The 2011 Robin Family Annual Jambalaya

Well, I've taken my sweet time to post about the Family Jambalaya that took place last month. My daughter, Sookie and her guy, David came down from Kentucky for the occasion, and we all had a wonderful time. It was her first family Jambalaya, and it was so nice to have her around to hug whenever I felt like it :-) David pitched in and helped Cappy prep the meat, while Sookie and I, (and then Cappy and David) chopped the veggies that go into the pot. Cappy had me make a pot of white beans to go with the jambalaya, as tradition holds, and I also made my Mom's bbq sauce for the Cajun sausage 'chunks' to swim around in, til they are fished out with toothpicks. I have to say thank you to Sookie and David and our buddy Smokin' Sam, or else Saturday I wouldn't have had anything that I could have to eat. Even with all the luscious foods around, I didn't dare eat anything because of this danged celiac business...grrrrr. So, thanks, guys!
   Okay.... I put together three slideshow/videos and stuck them over on youtube, where they've been sitting for three weeks on "cappyandpegody's channel" with about 40 some of our other videos, but I'll try putting the three of these jambalaya videos directly here from the computer onto this blog post.  HMMMmmmm....well, I see that I'm still not used to this new format on here, so the videos are all out of order. The first video you should see is now sitting on the bottom...last. The last video, number 3...the Pool Party is sitting here at the top. The middle video, is the middle. It's up to you as to how you want to view them. (pant pant pant)
   We got to see a lot of Cappy's family again this year, although there were quite a few missing in action. And they were indeed missed. Ah well, maybe next year. We really did enjoy getting to "hug their necks", as Cappy says, of the ones who were there. I visited with Cousin Cindy's son, Alex, talking about football...New Orleans Saints, of course, and (wow!) right away, I realized I was in way over my head talking to that guy...he could be a sports commentator. He rapidly quotes stats and drafts and...and....and...whoa, I felt like a real dummy, but learned a lot, too! We love dat guy!  I got to hold Kolbe, Alex and Lindsey's beautiful baby for about 45 minutes or so, and hadn't realized how much out of practice I'd gotten. I was thrilled when Mary brought him in from the heat outside and handed him to me, but I soon realized his nuck-nuck wasn't satisfying him, no matter what I tried. I breathed in the sweet new baby smell, relishing what a dear little baby boy he is, while bouncing him and rocking him; I just wanted his Mommy and Dad to be able to have a little fun outside visiting family and cooling off in the pool. Wouldn't you know it...just about the time Cappy had the jambalaya all cooked and being plated, poor Kolbe decided he'd had enough of this out of practice grandma and started loudly demanding his mother. She had just gotten the food on her plate and didn't even get a chance to take one bite. Ahhh, yessss...I remember that scenario all too well myself, having had five little ones of my own.  I sure miss cuddling babies, and enjoyed holding precious little Kolbe. You can see from the pictures what an adorable little guy he is. When they named him, they hadn't realized that a great grandfather had that same name, but the spelling was different; Colby. There are only two people in the United States with the name spelled Kolbe like our little Sweetie. 
 I had to laugh about Uncle LeRoy, who had on this particular straw hat, with the price tags still dangling from the back of it. He said he was not trying to imitate Minnie Pearl, but rather was leaving it on, so's to be able to take it back to the store the next day. It was a great running gag all weekend. I thought that it must be pretty darned expensive for him to have to wear it, then return it...but still couldn't fathom that being the story...not for real. Finally, late in the day, I sneaked a peek at the price on that fluttering tag,  thinking it would be some HUGE $....then about fell over laughing my butt off when I saw it was only $10!!!! I LOVE that guy! Cappy's uncles remind me of my uncles; they are too much fun.
   Uncle Maurice and Aunt Margaret's home, as you can see is very lovely, and we all appreciated their warm hospitality. A lot of work goes on behind the scenes that everyone is not aware of, to host such a big 'to do' like this. Cappy and I are very grateful for all their hard work.
When I made the videos...and any time I make slideshows and/or videos, I like matching the words of the songs to the pictures, if at all possible and love making 'sight gags'. I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoy making them for yall.


Cappy's Black Iron Pot Jambalaya

Folks are always asking for my recipe for my big pot of Cajun-style jambalaya. So, here is a recipe and a few pictures and instructions.  Hope this helps.

30 lbs of cubed Boston butt pork roast
1-1/2 cup Cajun seasoning
1/2 cup hot sauce (to taste)
3 Tablespoons Worstershire
1  12oz. beer
15 lbs of Cajun smoked sausage, sliced
15 lbs of yellow onions, coarsely chopped
6 large bell peppers, chopped
6 bunches of green onion greens, chopped
1 1/2 cups chopped parsley
6 lbs of small button fresh mushrooms (optional, but highly recommended)
15 lbs. of Mahatma long grain rice

                                         Preperation Instructions
Get your Boston butt pork roast thawed out.  Peggy and I are always looking for a sale, and our "foodie" friends swap information about sales for this versatile cut of meat.  Our friend, "Smokin' Sam" called me on the boat and told me about a big sale just in time for our family reunion. 
We cube the pork into slightly larger than bite size pieces.  (It shrinks some in the cooking.)
We then mix in the Cajun seasoning, Worstershire, hot sause and beer.  Mix thoroughly by hand, and store away to marinate.  We put it in a big zip-lock bag and parked in in an ice chest overnight. 
These are the "Griods".  Then we chop the onions coarsly.  I cut onions in half then chop 3 or 4 cuts vertically and horizontally across the onion halves.  Slice our sausage into 1/4 inch slices.  We do it with a knife, but a meat-slicer makes quick work of this part.  We chop and prepare the bell peppers, green onions and parsley, bagging them seperately in zip lock bags and parking them in ice chests.  Then we wash our mushrooms, saving the smaller ones whole, and cut the bigger ones in half.  The idea is that, the folks who love mushrooms can easily see them in the pot, while people who dislike them, can avoid them while serving themselves and can conveniently discard them if the find any on their plate.  This is a great way to make everyone happy.

When we plan on serving around midday, we do all the prep work the night before.  The Griods go in one ice chest, the onions and sausage in another, and the greens and "mushies" (mushrooms) in yet another.  The whole project is organized in stages, making the whole process easier and well coordinated.  If ya cooking for an evening meal, this can all be done by starting in the morning.  The prep work, or sous "cheffing" is always a family event and lots of people like to help.  It can be an event in itself, and we often have a chopping "party".

In a 20 gallon well-greased old black iron pot, dump in your marinated griods.

Enlist the help of an ol' uncle or two, and have them help you cook the griods down until well browned. If it starts to dry out or stick, you may need to deglaze the pot on occasion with water, stock, or the beer ya got in  your hand,  to keep them from burning, but the pork usually releases enough juices to do the job.

Once the griods have browned over medium heat, remove them from the pot.

Dump in the sausage and onions from the second ice chest into the pot.  Stir this over medium heat until the onions are browned and begin to break up.

Once the onions and sausage have "browned down", put the pork chunks,  all the veggies and a gallon of water back into the pot.  Once this has come back to a hard simmer, cover the pot, then cook for a half hour, stirring occasionally.  We skim any grease off the top during this stage, greatly reducing the "heart burn factor".  In this picture, you can see some grease collecting towards the top of the mixture.  During the 30 -45 minutes that we simmered this, we removed a half gallon of rich, seasoned pork fat from the top of the gravy.  Me and my family stood around thinking about how in the old days those drippings would have wound up in a lard bucket on grandma's ole stove and used in all sort of wonderful dishes.  It was with many a heavy (high cholesterol'd) hearts that we poured this golden elixer in the trash.
The next step is to add 2 gallons of water and bring the pot to a boil.  Once boiling, ya pour in the 15 lbs of rice and cook, stirring often for 5 minutes. (Make sure ya "stay with it"!)
After the rice has boiled for 5 minutes, ya firmly apply the pot lid, turn the fire off and post a guard to make sure no one opens the lid until ya return. (Very important!) Feel free to go take a break for 45 minutes and have a few beers. Inform the guards that anyone that tried lifting the lid on the jambalaya pot runs the risk of assault with the big stainless steel stirring paddle.  Once the rice mixture has steamed on its own inside the pot for 45 minutes, remove the lid then dig the paddle deep into the jambalaya, bringing the contents up from the bottom and gently stir in the gravy on top til the whole mixture is consistant.  Wait another 5 or 10 minutes til every one has gotten a good whiff and began salivating, then turn them loose on the pot.

We took the lid off at 2 p.m. and by 5 p.m. the pot was empty.  Feel free to give it a try and I'm wishing ya the best of luck.  Please post us a comment and let us know what ya think, and how yours came out.  We will gladly answer any questions and help anyway we can.