Jambalaya: I have to say that the Italians and Cajuns have a lot in common because man oh man is this jambalaya recipe comfort food at it’s finest that can be grazed upon all day long! Pack it up with shrimp and andouille sausage and you’ve got yourself one tasty dish!
When I look back throughout my culinary career I always seem to make things in 10-year increments. It’s like I hear about it, I make it, and then for some reason I don’t make it again for another 10 years, and the same goes with this easy jambalaya recipe. I first learned how to make jambalaya when I was working at a country club from a southern chef. I don’t exactly remember how I did it but I remember it being packed with chicken, sausage, and shrimp and absolutely delicious. It was like the cajun’s version of risotto within your face flavor. Ever since then I’ve loved jambalaya but as I stated before I’ve seriously only made it 3 times in my life.
What is Jambalaya
Jambalaya is a comforting southern dish that consists of rice, smoked pork, the holy trinity, chicken, sausage, and spices. It is traditionally cooked in a dutch oven pot and takes about an hour to make. Jambalaya comes in 2 different varieties. One with tomatoes and one without, and some slightly different cooking styles but in the end 1 has tomatoes and 1 does not. They both use the holy trinity, onions, celery and bell peppers, and both have chicken and sausage. As you can probably tell from the pictures, and certainly the video, my easy jambalaya recipe is creole style. I love tomatoes in jambalaya and now that they’re in-season it’s a must for me.
Jambalaya, in general, has a heavy French and Spanish influence with the ingredients used and cooking techniques applied. If you look at its roots, in Louisiana, you have a mesh of amazing cultures and this classic dish is essentially the output of that wonderful collaboration. Marry the cultures along with what’s leftover in the refrigerator and easily accessible and you have jambalaya.
How to Make It
There are two ways to make jambalaya but in the end I want you to know how to make jambalaya creole style. As I stated earlier creole style incorporates tomatoes and the cooking technique is slightly different. Now, since there are a lot of moving parts and quite a few ingredients in jambalaya, I can not stress enough that it is beyond wise to make sure you have prepped up everything before you start cooking so you don’t have to worry about cutting and chopping in the middle of cooking. Start making the jambalaya by cooking off some sort of smoked ham in a dutch oven pot on the stove. This can be bacon, tasso, heck it can even be pancetta, but render the fat and crisp up the lardons!
Next, you want to set the lardons to the side and then add some butter to your dutch oven pot and then caramelize the onions. Please do take the time to brown up the onions as it will make all the difference in the world in this easy jambalaya recipe. Once the onions are brown you then want to add in the holy trinity. Some religious folks down in cajun country eh? :-). Cook all of the ingredients down and then add in the chicken and sausage and cook them through.
To finish off the jambalaya you add in the stock, rice, seasonings, and shrimp. This is actually a shrimp jambalaya recipe but traditionally they may have used things like crawfish or some other type of accessible seafood. While this dish has influences from different cultures it’s also about accessible ingredients and since this shrimp jambalaya recipe is really old, my guess is they were putting in there what they could afford and what was offered.
In the end this easy jambalaya recipe is pretty old and if I do say so myself pretty dang classic and spot-on, and really delicious in the flavor department. If you want to see how it’s done then be sure to check out this Cajun jambalaya recipe from the man himself Chef Paul Prudhomme!
Easy Jambalaya Recipe with Shrimp and Andouille Sausage
For the Cajun Spices:
- 2 tablespoons of sea salt
- 2 teaspoons of ground mustard
- 1 tablespoon of onion powder
- 1 tablespoon of garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon of white pepper
- 1 teaspoon of cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
- 1 tablespoon of paprika
- 1 tablespoon of thyme
For the Jambalaya:
- 8 strips of chopped bacon
- 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter
- 2 peeled and small diced sweet onions
- 6 small diced stalks of celery
- 1 each seeded and small diced red and green bell pepper
- 4 finely minced cloves of garlic
- 4 slices vine ripe tomatoes
- 4 slices andouille sausage links
- 3 each sliced chicken thighs and tenders
- 2 cups of chicken stock
- 2 1/2 cups of long grain rice
- 1 pound of peeled deveined and diced shrimp
- optional garnish: chopped parsley green onions and thyme
- Cajun spices: combine all ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside. Note there will be some leftover.
- Jambalaya: In a large dutch oven pot over medium heat add in the bacon and cook until the lardons are crispy. set them aside.
- Add the butter to the pot and caramelize the onions, about 20 minutes. Once brown add in the celery, peppers, garlic, tomatoes and 2 teaspoons of the spice blend. Stir and simmer on medium heat for 10 minutes.
- Next, add in the sausage and chicken and cook until the chicken is done, about 10 minutes.
- Add in the chicken stock, rice, shrimp and 2 more teaspoons of the spice blend. Stir and cover and cook for 15 to 18 minutes or until the rice is cooked.
- Serve with optional garnishes!