Belly Up to the Bar: Mardi Gras Jambalaya

Posted on February 26, 2015 by Miriam Zelinsky

What holiday is more bacchanalian than Mardi Gras? Hands down New Orleans corners the market when it comes to Fat Tuesday festivities. But it doesn’t have to be all about booze, beads and boobs. The name of the day comes from using up all your fancy food to make way for a time of fasting. No one is saying you need to do the fasting bit, but I know I never pass up a chance to chow down on some festive fare. And if I can’t make it to the best carnival celebrations in the world, you can be sure that I will be enjoying myself locally. 

There are many traditional foods when it comes to Mardi Gras. Fastnachts, king cakes, and pancakes top the list but if you want to feel truly naughty you need something with a healthy amount of HEAT. At LJP, Miriam is her Highness of Hotness when it comes to spice. Just sample a few of her famous bloodies and you may need to call the fire department. I should probably buy stock in Tabasco. This spicy jambalaya incorporates my favorite decadent ingredients with enough heat to make the ladies want to tear off their tops and earn some of those beads. Pair with your favorite Abita beer straight from the Big Easy itself.  Bon appétit!

1 ¼ tsp paprika

1 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp garlic powder

½ tsp onion powder

½ tsp cayenne pepper

½ tsp dry oregano

½ tsp dry thyme

freshly ground pepper to taste


1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined

3 cups chicken broth

3 links andouille sausage, sliced (not a smoked variety) must be raw

1 sweet onion, diced

1 cup sweet pepper, diced (I used Yummy Orange but use whatever you have on hand)

3 stalks of celery, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

14 oz canned diced tomatoes

2 tbsp tomato paste

1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

2 bay leaves

1 cup medium grain white rice

¼ cup chopped fresh parsley

salt, pepper, and hot sauce to taste

  1. Mix ingredients for the spice blend together and set aside. 
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and brown sausage on both sides. 
  3. Once the sausage has released some of the fat and is mostly cooked add the onion, sweet pepper and celery and cook until fairly tender. If it doesn’t release fat you may need to use some oil before you up in the vegetables. 
  4. Add the garlic and 1 tbsp of spice blend and stir to ensure even coating.
  5. Add the tomato paste and cook to caramelize a little . Add two cups of broth, tomatoes, Worcestershire, bay leaves and rice. Bring to a boil.
  6. Reduce heat and simmer until rice is tender. If it starts to burn or stick too much add ¼ cup additional broth at a time. Sauce should be completely thick, this is no like a soup. Consistency should be similar to paella or a dry risotto (not as creamy).  This will take about 30-40 minutes. 
  7. Add the shrimp and sprinkle with a little of the remaining spice blend. Cover and cook until shrimp are done approximately 5 minutes.
  8. Sprinkle with parsley and season to taste. Serve on a plate or bowl. There should be no pooling sauce (see image). 

Optional: Growing up in MD I like a little Old Bay on my shrimp. Feel free to use this to season the shrimp instead of the spice mix in the second to last step.

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