The gold had better be worth it for the trip into this thrice-damned swamp. It had seemed to you like a simple job when that man approached the party in their customary tavern: head over the western mountains, travel to the river port in the marshlands beyond, and return with the arcane component for the sorceress back home. Of course you had expected predators and you were well-prepared for the crocodiles that flipped your canoe yesterday morning. They were dealt with quickly but it’s the whining, buzzing, biting, hellish flies that are really taking their toll. The wizard thinks they might be daemon-spawn; the paladin is muttering to himself like a madman.
Suddenly ahead there is a light through the trees. Unless your map is totally wrong this is not your destination but it looks inviting all the same. A cheery light shines from the windows and a spicy, savory smell wafts out, drawing in the worn travelers like a spell…
Jambalaya is a fine example of the “embrace the chaos” approach of the cook. This traditional Cajun recipe that comes somewhere between a soup and a casserole is delicious, flexible, and relatively difficult to mess up. In Louisiana (or a swampy province in a D&D setting of your choice) jambalaya is a social event that often involves little more than pouring a bunch of ingredients into a pot and enjoying some beers together while it all stews together. The recipe presented here is more structured than this but it is still a recipe that cooks can freely adapt, as discussed at the end.