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Jambalaya

posted Mar 8, 2017, 11:57 AM by Steven Vaughan   [ updated Mar 8, 2017, 11:57 AM ]
"Jambalaya (On the Bayou)" is a song written by Hank Williams and Moon Mullican, first released in July, 1952. It spawned numerous cover versions by Jo Stafford; Brenda Lee; George Jones; Fats Domino; Elvis Presley; Conway Twitty; Jerry Lee Lewis; The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band; The Carpenters; The Meters; Harry Connick, Jr. and most recently, Garth Brooks. In it, the singer poles a pirogue (a small boat) down the bayou to attend a party with ma cher amio, (his girlfriend) Yvonne, where they have Cajun cuisine such as jambalaya, crawfish pie, filé gumbo, and drink liquor from fruit jars.

The dish jambalaya consists of meat and vegetables mixed with rice. Traditionally, the meat includes a smoked sausage such as andouille, along with pork, chicken, crawfish, or shrimp. Since the Louisiana territory was occupied by both the Spanish and the French, it has its origins in two dishes from their cuisines: paella (native to Valencia) and jambalaia (native to Provence). The presence or absence of tomatoes distinguishes Creole jambalaya (with tomatoes) from Cajun jambalaya, which contains no tomatoes and is more characteristic of rural Louisiana.

Jambalaya is differentiated from gumbo and étouffée by the way in which rice is included. In these latter dishes, white long grain rice is cooked separately and is served in a scoop over or under the main dish. But in jambalaya, the white rice is added to the stock and the flavor is absorbed by the grains as the rice cooks. It's considered by most Louisiana cooks to be a simple-to-prepare dish; gumbos, étouffées, and creoles are regarded more difficult to perfect.