Hot Dog Jambalaya is a carnival of Mardi Gras flavor

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Illustration: HOLDER IMAGE

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.

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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.

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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!

DISCUSSION

By
Dr Emilio Lizardo

Sure, fine, do what you like.  But it’s not like andouille is terribly hard to find these days.