Saturday, February 2, 2013


When I was young, my family moved around a lot.  No, I wasn't an army brat, I was an oil brat.  We bopped back and forth between Louisiana and Texas (oil) and Michigan and Ohio (natural gas).

I confess I didn't like moving all the time, saying goodbye to friends, always being the new girl, always managing to lose a favorite toy in the move.

One of the very good things about moving around, though, was being introduced to all sorts of food:  barbeque brisket to Tex Mex to pasties to Creole and Cajun delights.

As far as new food went, Louisiana was the best.  Shrimp, king cake, red beans and rice, various meats served etouffee, alligator (once), and jambalaya.  Most of those foods disappeared into my past when we moved back to Michigan, and some of them are lost to me since I became vegetarian.  Still, over the years, I've had occasion to make red beans and rice and a pretty amazing king cake.  Jambalaya eluded me.

Until now.

I don't know why I suddenly decided that I had to have jambalaya, what sent me to the internet in search of an easy and easily veggie-ized version.  But here's what I came up with.  And it was dang good, if I do say so myself.

Jambalaya Two Ways (Omnivorous and Vegetarian)

1 Tbs. unsalted butter
1 large link of andouille sausage OR a Mexican or chipotle veggie sausage
1/4 c. diced onion
1/4 c. diced celery
1/4 c. diced bell pepper (any color)
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 1/2 c. diced cooked chicken OR 2 cans black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
1/2 c. chopped fresh parsley
2 c. parboiled rice (I used Uncle Ben's converted rice)
2 c. tomato sauce
2 c. chicken OR veggie broth
2 tsp. hot sauce (I used tobasco)
1 Tbs. Tony Chachere's salt free seasoning
salt and pepper to taste

Melt butter in medium pot over medium heat.  Add sausage, onion, celery, pepper, and garlic.  Saute until sausage begins to brown.  Add the chicken and allow to brown on all sides (or black-eyed peas, which don't need to brown).  Add parsley, tomato sauce, stock, hot sauce, salt and pepper and seasoning.  Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally for 20 to 25 minutes (stirring occasionally).

Guess what?  It's our own Cleo Coyle's birthday.  
Happy Birthday, Cleo!


  1. Yay Cleo, happy birthday! What kind of cake do you want???

    Wendy/Annie, the jambalaya looks delish. I will definitely try this. Actually the ingredients are similar to Screw the Roux stew so it will be interesting to see how the two compare.

  2. It is very similar, isn't it. If you make the omnivorous version, I'd love to hear how they compare. It looks like you thicken your stew with flour and then serve over rice, while this cooks with the rice, and the rice actually thicken. But the flavors should be quite similar.

  3. I cannot wait to try this. Well, because I do not want to brave the weather to go to the store, it will have to wait. But I am definately going to try this. Thanks Wendy.
    I moved alot as a kid too. Man I got sick of being the new kid. What part of Michigan did you live in?
    Lori Cimino

    1. Lori, We lived in Ann Arbor, Ida (between mile 13 from the Ohio border), Monroe (home of General Custer), Travis City, and Grand Rapids. We move A LOT. :) You're near GR, right? If I ever make in home, I'll take you to lunch. :)

    2. oh that would be fabulous. yes, i am right in the middle of GR and Kalamazoo. M89 and 131 are my cross roads basically.

  4. Happy Birthday, Cleo! Seriously, what kind of cake are you having to celebrate?

    This sounds, great -- both ways. How interesting that you substituted black beans for chicken. Is that a know veggie substitute or just something clever that you came up with? Yum! Sounds just right for a Super Bowl party, too!

    ~ Krista

    1. I had a vegie jambalaya about 20 years ago, and I remembered were the black-eyed peas. I figure, bean/chicken ... basically the same. :)

  5. Happy birthday, Cleo! Whee! 29, right?

    Wendy/Annie, love the jambalaya and the different variations. And I love your sense of adventure (looking back on your travels)... Makes for an interesting life's view.


    Avery / Daryl

  6. OMG, Wendy!!! How sweet of you! Thank you for the birthday shout-out, and thanks to everyone for joining her. Jambalaya (two ways) and champagne for everyone!

    Love this recipe, Wendy, and your memories of the food of N'awlins. (May we all let the bons temps rouler.) More good news. Punxsutawney Phil (the famous Ground Hog) didn't see his shadow this AM so it's an early spring and more reason to celebrate!

    ~ Cleo

    P.S. Roberta and Krista - Marc bought me an Ube cake roll at the Filipino bakery. It's purple and filled with macapuno (a sort of young coconut frosting). I'll post a photo on facebook tomorrow--after I blow out my many candles? See below...

    Avery - Yes, indeed. To quote Frank Sinatra, "I'm 29! (again)"

  7. when will Annie's book be out?

  8. Thanks for two versions, Wendy. I often need to accommodate carnivores and vegetarians. This will do the trick and be delicious.

    Happy birthday Cleo! Lots to celebrate today!