Catfish Jambalaya


Jambalaya is a tradition with Cajun and Creole cooks in Louisiana. This recipe, from River Run, by Jimmy and Maya Kennedy and Marialisa Calta won the 1996 Catfish Institute’s Restaurant Award, which was given to ten restaurants nationwide. It’s got a lot going for it — it’s easy, you can mak it ahead of time, in feeds a lot of people, and as Jimmy says, “It’s kind of special.”

  • 1 pound andouille sausage or kielbasa, cut into 1-inch pieces (see note)
  • 1 pound ham, in a chunk (not sliced), cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 medium onions, peeled and chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 1 1/2 medium green bell peppers, seeded and chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 2 small stalks celery, trimmed and chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 28-ounce can whole tomatoes, with juices
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground blac pepper
  • 1 teaspoon white peppe
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 7 cups fish or chiken stock, canned chick broth, or fish or chiken broth made form bouillon
  • 1 3/4 cups uncoooked white rice
  • 3 pounds catfish fillets, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • chopped green onions for garnish (optional)
  1. Heat a heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch over over medium-high heat and add sausage, cooking and turning until lightly browned. Add the ham and continue cooking for 10 to 15 minutes.
  2. Add the onions, bell peppers, celery, and garlic. Stir to mix, cooking for another 10 to 15 minutes. Add the tomatoes (with juices) and seasonings. Stir to mix and cook for 5 to 10 minutes, stirring and chopping the tomatoes with your spoon as you stir.
  3. Add the stock (or canned broth or bouillon) and simmer, with the pot mostly covered for one hour. Add the rice and cook, stirring occasionally, for 35 to 30 minutes. The rice should be tender and should have absorbed most of the cooking liquid. The jambalaya should be pretty think, not soupy. Cook a bit longer, if needed.
  4. Add the catfish, stir gently, and cook for about 10 more minutes, or until catfish is cooked through (slice a piece to check). Be careful when stirring the jambalaya so the catfish doesn’t break up too much. Taste for salt and spices and add more if necessary.
  5. Serve on rimmed dinner plates or in shallow soup bowls. Garnish with chopped greens if desired.
  6. *NOTE: Kielbasa is much less spicy than andouille sausage; if you like kielbasa you might to increase the amount of pepper (cayenne, black, and white).


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