2 whole bay leaves
1 ½ tsp salt
1 ½ tsp cayenne pepper
1 ½ tsp dried oregano leaves
1 ¼ tsp white pepper
1 tsp black pepper
¾ tsp dried thyme leaves
2 ½ tblsp chicken fat or pork fat (I used olive oil or safflower oil instead)
2/3 cup chopped Tasso or other smoked ham
½ cup chopped andouille sausage (or other good smoked sausage)
1 ½ cups chopped onion
1 cup celery
¾ cup chopped green bell peppers (I have been known to add a jalapeno or other fun spicy pepper to kick it up as well – depends on who’s coming to dinner, wink!)
½ cup chicken, cut into bite size pieces
1 ½ tsp minced garlic (I add more because I love garlic and it really enhances the dish!)
4 medium size tomatoes, peeled and chopped (I use 1 14 oz can of the Hunt’s diced tomatoes with green peppers, onion and garlic or celery – whatever you can find)
¾ cup canned tomato sauce
2 cups Basic Seafood Stock (again, I use my leftover shrimp shells to make a broth and substitute chicken broth for any additional stock that is needed, always turns out divine)
2 cups uncooked long grain
1 ½ dozen (or more, J) medium shrimp
1 ½ dozen oysters in their liquor (I have never added these although I am sure they would be great in it)
Sidebar: When I am cooking for a crowd, I just adjust the recipe as I see fit. I might add more broth and more rice and a few more shrimp and seasonings to taste. This is a recipe that you can play with until your heart is content, it will never turn out bad!!!
Combine the seasoning mix ingredients in a small bowl, set aside.
In a 4 quart saucepan, melt the fat (or oil) over medium heat. Add the Tasso and andouille sausage and sauté until crisp, about 5-8 minutes, stirring frequently.
Add the Trinity – the onions, celery and peppers; sauté until tender but firm, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally and scraping bottom of pan as well.
Add the chicken. Raise heat to high and cook 1 minute stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium.
Add the seasoning mix and minced garlic, cook about 3 minutes, stirring constantly and scraping bottom of pan as needed.
Add the tomatoes and cook until chicken is tender, about 5-8 minutes.
Add the tomato sauce; cook about 7 minutes stirring often.
Stir in the stock and bring to a boil.
Add the rice, shrimp and oysters, stir well.
At this point the recipe calls for you to transfer it to an oven safe pan and bake for 30 minutes however, I have always just put the lid on the pan, reduced the heat, set the timer for 20 minutes (without lifting the lid at all) and let it cook. After 20 minutes, lift the lid, stir and determine if more cooking time is needed. If so, return the lid until done. If it is ready, plate it and dig in!!