Get Ragin' Cajun with this Tasty Take on Wild Turkey Jambalaya - Me Oh My Oh
Updated: May 18
Many who haven’t ventured into Cajun country or restaurants featuring that uniquely-styled, spicy fare likely have their entire knowledge of jambalaya informed by the hit song by the late Hank Williams Sr, who reportedly adapted an old Cajun melody with some new words.
To Hank’s credit, jambalaya does match well with sharing a bowl of gumbo, crawfish pie, and good times with a “cher amio” (girlfriend, boyfriend, spouse, etc.).
Jambalaya can be cooked in small batches indoors or in big pots over an outdoor flame. It is one of those “one pot” meals and is said to have been derived from paella, reflecting the Spanish influence in southern Louisiana.
Cooking should be fun, adaptable to individual tastes and it is fun to experiment with jambalaya. The shrimp in this recipe can be omitted; chicken, pork, or even oysters can be added or substituted. Beef stock can be swapped for chicken broth. More or less vegetables or garlic can be used and the cayenne pepper can be revved up for a hotter dish. The rice needs some fat to coat it during the cooking process, so at least one of the meats should yield a little fat to help out the butter.
Other than the “work” invested in getting and cleaning your wild turkey, jambalaya is also a relatively inexpensive dish to prepare and seems to taste especially good when you’re having an outdoor affair in spring or fall.
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
2 cups chopped onion
¼ cup chopped green pepper
¼ cup chopped scallions
1 tablespoon garlic
2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
½ pound smoked sausage
½ cup chopped ham
2 cups wild turkey breast, cut into bite size pieces
¼ teaspoon black pepper
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon chili powder
1 bay leaf, crushed
¼ teaspoon thyme
1/8 teaspoon cloves
1 ½ cups rice
3 cups chicken broth
½ pound peeled shrimp
Melt butter in a large pot over medium low heat. Add the onion, green pepper, scallions, garlic, and parsley,
and smoked sausage. Cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add ham, turkey, and seasonings. Cook another 5 minutes. Add the rice and broth. Raise heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 40 minutes or until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed, stirring occasionally – do not stir so much or overcook that the rice get mushy. If all liquid is absorbed before rice is tender, add more broth. If rice becomes tender and the mixture still has liquids, remove cover and continue cooking for about 5 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Mix shrimp into the jambalaya and cook until pink. Serves 4 with ample helpings.
Jambalaya pares well with a tossed salad, some crusty French bread and a wine such as a pinot gris, Riesling, a light fruity red, or even a dry champagne. But, you’ll never go wrong with beer and jambalaya. Some vegetable side dishes that go well are steamed asparagus (add a hollandaise sauce adorned with a few crawfish tails or shrimp pieces to go gourmet) or a green bean dish such as a casserole.