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Louisiana Jambalaya The Iowa Way

Wild game jambalaya recipe from the Iowa DNR. Kick your wild game recipes up a notch!After years of painstaking research—and many trials and errors—to come up with the best jambalaya recipe, we at the Iowa Outdoors test kitchen think we have a winner.

This traditional New Orleans rice dish—a spinoff of Spanish paella— is a version of Chuck’s Jambalaya with an Iowa twist— featuring catfish, wild turkey and venison. If you are short on catfish or wild turkey, substitute any firm, white fish, pheasant or chicken. Any spicy sausage, like Andouille, will do. This recipe may be a little more detailed than others, but trust us, it’s worth it.

Iowa jambalaya
1 pound wild turkey, cubed
1 pound uncooked catfish, chunked
1 pound spicy deer sausage (optional)
4 or 5 celery stalks, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
10 ounces frozen, chopped okra
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
3 6-ounce cans tomato paste
8 cups smoked turkey or regular chicken broth
chopped garlic to taste3 tablespoons Creole seasoning
salt and pepper to taste
4 cups uncooked long grain white rice  

If the turkey is uncooked, brown over medium heat, sprinkled to taste with creole seasoning. (If using leftover bird, simply season). Brown the sausage. Drain, remove and set aside. In same pot, sauté the “trinity”—onions, peppers and celery—until translucent, with chopped garlic to taste. Add tomato paste and cook several minutes until the sugars caramelize and the paste browns. Stir constantly to avoid burning.

Once the paste has browned, deglaze pot with two cups broth, scraping the bottom of the pan to loosen browned bits. Add tomatoes, Creole seasoning and salt and pepper to taste and simmer over medium-low heat for 10 minutes. Add meat, excluding fish, and cook another 10 minutes. Add the rest of the stock. Add additional seasoning if desired. Add rice and cook 15 minutes. Add fish and okra and cook another 10 minutes until fish is done and rice has absorbed all the liquid. Turn to low and cook an additional 10 minutes to let sauce thicken. If using instant rice, you may need to reduce cooking time.

Smoked turkey stock
Turkey carcass
4 celery ribs, roughly chopped
2 carrots, roughly chopped
1 medium white onion, roughly chopped
6 whole garlic cloves

Place turkey carcass in large pot. Add remaining ingredients and cover with water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 2 to 3 hours. Strain. Roasted turkey carcasses will do, but smoked meats add depth to the broth. The darker, more intense the broth, the better the jambalaya. It’s also a good way to use some of the less desirable pieces like legs and thighs. The broth also makes a great soup base.

Recipe from the March/April 2013 issue of Iowa Outdoors magazine. Find more Outdoor and Wild Recipes and more great info from Iowa Outdoors Magazine on Pinterest.

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