Set a large kettle (not iron) over moderate heat. Saute the onion, garlic, yellow pepper and celery in the bacon drippings for 8 to 10 minutes until they are limp and golden. Add the parsley, ham cubes, bay leaf, thyme and cayenne pepper. Sauteé, stirring often, for 5 to 6 minutes. Add the salt, tomatoes and their juice, tomato sauce and water. Simmer uncovered for 5 minutes, breaking up any large clumps of tomatoes. Adjust the burner heat so that the mixture simmers gently. Stir in the rice, cover and boil for 40 minutes. Add the shrimp, tossing the mixture lightly to distribute them evenly. Cover the kettle and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes longer, until the shrimp are cooked through, the rice is done, and almost all of the liquid has been absorbed. Taste the jambalaya and add more cayenne pepper and salt, if needed. Serves 6.
Appeared in print on 1.07.09.