So that's exactly what I did.
Now I'm not usually big on party themes, but having New Orleans playing in this year's game (and winning!) made for a nice chance to try making something I'd never tried before but have always wanted to - jambalaya. I love me a good, spicy jambalaya, and here was my attempt at it. I doubled the recipe amounts since I was cooking for so many people. For a more reasonably-sized portion, just cut everything in half.
New Orleans Shrimp & Chicken Jambalaya
Adapted from this post at http://neworleanscuisine.blogspot.com/
1/2 tsp Cayenne Pepper
1 1/2 tsp White Pepper
2 tsp Kosher Salt
1/2 tsp Fresh Thyme
1 tsp Rubbed Sage
1/2 tsp Dried Basil
1 tsp Black Pepper
2 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
1 Cup Diced Andouille
1 Cup Diced Onion
1 Cup Diced Bell Pepper (I used a mix of green, red, and yellow peppers)
1 Cup Diced Celery
1 Cup Diced Fresh Tomatoes
1 Cup Tomato Sauce
1 1/2 Cup Enriched Long Grain Rice
3 Cup Chicken stock with a shrimp shell infusion (see below)
2 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
4 Tbsp Minced Fresh Garlic
1 Cup Diced Chicken
1 1/2 lb Raw shrimp, with shells
2 Tbsp Finely Chopped Italian Parsley
6 Tbsp Finely Sliced Green Onions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. De-shell the shrimp and set the shells aside. For the stock infusion, heat the chicken stock over a low heat with approximately 1 1/2 cups of shrimp shells. This helps mix the flavors of chicken and shrimp.
Mix together the onion, celery, and bell pepper. In a large, heavy-bottomed pot (or really a cast iron Dutch oven, which I don't have), melt the butter over medium heat, add the andouille and cook until it just starts to brown.
Add 1/2 of the onion, celery, and pepper mixture, cook until the vegetables are tender.
Add the diced Tomatoes and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomato sauce and cook for another minute. Add the Rice and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the stock, the remaining onions, celery, and peppers, seasoning mix, Worcestershire, and the garlic.
Taste the broth for seasoning, particularly salt. Test the rice as well, you may need to add more water. Add the chicken, stir well and put the pot in the preheated oven. Bake uncovered for 25 minutes. After the twenty-five minutes, stir in the raw shrimp, parsley, and green onions. Place back in the oven for an additional 10 minutes, or until the shrimp are cooked through.
Once it's done, test again to make sure the rice is fully cooked. When I made this, the rice needed some more water, which I stirred in and cooked over medium heat on the range. I also added some crushed red pepper flakes and a bit of kosher salt at the end.
So the jambalaya came out great and was a big hit. It wasn't anywhere near the only thing I made, however. I neglected to take a picture of the entire spread, but let's explore some of the other goodies, shall we?
It wouldn't be an NFL party at my place without bacon-wrapped scallops, so of course I had a decently-sized batch of those. Some of them had no bacon because I got way more scallops than bacon, a serious oversight on my part.
My friend Kate also brought a wonderful batch of Cajun mac & cheese as well as some cornbread.
I got a big 10lb bag of frozen wings and ended up making 7-8lbs worth. To make these, I brushed each wing with olive oil before baking in the oven at 425 for an hour. Once out of the oven, a small batch were sprinkled with black and white pepper and garlic powder, while the rest were dunked in a mixture of 1 part melted butter and 1 part Frank's Red Hot, my favorite cayenne pepper sauce. Tough to have a good football party without wings, no? I also had an antipasto platter and a cheese platter along with tortilla and potato chips, but forgot to photograph those.
For dessert, in honor of the game being played in Miami, I made a key lime cheesecake. I hope everyone else had a fun and safe Super Bowl Sunday!