There are so many types of jambalaya – chicken and sausage, chicken and shrimp, with tomatoes, without tomatoes, turkey neck jambalaya, black bird jambalaya…I could go on and on.
And just like other “cultural foods” people have strong opinions about it. If it’s red, it’s not authentic, if it’s brown it’s not authentic. Shrimp must be in there, no shrimp shouldn’t be in there.
The truth is, jambalaya was created as a result of the need for a filling but inexpensive meal with easily available ingredients. So yeah, black bird jambalaya and turkey neck jambalaya. If you had those, you used it, and it was still authentic. Each family has their own recipe and yep, no matter what’s in it, it’s authentic.
It can be made of anything you had on hand and pork is one of those meats that is and was easily available in rural Louisiana. I came across this pork jambalaya with burnt sugar a long time ago in my wife’s trusty Louisiana Lagniappe book. (yes, there is black bird and turkey neck jambalaya in there, maybe even armadillo)
I loved it from the first time I made it because it’s easy and interesting.Pork Jambalaya with Burnt SugarClick To Tweet
Burnt sugar? Yeah, it makes for a beautiful dark brown color. It’s not sweet at all but somehow it brings a nice balance. It’s…interesting.
Use a cast iron pot her for ultimate flavor. Nothing can beat a black pot when cooking cajun food.
In the video below I used my Discada and it was the first time I used it for a rice dish. I had been reluctant to try anything with rice for fear of rice burn. Nope. It turned out perfectly.
PORK JAMBALAYA WITH BURNT SUGAR
1 tablespoon sugar
3 pounds pork, cut into bitesized pieces – you can use boneless ribs, pork chops, pork butt
1 onion chopped
1 bell pepper chopped
1 cup rice
3 cups chicken broth
salt, pepper, and cajun seasoning to taste
handful of parsley, chopped
green onion tops
In cast iron pot add enough oil to cover the bottom. Heat over medium-high heat until hot. Add the sugar and brown. This does not take long. Just a few minutes. Keep stirring as it browns and brown till your desired color. You don’t want to burn it but you want it the color of the traditional brown Crayon, if you remember that color. Deep but not burnt.
Season your pork pieces with salt, pepper, and cajun seasoning and brown in the oil. When brown, remove from the pot and add the onions and bell peppers until starting to soften.
Add the pork back in, along with the rice, broth, and half of the chopped parsley. Add a pinch of salt, pepper, and about a teaspoon of cajun seasoning. Stir to combine. Turn the heat down to a small simmer, cover and cook for 15-20 minutes until the rice is done. Add the remaining parsley and onion tops, cook for 5 more minutes.
Taste for seasoning. Add whatever you need.
Depending on the cajun seasoning you use, you may find you need plenty more salt. I tend to use Tony Chachere’s and it’s pretty salty so I don’t like to add too much in the beginning. In the video below I used a seasoning I had never tried before, Beazell’s and it’s not nearly as potent. It’s better not to put too much salt in the beginning unless you’re very familiar with cooking with your cajun seasoning.
As a note here, you can use whatever meat you want. As I said up top, jambalaya’s all about readily available ingredients. If you don’t like pork, don’t use it. You feel like you want to add some sausage to this? Go for it. Don’t be afraid to make it your own. You can add the “Holy Trinity” if you want. Chicken thighs? Sure thing.
This is just a simple, stripped down jambalaya. It’s what drew me to it. You can whip this up any old night with nothing exotic in terms of ingredients. That also means it’s a great base to build upon. Build, build!
This post is linked to: Weekend Potluck