Home / #LiveMajorCrush / MARDIS GRAS NEUTRAL GROUND JAMBALAYA RECIPE - Introduction by Lou Zant


I love folks from New Orleans! 

I mean, my podcast partner, Meredith Griffin, and her husband, David, live there — which probably makes my statement pretty obvious! But I’ve been collecting good friends from NOLA for a long time, and without exception, they’ve all added so much zest to my world! 

I suppose one of the biggest reasons I find so much to love about my pals from the Big Easy is our mutual passion for food and wine. And I particularly admire how the culture of Louisiana influences the flavors of the foods they create, and how open their hearts are when it comes to the wines they pair with their signature dishes.

Both Meredith and I had Mardi Gras in the back of our minds when we were curating the wines for the February 2021 Crush Collection, and when we hit upon the Verveine Grenache, it was clear we needed this wine to be in the mix. But it was also crystal clear to us that we needed to do one more thing:

Ask our buddy Charlie Martinez to create a Mardi Gras inspired recipe for us this month!

Charlie is one of the BEST people I can think of to create a recipe of any kind, but he’s particularly suited for Mardi Gras — in my humble opinion! His approach to food is so intentional, and if you’ve ever been lucky enough to eat something he’s prepared, it will warm your heart and your soul it's so darn delicious! 

We feel incredibly honored to share a recipe from Charlie to add to your wine experiences this month! So as they say in NOLA…

LAISSEZ LES BON TEMPS ROULER (let the good times roll!)




Mardi Gras Neutral Ground Jambalaya by Charlie Martinez


2 bay leaf

1 teaspoons cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon Salt

¾ teaspoon of white pepper

¾ teaspoon of black fine grind pepper

1 teaspoon of thyme

1 teaspoon of sage

2 tablespoon of butter

½ lbs of tasso or smoked seasoned ham diced

1 lb bonless chicken cut in bit size pieces. ( white and dark mix is best)

1 cup each diced Onion, Celery, Bell Pepper

2 Tablespoons mice Fresh Garlic

1 can 8 oz of tomato sauce

2 ½ cups of chicken stock or Chicken broth Low Sodium

1 ½ cups of rice converted is best.  Uncooked



In a large cast iron skillet Melt Butter

Add Tasso and cook until meat browns

Add Chicken and cook until meant browns.  Constantly stirring and scraping the bottom

Add Veggies and garlic cook until the start to get tender

Add Spices to tomato sauce and stock stir until all spice are thoroughly mixed in.

Bring mixture to a simmer and remove from heat.(do not Boil)

Add rice and stir.

Cover and cook  for 45 mins to 1 hour.  If u are not on the neutral ground waiting for a parade, and do not have a Jambalaya pot, you can cook it in your over @ 350.   

Remove lid  and fluff once rice is cooked .  You can mix an additional 2-3 Tablespoons of softened butter at this stage to give it a little richness.

Serve in a paper bowl on the neutral ground before the Parade passes.


If you want to take it to the next level, you can make a spicy sauce to top it off.  Jambalaya  can be served without the Sauce See Below.


Jambalaya Sauce This can be made ahead of time.

2 Bay leaf

½ teaspoon of the following :


Oregano leaf

White pepper

Red pepper



4 tablespoons of butter

1 can 16 oz whole peeled tomato drained and chopped

1 cup of each diced onion celery bell pepper

2 tablespoons garlic

2 cups of chicken broth low sodium

1 cup Tomato sauce



Melt butter in a large skillet

Add veggies and sauté until they until onions are transparent. About 5 mnutes.

Add Garlic

Add Spice and stir in.

Add  Tomatoes ,tomato sauce, and stock.

Reduce heat and simmer until all veggies are tender (About 20 mins)








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