Red Jambalaya

Creole Jambalaya is authentic New Orleans cuisine, with origins in the French Quarter. Like the Crescent City itself, it's a melting pot of Spanish, French and Native American influences. Jambalaya is a terrific party dish: economical to make, easy to prepare in advance and uncomplicated to present. Just put a big pot of it on a table and let your guests serve themselves. This recipe is Creole-style, sometimes called "Red Jambalaya." Cajun versions omit the tomatoes.

3 lbs boneless chicken breasts and thighs
3-4 tbsp butter or bacon grease
2 medium-sized onions, chopped
1 green pepper, diced
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
2 tbsp flour
1 lb smoked sausage or andouille, sliced
3 cups tomato, peeled and chopped
½ tsp thyme
½ tsp pepper
½ tsp Tabasco® sauce
1 cup water
1 cup tomato juice
¾ cup uncooked long grain white rice
½ lb jumbo shrimp, shelled and deveined
2 small lobster tails, shelled and cut into small pieces (may substitute 12 oz small shrimp, shelled and deveined)
½ cup scallions, diced (discard green stalks)
¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
extra salt and pepper for seasoning

Preparation time: Allow 90 minutes.

Season chicken with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tbsp bacon grease or butter and sauté until just browned and remove from pan. Do not discard bacon grease or butter.

In the same pan, sauté onions, green pepper and garlic until onions are translucent. Remove from skillet.

Add remaining bacon grease or butter and gradually add flour, stirring often to keep the mixture smooth. Simmer until color turns light brown.

In the same pan, stir in sausage, chicken, onion, pepper and garlic mixture and tomatoes. Cook 10 minutes on medium high, stirring continuously. Add thyme, ½ tsp pepper, Tabasco sauce, water, tomato juice and rice. Mix well and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cover. Simmer 30 minutes. Stir in shrimp, lobster, scallions, remaining tomatoes and parsley. Cook an additional 5 minutes. Serve in bowls with slices of crusty French bread.

Makes 8–10 servings.