Southern Strength

Jambalaya according to Lula’s Louisiana Cookhouse’s John Beilfuss.



Published:

Photographs by Joe Vaughn

John Beilfuss is the executive chef/proprietor of Lula’s Louisiana Cookhouse in Owosso, where bread, ham, bacon, sausage, dressings, and sauces are all made from scratch. His childhood home in Pontiac “was filled with music, laughter, and awesome, flavorful foods,” he says. “My parents were foodies before foodie was a word.” Southern cooking was his mother’s particular strength. He first made jambalaya in 1996 for his daughter’s baptism. “It was the beginning of my work on New Orleans cuisine,” he says. “Some version of it was found on our family table for the next two decades. My daughter, now a student at MSU, comes home once a week for it to this day.”  — Molly Abraham

 

Shrimp and Smoked Sausage Jambalaya (Serves 6-8)

Ingredients

2 tablespoons bacon grease (or substitute oil)
1 pound smoked sausage, sliced
1 cup diced onion
1 red or green pepper, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 cup celery, sliced
Pinch of salt, plus 1 teaspoon 
1 tablespoon flour
4 cups water or stock
½ teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon thyme (dried)
1 bay leaf, crumbled
¼ teaspoon cayenne
1 cup drained diced tomato
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
½ pound frozen okra
1 cup uncooked long-grain white rice
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
Chopped green onions or parsley

 

Directions

Heat grease or oil in Dutch oven. Add smoked sausage. Brown well on both sides. Remove from pot and set aside. Add onions, peppers, garlic, and celery, adding more oil if needed. Sauté until soft with a pinch of salt for about 5 minutes. Add flour and stir another minute. Add next 8 ingredients. Bring to boil, turn down to medium-low heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add okra, browned sausage, and rice. Return to boil. Stir, and simmer over medium-low heat for 15 minutes. Stir in shrimp and simmer over low heat until rice is tender, about 15 more minutes. Serve topped with green onions or parsley.

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