Hot Hot Hot

By / Food / November 8th, 2013 / 1

Don’t you love this time of year? We buy our très chic resort wear at an upscale department store, pack our Louis Vuitton suitcase and book a flight to a land where the sun always shines. Leaving behind our pesky neighbour whose galoshes are knee-deep in snow as he grumpily shovels the driveway, we wave merrily from the cab, trilling “Too-da-loo! I shall bring you a shell!” Our neighbour lobs a shovelful of snow at our face, but nothing can daunt us.

Nice dream, eh? In reality, I am the pesky neighbour in galoshes grumpily shovelling the driveway. I don’t know about your neighbourhood, but where I live nobody seems to have gone anywhere, not even to work because the snow is up to our waists. Like Willy Wonka’s Oompa Loompas, we are lined up at the bottom of our driveways, throwing snow in unison.

When Old Man Winter rages at the door, the only sane thing to do is turn on the stove. This recipe is designed to bring a little bit of sunny paradise to your dining table. May you forever shine on!

Mardi gras ham, shrimp and andouille sausage jambalaya

Rating: 51

Serves: 4

Known for its slow, easy-going way of life, New Orleans kicks it up a notch during Carnival, a festival that begins on Twelfth Night (the Feast of the Epiphany) and comes to a raucous conclusion on Fat Tuesday, better known as Mardi Gras. As Lent begins, the largely Catholic community settles back into the simple life or “The Big Easy.” Even Hurricane Katrina couldn’t dampen the heart and soul of the Crescent City, where folks live by the creed “Laissez les bons temps rouler”… Let the good times roll! Andouille Sausage is a smoky, peppery sausage. If you can’t find it, use smoked kielbasa. Stirring the rice in the skillet for about a minute before adding the liquid will help it retain its texture. There are as many versions of Jambalaya as there are cooks in Louisiana, so feel free to change this recipe each time you make it by adding chicken, oysters, catfish, pork ribs, ground beef or shrimp. I’ve gone easy on the cayenne here. Add more to your taste or pass the Tabasco at the table.


    Jambalaya seasoning mix
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp dried parsley
  • 1/4 tsp dried basil
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • Jambalaya
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small ham steak, trimmed and diced
  • 400 g smoked andouille or any smoked sausage
  • 1 1/2 cups long grain white rice
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (14.5 oz)
  • 1 can tomato paste (8 oz)
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 3 cups water
  • 1/2 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • Fresh parsley for garnish, minced


  1. Make seasoning mix: In a small bowl, mix salt, pepper, cayenne, chili powder, parsley, basil and cloves. Set aside.
  2. To make the Jambalaya: In a large skillet, in hot oil, sauté onion, green pepper, and shallots until softened. Add garlic and seasoning mix. Sauté for 1 minute.
  3. Add andouille sausage and ham. Sauté 2 minutes.
  4. Add rice. Sauté 1 minute.
  5. Add tomatoes and tomato paste, bay leaves and water. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer 40 minutes.
  6. Add shrimp, cover and cook 5 to 7 minutes longer or until shrimp are pink. Remove bay leaves. Divide Jambalaya among 4 plates. Garnish with minced parsley.

Drink Suggestion:

For this one, I asked the supermarket wine steward what he would serve: California Zinfandel. And he was right!



Quench Food Editor, Nancy Johnson, minced, sliced, chopped, sautéed and sipped her way through George Brown College’s culinary program with a focus on food writing and wine. Nancy cooks by the code her Italian grandmother taught her: For the best results, always use the freshest, best ingredients. She writes for Ohio-based Wine Buzz Magazine and recently published a short story in Woman’s World Magazine. She is always on a diet.

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