Jambalaya de Covington
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.