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Mardi Gras jambalaya recipe: Dominick's chef Brandon Boudet shows how to make iconic dish




Dominick's chef Brandon Boudet is a happy man when he's stirring Mardi Gras jambalaya
Dominick's chef Brandon Boudet is a happy man when he's stirring Mardi Gras jambalaya
John Rabe
Dominick's chef Brandon Boudet is a happy man when he's stirring Mardi Gras jambalaya
Dominick's owner Brandon Boudet says they're the "Holy Trinity" of New Orleans cooking: chopped bell pepper, onion, and celery. Amen.
John Rabe
Dominick's chef Brandon Boudet is a happy man when he's stirring Mardi Gras jambalaya
Early jambalaya. It's important to get the pork fat goodness rendered so it can get into the rice and the shrimp, which come later.
John Rabe
Dominick's chef Brandon Boudet is a happy man when he's stirring Mardi Gras jambalaya
Dominick's chef Brandon Boudet in the kitchen with cook Clemente Tecum (L) and sous chef (and Off-Ramp fan) Nico Sy
John Rabe
Dominick's chef Brandon Boudet is a happy man when he's stirring Mardi Gras jambalaya
Jambalaya. Delicious, simple, traditional Mardi Gras dish. Dominick's chef Brandon Boudet says you can make it on a tailgate, in the backyard, anywhere, and if you follow the basics, it'll always be delicious.
John Rabe


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Goodbye Joe me gotta go me oh my oh
Me gotta go pole the pirogue down the bayou
My Yvonne the sweetest one me oh my oh
Son of a gun we'll have big fun on the bayou
Jambalaya and a crawfish pie and fillet gumbo
Cause tonight I'm gonna see my ma cher amio
Pick guitar fill fruit jar and be gay-o
Son of a gun we'll have big fun on the bayou

-- "Jambalaya (On the Bayou)," Hank Williams

The calendar says it's still 12 days until Mardi Gras, but that's only for outsiders. Chef Brandon Boudet, owner of the venerable West Hollywood restaurant Dominick's, says growing up in New Orleans, Mardi Gras season started a couple weeks before, and his mom would take him out of school to go watch parades here and there.

Which is a long way of saying that you don't have to wait until Tuesday, Feb. 17, to make jambalaya, one of the traditional dishes of Mardi Gras. And it's easier and more convenient than you might think, as I learned at Dominick's a few days ago under Boudet's tutelage.

Fry up something tasty and fatty, like andouille sausage; add sofrito (chopped green pepper, celery, and onion, with parsley and garlic); a generous amount of Creole seasoning, like ...

... stir in long grained rice, then as much stock as rice; let the rice cook, covered; then when it's cooked, toss in the shrimp and let that sit for 10 minutes. Then: eat.

"Jambalaya is like one of those things: 'My mama makes the best jambalaya that way, my mama's jambalaya is better than your mama's jambalaya,'" says Boudet.

Which is to say, follow the basics just outlined, and you'll be good. The secret, Boudet says? "I think you definitely want some nice fatty pork product in there to really start that flavor early on." Can you get away with chorizo? "There's no wrong when it comes to making jambalaya." Just don't overcook the rice.

Boudet says jambalaya is the Creole culture's one-pot rice dish, like paella or arroz con pollo, perfect for making ahead of time, and serving to a big crowd as they watch the big game, or the parade, or just sit around talking about the last big game or parade.

Listeners: Obviously, Boudet makes it all wrong! Because your mama made it right. So please, share your jambalaya methods and recipes in the comments section below.

And as they say in New Orleans, happy Mardi Gras!