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Mardi Gras - John Harvard's Style

EVL Snowed-In's Menu Pick of the Month
In honor of Ellicottville’s Mardi Gras celebration, we’re bringing a taste of New Orleans to the table.  Here at John Harvard’s, nothing says Mardi Gras more than a piping hot bowl of jambalaya.  Originating in southern Louisiana in the late 1800’s by the Cajuns around the bayou where food was scarce, jambalaya has transformed into many different versions through the years.  The word is said to be a compound word of Jambon (from the French meaning ham) and Aya (the African word for rice), as there were many slaves in the south at that time.  Common belief, however, is that it originated from the Spanish Paella, which is better known in the U.S. as Spanish rice. Jambalaya typically incorporates seafood, ham, link sausage rounds and chicken, although it doesn't have to have all those ingredients.
 
JOHN HARVARD’S JAMBALAYA
Serves 4-6 people
 
INGREDIENTS:
3 lbs. chicken breast (diced into cubes)
1 lb. Andouille sausage (circle slices)
1 lb. shrimp (remove tails)
3 lbs. cooked white rice
2 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
1 cup white wine
1 bunch fresh parsley (finely chopped)
3 cups chicken stock
 
JAMBALAYA SAUCE:
2 white onions
3 green peppers
3 red peppers
1 stalk celery
1 cup white wine
46 ounces V8 tomato juice
53 ounces tomato puree
¼ cup vegetable oil
3 tbsp Cajun seasoning
(all vegetables finely chopped)
 
FOR THE SAUCE:
On low heat, cook vegetables in oil for 3-5 minutes.  Turn up to medium heat, add Cajun seasoning and stir.  Keep at heat for 3 minutes.  Add white wine, V8 juice and tomato puree.  Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Set aside.
 
Cook rice.
 
FOR THE DISH:
Season the meats with Cajun seasoning.  Cook in a large pot at medium heat until golden brown.  Add garlic, cook for 2-3 minutes.  Add white wine, chicken stock and jambalaya sauce, and let cook for 5 minutes.  Add rice, stir and let the sauce cook for 2-3 minutes.  Finish with parsley and serve 
 
LET’S PAIR IT
 
Jambalaya is a great dish to help take the chill out of a cold winter afternoon.  As we approach springtime, many of you may be wondering when this arctic blast will give way to warm, sunny days.  So to pair this dish, we reached for a pint of Southern Tier Brewery’s “Where The Helles Summer?” Interesting name, yes?  Where The Helles Summer is a light classic German style lager.  “Helles” is German for “bright” which in the brewing world translates to light in color and light in alcohol.  It is a clean and bready (beer drinker’s beer) balanced with austere noble hop varieties.
 
Now go forth, cook your festive dish, enjoy your refreshing brew, and you will be one happy human! Cheers to warmer temps which undoubtedly lie ahead.