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Excerpted from The Southern Tailgating Cookbook: A Game-Day Guide for Lovers of Food, Football, and the South by Taylor Mathis:
I love jambalaya—the way it tastes, the way it smells, the way its name rolls off the tongue. On a cold game day, a hearty bowl of jambalaya hits the spot. By packing the ingredients the night before, you can easily make this dish on-site.
2 tablespoons bacon drippings
12 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, seasoned with salt and pepper
12-13 ounces andouille sausage, sliced into 1/4-inch slices
4 cups chopped yellow onions
2 1/2 cups chopped celery
2 1/2 cups chopped green bell peppers
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 (10-ounce) can of Rotel tomatoes
1 (28-ounce) can of diced tomatoes
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon McCormick Coarse Ground Black Pepper
8 cups chicken stock
2 cups long-grain white rice
1/2 cup chopped parsley and 1 cup chopped scallions (white and green parts) for garnish
1. The night before the tailgate, pack the bacon drippings in a sealable container. Pack the seasoned chicken thighs and andouille in separate sealable containers. Place the onions, celery, and peppers in a sealable container. Place the garlic in a sealable container. Place the Rotel and diced tomatoes in a sealable container. Place the chicken stock in a sealable container. Pack the parsley and scallions for garnish in a sealable container. Refrigerate these containers overnight and transport to the tailgate in a cooler. Pack the bay leaves, oregano, thyme, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper in a sealable container. Pack the rice in a sealable container.
2. At the tailgate, prepare the jambalaya. In a large, heavy pot over a propane burner, melt the bacon drippings over medium-high heat. Add the seasoned chicken thighs. Brown on each side and remove. Set aside in a bowl. The thighs don’t have to be cooked through; this step is to develop flavor in the pot and on the thighs.
3. Add the andouille to the pot. Stir frequently until the sausage begins to brown. Reduce heat to medium. Add the onions, celery, and peppers and stir. Cook until the onions are translucent. Add the garlic and salt.
4. Add the chicken thighs back to pot. Add the spices and stir. Add the tomatoes and stir. Pour in the chicken stock and bring the jambalaya to a strong simmer. Cook at a simmer for 1 1/2 hours. Remove the bay leaves. You can turn off the heat and hold the jambalaya covered for a few hours at this point.
5. About 20 minutes before you want to serve the dish, bring the contents of the pot to a boil. Add the rice and reduce to a low simmer. Cover and cook for 20 minutes. Once the rice has cooked, remove the lid and stir. Garnish with parsley and scallions and serve.
Makes 10-12 servings.
Text and photographs copyright © 2013 by Jeffrey Taylor Mathis. Used by permission of the University of North Carolina Press.