Jambalaya. Just say the word out loud and tell me you don’t have a smile on your face after. I don’t know, I love saying the word Jambalaya. When my boyfriend and I started living together, I started to try and master the kitchen. I would spend hours trying every recipe I could find and quickly found things that stuck and things that stank.
I had never in my life heard of Jambalaya nor did I have any idea what it would taste like. I came across a recipe in one of the many cookbooks I buried my head in that first year and I remember being so excited to try this. I love all the ingredients that were listed and could only imagine them all mixed together. 5 years of making this and I have it down to a science. I don’t remember which book I found the first recipe in but I have given it a few kicks and changes over the years and I am sure I have strayed very far from it by now.
I am not a fan of spicy foods but this is full of bold Cajun flavors. If you can handle the heat, you can adjust the spices to suit your palette.
Like any other Cajun / Creole recipe – you are going to start with the “holy trinity” – bell peppers, celery and onion. For no reason other than I like different colors to my foods, I decided on 3 different colors of peppers – red, green and yellow. Honestly, you can just pick one color if you want. Also, I forgot that I didn’t have any fresh garlic at home so I cheated and used the refrigerated stuff – judge me if you want, I can take it. For your proteins, you can use any combination you have on hand. I tend to use chicken, andouille sausage and shrimp.
There are so many ways to customize this dish so don’t stress if you don’t have all the ingredients or you don’t like something that I have used. Make it your own and experiment with it as much or as little as you want. Again, if you can take the spice then feel free to pop in a jalapeno with its seeds or add some hot sauce at the end – hakuna matata, do your thing!
Here is what you will need:
♥ 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil – divided
♥ 2 ribs celery – chopped
♥ 1 white onion – diced
♥ 1 small red bell pepper – cored and diced
♥ 1 small yellow bell pepper – cored and diced
♥ 1 small green bell pepper – cored and diced
♥ 4 cloves garlic – minced
♥ 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts – cut into bite-sized pieces
♥ 1 pound andouille sausage – thinly sliced into rounds
♥ 3 cups of chicken stock
♥ 14 ounce can of crushed tomatoes
♥ 1 1/2 cups uncooked short grain white rice (you can use brown rice if you prefer but you will need to cook separately, otherwise it will take significantly longer to cook than white rice)
♥ 1 tablespoon of Cajun seasoning
♥ 1 bay leaf
♥ 1 teaspoon of thyme – crushed
♥ 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
♥ 1 pound raw shrimp – deveined and peeled
♥ salt & pepper
♥♥ Optional ingredients: jalapenos (with or without their seeds), fresh parsley or thinly sliced green onion for garnish, hot sauce. Adjust the Cajun seasoning to your taste. I suggest adding it slowly and tasting as you go. You may use less than 1 tablespoon or more. Swap out the sausage for Chorizo sausage… the options are only limited to your imagination.
Here is what you will need to do:
♥ Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a stock pot (or a large/ deep saute pan) over medium-high heat. Add celery, onion, bell peppers and garlic. Saute for about 5 minutes. Stir occasionally until the vegetables are soft and mostly cooked.
♥ Add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil, chicken and sausage, and stir to combine. Continue sauteing for an additional 5 minutes or until the chicken is no longer pink and is cooked.
♥ Add the chicken stock, tomatoes, rice, Cajun seasoning, bay leaf, thyme and cayenne. Stir and combine all the ingredients. Reduce hear to medium-low and simmer covered for 25 – 30 minutes, until rice is cooked. Stir occasionally or the rice will burn to the bottom of the pan.
♥ Once the rice is tender, add in the shrimp and stir again to combine. Let the mixture continue to simmer and keep stirring occasionally until the shrimp are fully cooked. Remove the bay leaf and season the jambalaya with salt and pepper. Now would be a good time to add any hot sauce or additional Cajun seasoning.
♥♥ Jambalaya can be stored in the sealed contained in the fridge for 4-5 days. To freeze, allow to come to room temperate before transferring to a resealable bag. Can be stored in the freezer for 90 days.
Are you a jambalaya eater? I would love to hear your feedback and hear about any tricks or key ingredients you add to yours.