Text: Jason  Derouen, The Cajun Ninja

As we get through our last days of summer just before the kids go back to school, we find ourselves trying to put together those final gatherings with friends and family. The most challenging part isn’t getting everyone together but, rather, what we will eat.

Often, your guests will bring something—a salad, fruit tray, or some chips. Now, if you are the one committed to hosting the party, you want your guests to leave feeling satisfied. In Cajun Country, there’s an item you’ll be sure to find at almost every Cajun restaurant: that would be rice and beans. It is very common to find a plate of red beans and rice on a Monday just about anywhere plate lunches are being served.

However, white beans is probably red beans’ second cousin. Although most people will tell you they prefer red beans and rice to white beans and rice, just about all of us will agree that white beans are the preferred choice on the side of some jambalaya. So, if you got some friends coming over, some jambalaya and a pot of white beans will be sure to satisfy even the largest of appetites.

When it comes to jambalaya, it will fall in the same category as gumbo. Now, hold that thought, because what I mean is that everyone has an opinion on how it’s done. There are probably more than 100 different ways people do it, and everyone believes theirs is the “right way.” I’m here to tell you right now: I don’t believe mine is the right way, nor do I believe it is the wrong way. It’s just the way that works for me. When I make a jambalaya, I load it up with meat.

You will find chunks of pork, chicken, and sausage. I like to brown down the meats first. I start with a little bit of oil and the pork. Cooking the pork down for about 20 minutes before any other meats will allow the pork to be nice and tender in the end. I later add some chicken and sausage to form some browning at the bottom of the pot. I then remove the meat and brown down all my chopped vegetables. I do this for a long time, almost an hour, until the vegetables become very soft and dark. By doing this, you bring out the natural flavors of the vegetables, and this will also bring about some great color to the jambalaya.

A controversial thing I like to do is add a little bit of browning and seasoning sauce to my jambalaya. Many people will argue to their grave that you should never do this. Nonetheless, my point will always be You Deux You. Once I have all ingredients and water in the pot, I raise my fire to a high heat so the pot can reach a boil. I then cover it up and move the entire pot to the oven at 300°. It is a slow-cooked jambalaya that allows all the flavors to really come together. The end result will surely have your guests asking you for the recipe.

crowd-pleasing farePut this comfort-food favorite in your family’s supper rotation.

3.0 from 1 reviews
White Beans & Ham
Makes 8 Servings
  • 1 pound dried white navy beans
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 pound smoked ham, diced
  • ½ pound smoked tasso, chopped
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 7 cups water, divided
  • 1 (32-ounce) container chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoonPi-YAHHHHH!! Seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • Hot cooked rice, to serve
  • Garnish: chopped fresh parsley
  1. In a large Dutch oven, combine beans and water to cover by 2 inches. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; boil for 1 minute. Cover, remove from heat, and let stand for 1 hour. Drain.
  2. In a large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add ham and tasso, and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from skillet.
  3. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons butter to the skillet; stir in onion, bell pepper, and celery. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 25 minutes. Add garlic, and cook for 5 minutes. Add 3 tablespoons of water to skillet, scraping browned bits on bottom of pan with a wooden spoon. Add the ham and tasso back to skillet; stir in 1¾ cups plus 1 tablespoon water.
  4. In a large Dutch oven, add the beans, chicken broth, and remaining 5 cups water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until beans are almost tender, about 1 hour.
  5. Add the vegetable mixture, Pi-YAHHHHH!! Seasoning, dried parsley, salt, and bay leaves to the beans. Stir well. Bring to a boil over high heat; reduce heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until beans are tender, 3 to 4 hours. After 3 hours, check the texture of the beans. If they still seem hard, keep simmering. When the texture is to your liking, you can thicken the consistency by gently mashing beans on the side of the pot and stirring. Do this until you get the desired consistency. Simmering some more uncovered will also thicken them. Discard bay leaves. Serve with rice. Garnish with fresh parsley, if desired, and enjoy!


`crowd-pleasing fareThis protein-packed dish is a must-try.

3.0 from 1 reviews
Meaty Jambalaya
Makes 8 Servings
  • 1 pound pork roast, cubed
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs, cubed
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 pound smoked sausage, sliced
  • 2 yellow onions, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • Cold water, as needed
  • 3 beef bouillon cubes
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • ½ tablespoon Pi-YAHHHHH!! Seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3½ cups water
  • 2 cups long-grain rice
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce
  • 1 tablespoon browning and seasoning sauce
  1. Preheat oven to 300°.
  2. Season both sides of pork and chicken with kosher salt and black pepper.
  3. In a large Dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat; add the pork, and sear, stirring frequently, for 20 minutes. Add chicken, and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Transfer the chicken and pork to a large bowl.
  4. Add sausage to the pot, and cook until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Remove sausage from the pot, reserving the drippings.
  5. Add yellow onion, bell pepper, green onion, and celery to the pot, and sauté for about 50 minutes, stirring occasionally. If you see too much browning forming on the bottom of the pot, stir in a small amount of cold water, scraping browned bits on bottom of pan with a wooden spoon.
  6. Add the beef bouillon cubes, garlic, Pi-YAHHHHH!! Seasoning, and salt to the vegetable mixture. Sauté for another 10 minutes, stirring ocasionally. Add the pork, chicken, and sausage. Add 3½ cups water, rice, hot sauce, and browning and seasoning sauce, and stir until combined. Bring to a boil over medium heat; cover.
  7. Bake for 1 hour; let stand 5 minutes. Do not uncover until time is up! Mix everything well before serving.




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