Here's an award-winning recipe (along with some tips and some history of the dish) as prepared by: Matthew "Dee" Gautreau, Dee Gautreau's Cajun Catering, Gonzales, Louisiana 70737, Telephone - (504) 644-5977 or 644-4405.

This makes damn good jambalaya, and is a brown-style rather than the red tomato-based jambalayas you see in New Orleans (like mine, for instance). This one doesn't use a chicken stock because you make your own as you go along here.

Fry chicken in cooking oil until golden brown. Remove chicken and oil leaving just enough oil to cover bottom of pot. Add onions, and fry until golden brown. Put chicken back into pot with onions, and add 6 cups of water (note water level). Add remaining seasoning and simmer covered until chicken is tender. If necessary, add enough water to bring back to previous level. Bring back to a rolling boil, and add rice. Simmer uncovered for about 15 minutes - turn rice. Cover with tight fitting lid, let steam for 15 minutes, or until rice is tender. Turn rice once more, and turn fire off. Let stand for 10 minutes and then serve.

Jambalaya is more tasty if highly seasoned, so don't forget the red pepper. When adding salt, water should taste a little too salty, as rice absorbs considerable salt.

Yield: 6 to 8 generous servings.


Most jambalaya cooks prefer to cook in cast iron pots - whether cast iron or aluminum pot is used, it should be heavy enough to prevent easy burning, and have a tight lid.

To brown onions:

Onions and shortening are put into the pot, covered, and cooked over low heat until golden brown, stirring frequently. A little water added to the onions will help prevent sticking.

Jambalaya should never be stirred - turn rather than stir after the rice has been added. This prevents the grains of rice from breaking up. Most cooks turn jambalaya only two or three times after the rice is added, being sure to scoop from the bottom of the pot to mix rice evenly with other ingredients.


Similar in many ways to Spanish paella, the term "jambalaya" is derived from the Spanish jamón for ham. Jambalaya found its way into Creole cookery in the late 1700's where it soon took on the flavor of added local ingredients.

It can be made (separately or all together) with ham, chicken, sausage, fresh pork, shrimp and oysters, to which is added shortening, rice, onion, garlic, pepper and other seasonings.

Starting with church fairs, which were the largest public gatherings at the turn of the century, Jambalaya emerged from small quantity indoor cooking to become the ideal dish for outdoor cooking over hardwood fire. Big black cast iron pots made preparation so easy and economical for church use that Jambalaya was rapidly adapted for political rallies, weddings, family reunions and other affairs. No fair or political rally around Gonzales is complete without Jambalaya cooking.

The Jambalaya Festival and World Champion Jambalaya Cooking contest is held annually at Gonzales and attracts area cooks who have spent years perfecting the are of cooking and seasoning this Creole delicacy. Gonzales really is the Jambalaya Capital of The World.

About the creator of the championship recipe:

"Dee" Gautreau is a World Champion Jambalaya cook; he won the title in 1978. He has his own catering business, "Dee Gautreau's Cajun Catering." In the past nine years he has cooked Jambalaya all over the United States and in France, too.


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Chuck Taggart   email chuck (at) gumbopages (dot) com