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Jambalaya – THE Bourbon Street favorite

If we’re here to talk about New Orleans and Louisiana culinary traditions, there is certainly no better or more vibrant place to start than with Jambalaya! If one looks online (or in any of the old school cookbooks our moms and grandmas used to use) we are treated to a Mardi Gras parade of multi colored histories and outright inebriated fabrications of where this dish got its name. Was it a combination of the French “Jambon” and African “Yaya”? Was it named by an unruly and hungry diner exclaiming “Jean Balayez!”, essentially commanding an innkeeper to make a filling and spicy dish that would ease his traveling hunger pangs? Whatever word origin you want to put in your culinary bible, we can all agree that this dish sums up quite a bit of what Creole and Cajun cuisine really bring to the table. It’s got spicy New Orleans sausage, shrimp to get the seafood covered, chicken to satisfy your Louisiana land cravings and darnit if this dish doesn’t also contain THE “Holy Trinity” of Creole cooking! That sweet and savory mother base of onions, peppers and celery that no self-respecting creole dish would be caught dead on bourbon street without! There are as many different takes on Jambalaya as there are chefs who are absolutely positive that theirs is the best. Does it have tomatoes? Yes, it often does. Does it have seafood? Doesn’t have to but it sure doesn’t hurt. What about pork? Sausage or Ham? Long story short, no matter what you put in it, a true New Orleans Jambalaya will fill both your stomach and soul with certified Louisiana enjoyment.

-Chef Bennett