornbread.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) February 15, 2010 at 7:27 pm

Jambalaya is comfort food in our house, the dish we make on rainy days, cold days, and days when we need to heat of Tabasco sauce (which I use in frightening amounts) to wake up the senses.

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Joanne February 15, 2010 at 7:59 pm

This looks like an incredibly delicious way to celebrate Mardi Gras! Being a New Yorker, I can’t say I’ve really celebrated either. But I’ve decided that everyone is from New Orleans on Mardi Gras, at least when it comes to the food. Great dish!

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Daryl February 15, 2010 at 9:59 pm

I thought women exposing their chest for beads originated on Jerry Springer! This dish looks so yummy-and has all my favorite ingredients. Looks so hearty and filling

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Hélène February 16, 2010 at 1:07 am

That must be fun to Celebrate Mardi Gras.
What a great dish.

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Jontue February 16, 2010 at 4:40 pm

I’ve always wanted to go New Orleans just to eat the food.!!!!

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mandy February 16, 2010 at 4:48 pm

I celebrated Mardi Gras much the same way you did in college. =) Fun new picture. The jambalaya sounds great. I dont think I’ve ever made it.

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Juliana February 16, 2010 at 10:13 pm

Jambalaya, love the spices in it…red beans, sounds really good :-)

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kat February 16, 2010 at 10:32 pm

Yummy, this is making me excited for my trip to New Orleans in May

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E.P. February 20, 2010 at 8:41 am

Your jambalaya looks pretty good, especially since you’re not from South Louisiana.
We celebrated Mardi Gras when I was a kid in school. Which meant gross king cake (hello, stale cinnamon buns) and beads. I didn’t really understand the full meaning until I attended it myself in NO with a good friend and her family. It was absolutely AMAZING. And I finally ate some good king cake.
Thanks for posting this! It reminds me of my adopted home, and that makes me smile!

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