Mardi Gras


Chicken Stewed with Rice


Jambalaya, as it is more commonly spelled, is the dish most obviously associated with the brief period of Spanish domination in New Orleans. Even Celestine Eustis, writing at the turn of the twentieth century, refers to it as a "Spanish Creole dish." Interesting, this early recipe is much closer to paella and to the Caribbean arroz con pollo, which shares the same ancestry, than it is to today's recipes for jambalaya, which have become considerable more complex, often adding seafood and sausages to the ham and chicken.

Photo: The chile pepper or capsicum, gave Louisiana cooking its signature bite.

  • 1 tablespoon lard, or substitute
  • peanut oil
  • A 3-pound chicken, cut into 8 pieces
  • Salt
  • Ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
  • 1/2 pound smoked ham, cut into 1-inch long pieces
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 3 medium tomatoes, peeled and coarsely chopped, or 1-1/2 cups drained canned tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1-1/2 cups rice

Serves 4 to 6

  1. Heat the lard or oil in a large heavy stewpot over moderately high heat. Season the chicken generously with salt and black pepper, and the cayenne. Fry it in the hot fat until well browned on all sides, about 10 minutes. Remove to a plate and reserve. Add the ham to the pot, brown it, then remove and set aside. Lower the heat to moderate, add the onion, and cook, stirring, until transparent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and parsley and simmer briefly.
  2. Return the chicken and ham to the pot, add 3 cups water, and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer until the chicken is just cooked through, about 30 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Add the rice and continue simmering, covered, until it is tender and the most of the liquid has been absorbed, about 20 minutes. Remove the pot from heat and let stand 10 minutes before serving.
Menu for a Small Creole Dinner

Selected Recipes to serve for Mardi Gras:

Frog Lemonade
Shrimp Gumbo File
Courtbouillon a la Creole

Recipe from:
Around The American Table:
Treasured Recipes and Food Traditions

from the American Cookery Collections of
The New York Public Library
by Michael Krondl

ISBN 1-55850-540-7
1995, The New York Public Library
published by Adams Media Corporation
6-3/4" x 9-1/4"
353 pages
over 50 historical illustrations
Available at bookstores or the
NYPL shop 212/930-0641


This Archived Page created between 1994 and 2001. Modified August 2007

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