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I’m Just Here for the Food — Boatwright’s Dining Hall

–Molly Engquist, WDW Radio Team

Welcome to 2023! Just as everyone says, “I can’t believe another year has gone by!”

Looking back I have had a lot of good meals! (I’m looking at you, Fried Chicken from Homecomin’.) What is the new year going to bring? Well I hope to have a lot more good food, so we should start it off now!

Since New Year’s weekend was nice and long, (and quite snowy and cold up here in the north) I thought It would be fun to try something that would warm the insides, too. I found a recipe from 2005 on Newspapers.com for jambalaya from Boatwright’s Dining Hall and thought I would try it.

Image from The Orlando Sentinel, Wednesday January 26, 2005

Disney’s Boatwright’s Dining Hall at Disney’s Port Orleans Resort sits overlooking the Sassagoula River. The table service restaurant seats you in a remodeled boat-building warehouse and serves classic American favorites with a southern influence.

It opened in 1992, but in 2014 a new menu was released. While this recipe did not have shrimp in it, the current menu has it listed so I did add some. So since it’s me, I have the base recipe, but I did tweak it a little. Here’s what I did:

Ingredients:

1 pound chicken thighs, cut into small pieces (I used bone-in and cut it off the bone first.)

3/4 cup roughly chopped andouille sausage (Try to find a good brand or someone that make it locally.)

1/2 pound shrimp cut bite sized

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

1/2 cup diced white onion

1/3 cup diced celery

1/3 cup diced green peppers

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 1/2 cups uncooked rice

2 tablespoons Creole or Cajun seasoning

2 tablespoons tomato paste

3 cubes chicken bouillon dissolved in 5 cups hot water (I brought water almost to a boil, added the cubes and set it aside)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Heat oil in your favorite soup pot over medium heat. After looking at photos of the dish, I cut a few long quartered pieces of sausage and kept a couple shrimp with the tails on for presentation. So I seared these and sprinkled on a little Creole seasoning first. Then I set those aside.

Next I put in the chicken and the cut up sausage in the pan, added some salt and pepper, and cooked just long enough to sear. The onion, celery, green peppers, and cayenne pepper was added with a bit more salt and pepper, and in about 8 minutes the onions were cooked how I like.

2. The rice and Creole seasoning was added, stirring to coat all the rice. I let it cook for about 2-4 minutes to let the rice absorb some of the flavors. Then I stirred in the tomato paste and the chicken stock. I also added the presentation sausage and shrimp at this time too.

3. The last step was to let it cook on low heat until all water was absorbed. This is always a vague direction. For this, you do need to let it cook long enough so the rice is done. So I turned the heat down a little but still wanted it to simmer. I also covered it and stirred every few minutes. It was about 20 minutes once all the liquid was absorbed. And last, don’t forget to add more salt and pepper until seasoned to taste. You usually don’t need as much if you layer it in as you cook. 

I do love me a good jambalaya, one that makes you sweat just enough, and of course warms you from the inside. This recipe is pretty good, I would probably up the heat, but it’s a good one to start with to judge your heat level. You could pair this a strong red like a Zinfandel, or a smokey chardonnay. But I kept it classic and had a nice lager. I did try a little of the Leinenkuger’s Juicy Peach which was pleasant as well.

Have you been to Boatwright’s? What’s your favorite off the menu? I think Lou needs to go for a walk around the resort and maybe try a few things and let us know!