Jambalaya is a Louisiana specialty of rice, meat, and vegetables, but those words—although accurate—don’t capture its magic as a crowd-pleasing one-pot feast. Dishes with deep and diverse roots in a community rarely have specific or verifiable stories of their origins, but The Dictionary of American Food and Drink reports that jambalaya was born late one night when a hungry traveler arrived at a New Orleans inn long after dinner had been served. According to the story, the inn’s cook, a man named Jean, was asked to “balayez” or “sweep something together” to feed the guest. The words “Jean balayez” later became jambalaya. This recipe (which is made with smoked turkey, ham, and sausage) comes from Covington, Louisiana, the parish seat of St. Tammany Parish, north of Lake Pontchartrain. This recipe from a Louisiana kitchen is made with a caramel-colored roux. When preparing it, stir the oil-and-flour mixture constantly as it cooks and do not let it over-brown.
1 pound smoked turkey necks
5 cups water
1 1/2 cups uncooked long-grain rice
1/2 pound andouille or other smoked link sausage
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 medium bunch scallions
1 cup chopped yellow onion (about 4 oz.)
1 cup chopped celery (about 4 stalks)
1/2 chopped green bell pepper (from 1 bell pepper)
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley or celery leaves
Preheat oven to 350°F. Place turkey necks in a large saucepan; add water, and bring to a boil over high. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer about 1 hour. Drain, reserving 4 cups cooking liquid. Remove and reserve meat from turkey necks, discarding bones.
Bring 3 cups reserved cooking liquid to a boil in a medium saucepan over high. Add rice; cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, and cook until rice is tender, about 18 minutes. Remove from heat, and let stand, covered, 5 minutes.
Place sausage on a rimmed baking sheet; bake in preheated oven 20 minutes. Chop sausage.
Combine oil and flour in a large Dutch oven; cook over medium, stirring constantly, until roux is the color of caramel, 6 to 8 minutes. Slice scallions, separating green and white parts. Reserve sliced green parts of scallions. Add sliced white parts of scallions (about 3 tablespoons), chopped yellow onion, celery, bell pepper, parsley, garlic, and tomato sauce to the roux.
Cook, stirring often, until vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes. Add remaining 1 cup cooking liquid; bring to a boil. Add garlic salt, black pepper, paprika, thyme, and cayenne, stirring well. Add turkey, sausage, and ham, stirring well. Remove from heat. Serve over rice, and sprinkle each serving with reserved sliced green parts of scallions.