I’m a sucker for a vintage cookbook, and apparently so is Brian Theis, recipe developer, Instagram maven, and author of The Infinite Feast: How to Host the Ones You Love. This new cookbook has a spectacularly retro vibe, with midcentury-style illustrations and graphic design, and food photography that evokes the finest images in the Good Housekeeping oeuvre. The concept itself is rather retro, offering menus for fun, quasi-kitschy theme parties throughout the year. And, as you’d expect from a lifelong student of Creole food who calls New Orleans home, Theis’ recipes for a Mardi Gras jamboree are dynamite.
Though Theis has verifiable Big Easy bona fides, his jambalaya recipe swaps out traditional andouille sausage for... hot dogs. At first glance I thought this could be viewed as sacrilege, but I spoke with some Cajun cooks who confirmed that it’s not entirely out of the ordinary; hot dogs are a good, cheap alternative to pricier sausage, which is an important thing to consider when you’re cooking for a large family or church gathering. Regardless of its pedigree or “authenticity,” hot dog jambalaya is a little bit silly, a lotta bit delicious, and 100% a good time. Isn’t that what Mardi Gras is all about?
Ignatious’s Hot Dog Jambalaya
Reprinted with permission from The Infinite Feast: How to Host the Ones You Love by Brian Theis (Pelican Publishing 2021)
Makes 10 servings
- 3 Tbsp. butter
- 10 all-beef hot dogs (about 16 ounces), cut in 1/2-inch slices
- 1 large onion, diced
- 2 ribs celery, diced
- 1 medium green bell pepper, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
- 1 can (16 ounces) petit diced tomatoes
- 1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 2 Tbsp. minced parsley
- 1 pound medium to large shrimp, peeled, deveined
- 2 cups cooked wild rice blend
- 1 Tbsp. ground smoked paprika
- 1 Tbsp. salt
- 1 tsp. sugar
- 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
In Dutch oven or large pot, melt butter over medium heat. Cook hot dogs, browning both sides, about 10 minutes. Set dogs aside on paper towel-lined plate.
Add onion, celery, bell pepper, garlic, thyme to pot, reduce heat to medium, cook til softened, about five minutes.
Add tomatoes, tomato paste, broth, parsley. Cook 3 minutes, stirring frequently.
Add hot dogs, cook 2 minutes. Add shrimp, stir til pink, 3 minutes. Mix in rice, paprika, salt, sugar, black pepper, cayenne, stir thoroughly. Cook 5 minutes uncovered til rice is heated through, stirring frequently. Serve hot!