Cooking with Emile

So I am a Hillbilly from Kentucky who LOVES Cajun food and have been cooking it for several years! In 2011 I finally made my way to the holy land New Orleans for the first time. I had ordered a 20 gallon Jambalaya pot and after watching the Bobby Flay/Emile Stieffel Jambalaya Throwdown, I sent Emile an email telling him I’d volunteer to work for him for a few hours in exchange for some advice on how to cook in one of those big, black, cast iron pots. He said, “Sure…Sounds like fun”, and so it was on!

We started off by preheating the pot, adding a little oil and then the smoked sausage. I was surprised to learn that Emile uses a regular smoked sausage instead of Andouille in his Jambalaya. Let the sausage brown. Note…always scrape the bottom of the pot and release that flavorful “graton”!)


 After the sausage had taken on a golden brown color and released some of the savory pork fat, in went the chicken thighs.  Thighs are used because they aren’t as dry as white meat and they hold up to cooking without shredding.  I had always cut my thighs up, Emile throws them in whole!


Here’s a pic when the thighs have started to take on some color.

                After this, it was in with some onion.  I was also shocked to find out that there was no celery or bell pepper in authentic Cajun Jambalaya.


We let it cook until the onion had softened, then added 3 peppers (black, white, and cayenne),  garlic, and thyme (please forgive any omissions or addition of ingredients in the wrong order, as I did have several Heineken’s that day!).

                Then the chicken stock was added.  The Heineken’s must have clouded my mind as I forgot to take a picture of this step.  Emile taught me three “Emile-isms”  when cooking;  1.  Measure, measure, measure!  Always know how much a certain amount is and what it looks like… then when you know this, you can begin to “eyeball” some of your measurements.  2.  If you want to know the easiest way to do something, ask a lazy man or ask Emile.  I learned several tricks from him that eliminated unnecessary steps I was taking.  3.  This step comes into play at this stage of making Jambalaya…Test the waters This is important to get the seasonings adjusted and getting the liquid flavored the way you want it.

                After the seasonings were right, add the rice, stir it to distribute, put the lid on, turn off the heat and don’t raise the lid for 30 minutes.  After 30 minutes it looked like this;


Then take your paddle or spoon and fluff the rice and ingredients together thoroughly…but just once and leave it alone.

This is what the final product looked like and by-the-way was delicious!

After learning from “The Man” I had to try it out back in Kentucky.  My recipe wasn’t  authentic, as I took the liberty of adding bell pepper, celery and tomatoes, but I turned out a solid Jambalaya I think Emile would be proud of!  These pics are of my cook;


And finally a pic of me and The Man!  Scott Lambert is the proud owner of MoJo Catering Company from Richmond, Kentucky!






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Chef Emile L. Stieffel, Aurora Catering, Inc. email address:
4016 Red Cypress Dr., Harvey, LA 70058 Phone (504) -329-1344
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