Tennessee Valley Jambalaya
This recipe, contributed by Joseph Lodge's great-grandson, John Richard "Dick" Lodge, Jr., was created for a monthly dinner party.
When their friend, Phil Bredesen, was elected governor of Tennessee in the fall of 2002, four appointees to his Cabinet, including Dick's wife, Gina, became good friends.
"Those four Cabinet members thought it would be fun to get together with spouses for an informal supper once a month," said Dick Lodge. "When our time came to cook, I suggested jambalaya. That suggestion was well received—except that one of our friends is allergic to shrimp. So, I tinkered with a cookbook recipe, substituting country ham for shrimp. Thus was born Tennessee Valley Jambalaya. Our group of eight friends still meets for supper."
Each bite is a fun fusion of Louisiana style and Southern hospitality. Spice it up with hot Italian sausage or tone it down with one that's sweet. Remember, when you're fine-tuning your seasonings, that country ham is inherently salty. Make sure your taster spoonful includes a bit of everything and season accordingly from there.
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time1 hour, 30 minutes
Cook it With Our
- 1 rotisserie chicken, pulled
- 1 pound sweet or hot Italian sausage links
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, separated
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 1 large red bell pepper, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 12 ounces country ham, cut into ½-inch pieces
- 1, 15-ounce can whole tomatoes
- 1 cup long-grain rice, uncooked
- 1½ cups chicken broth
- ½ teaspoon fresh thyme
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly cracked pepper
- 1½ tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
- parsley for garnish
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Place a dutch oven over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and the sausage links to the dutch oven.* Top with lid and cook for 3-5 minutes per side until cooked through.
- Remove sausages from dutch oven and set on a plate to cool. Slice into 1/8-inch rounds.
- Add remaining olive oil, onion, bell pepper, and garlic to dutch oven until just tender, 7-10 minutes.
- Stir in chicken, sausage, and ham. Add tomatoes, rice, chicken broth, thyme, chili powder, salt, and pepper. Crush tomatoes with a wooden spoon and stir to combine. Bring to a boil and cover with lid. Remove from stovetop and place in the oven for 1 hour.
- Check the rice to see that it is cooked through. If still crunchy, bake 10-15 minutes longer.
- Stir in chopped parsley and serve with hot sauce, country-style bread, and green salad.
*Kitchen Note: Substitute andouille for Italian sausage for a more traditional take on jambalaya.