So a couple of weeks ago, my husband and I took a semi-impromptu trip to New Orleans. We stayed in the French Quarter and spent five great days walking around, drinking and eating. Some of the highlights were a newer restaurant, café and bar in the Hotel St. Marie called Vacherie and The Three Muses on Frenchman, which was actually a recommendation from the bartender at Vacherie (Thanks, Victoria!). We did drinks and small plates at the bar in Vacherie; the Crab Gratin and the Yam Chips with Hot Vinegar are both not to be missed. We also ate a couple breakfasts at their café; it was charming and close to our hotel with good coffee and bagels. Our favorite place on the trip was The Three Muses. The music was fantastic, but the food and drinks alone would be more than enough to keep me coming back. I loved their version of a Sazerac, an Orange Blossom Sazerac with house-infused vanilla-Rye Whiskey with dash of Cointreau and house-made Orange-Fennel Seed Bitters. It was just plain ridiculous. Another great item at The Three Muses was Ms. Moon’s Boolgogi Rice Bowl. It took me right back to a trip to South Korea several years ago… very tasty! All in all, New Orleans was a fantastic trip filled with great foodie adventures.
Now that it’s been a couple of weeks, I find myself needing to channel my vacation in N’awlins. I grew up with my mom making jambalaya and after having it on vacation, it was the perfect way to bring the memories back. On a great fall day, nothing says comfort food like something spicy and warm. Plus, it’s seriously a party for your mouth.
11/2 pounds andouille sausage, sliced on a bias
1 pound bacon, chopped (recommend chopping the bacon when it’s slightly frozen)
2 chicken breasts, diced
Salt and pepper, to taste
5 celery stalks, diced
2 large onions, diced
2 red Bell peppers, diced
1 Frenso chili, sliced
1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
6 garlic cloves, diced
Several sprigs of fresh thyme
1 dried bay leaf
11/2 Tbsp paprika
1 Tbsp cayenne pepper
41/2 cups white rice, medium or long grain
2 1/2 cups tomato sauce
4 cups rich chicken broth
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 bunches green onions, sliced on a bias
1/2 Tbsp celery salt
Preheat a large cast-iron pot over high heat. Lower the heat to medium-high and add the sausage and bacon. Cook the meat as evenly as possible, stirring slowly, until the fat is released.
Season the chicken with salt and pepper, add it to the pot, and turn the heat to high. Once the chicken has browned, add the celery, onions, green pepper, cherry tomatoes and garlic. Continue to stir, allowing the ingredients to brown without burning.
Lower the heat to medium and stir in the thyme sprigs, bay leaf, paprika, cayenne, and rice. Keep stirring for 5 to 7 minutes over medium heat.
Add the tomato sauce and broth, raise the heat back to high until the liquid boils, and then cover and reduce to a very low simmer for 15 minutes. At 15 minutes, check the rice to see if it’s finished, add more stock if necessary.
Season the shrimp with salt and pepper, and add them to the pot. Keep the pot covered for an additional 5 minutes before removing from the heat. Check for seasonings and remove the thyme sprigs and bay leaf. Add salt and pepper, if needed. Garnish with the celery salt.