If there were a buzzfeed quiz about “Which 1980s movie are you?” (and there probably is), I think that the results would land me directly in Steel Magnolias territory. Sure, it’s become almost cliche in its zippy one-liners and gut-wrenching emotional scenes, but I love it for what it is. And so, as I was making Amelia’s Jambalaya from Foolproof, I couldn’t stop myself from half-humming, half-singing the song from Shelby and Jackson’s wedding reception scene:
Of course, the version of jambalaya that I ended up making would probably have any real Cajun grandma feeding it to the gators, but I’m ok with that. Like Steel Magnolias, I love it for what it is.
First of all, I omitted shrimp, because this recipe makes a huge vat of food, so I knew we’d be eating leftovers, and leftover shrimp is just not going to happen in my world if I can help it. There are so many different versions of even this jambalaya recipe floating around (the cookbook version, and a different online version) that I took it as kind of a free-for-all anyway, at least in terms of the meat and fish varieties you wanted to include. Think of it as an Americanized paella of sorts.
Second, I substituted the jalapeño peppers for some crushed red pepper. I realize that this admission has the potential to get us all kicked out of Texas, but everybody seems so friendly that I’ll hedge my bets and we can stay here for a while. And besides, this is the beauty of cooking at home, right? Making something the way that you and your family like it seems to be one of the biggest advantages of going through all of the trouble of preparing a meal at home.
Speaking of trouble, this recipe looks like trouble at first glance. An entire page is dedicated to ingredients, and there’s a lot of “brown this, then set it aside, then saute this, then….” I was intimidated at first, thinking for sure that I would forget a step or get an ingredient out of order, but once I got it started, it wasn’t too complicated at all. The first step involves browning the sausage, and that will make your kitchen smell amazing and put you in a good mood for the rest of the recipe. Give yourself an hour to finish it all – this is definitely more weekend cooking than weeknight cooking, but so worth it.