Jambalaya

This is very tasty, easy to make, customizable with your favourite proteins (I used chicken breast, shrimp and Italian sausage) and it’s full of bold, zesty, Cajun flavours that everyone will love. Best of all it makes a generous amount.

If you like it hot, you can add more jalapeños or more cayenne pepper or a different pepper. If your stomach can’t take the heat, then you can omit the spicy peppers.

To make this more economical – use any sausage – whatever is on sale, italian, breakfast, European sausage. The chicken, I used breasts but you can use thighs, or you can buy a boiler chicken, usually very cheap, and debone it for economical alternative, you can use tofu, ounce for ounce. Pork. For the shrimp you can sub with sturdy fish like cod. (you will need to add it sooner to cook properly, about half way through the cooking process of the rice) Whatever you have handy or can get that is on sale. 

Jambalaya definition comes from the Provençal word ‘jambalaia’, meaning a mish mash, or mixup, and also meaning a pilaf (pilau) of rice. So basically anything goes.

Ok, lets get to it.

Overview

Prep time 20-30 minutes
Cook time 40 minutes
Serves 8-10

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp olive oil divided
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into bite sized pieces, approximately 8 ounces
  • 1 pound italian sausage spicy, thinly sliced into rounds
  • 3 bell peppers, cored and diced, I used red and green
  • 2 ribs celery diced (2 or 3 ribs)
  • 1 jalapeno pepper seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 white onion diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced 
  • 1-14 oz can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp of tomato paste (optional)
  • 1 tsp of white sugar (to offset the acidity of the can of tomatoes)
  • 3 cups of chicken stock
  • 1-1/2 cups uncooked long grain white rice or brown rice
  • 2 tbsp cajon seasoning or creole seasoning
  • 1 tsp of dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp of smoked paprika
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 lb of raw shrimp
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a stock pot over medium high heat. Add the chicken and sausage and sauté for 5-7 minutes stirring occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through and the sausage is lightly browned. Transfer to a clean plate and set aside.
  2. Add the remaining 2 tbsp of oil to the stock pot. Add bell peppers, celery, jalapeño, onions and garlic. Saute for 6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions soften.
  3. Add the crushed tomatoes, stock, rice, seasonings, thyme, cayenne, bay leaf, sugar, and stir to combine. Continue cooking until the mixture reaches a simmer. Then reduce heat to medium-low cover and and simmer for about 25-30 minutes or until the rice is nearly cooked through, stirring every five minutes or so along the way so that the rice does not burn or stick.
  4. Add the shrimp and stir to combine. Continue to simmer stirring occasionally, until the shrimp are cooked through and pink. Stir in the chicken and sausage, and remove and discard the bay leaf.
  5. Season the jambalaya to taste with salt and pepper. Adding cajon seasoning if necessary. Remove from heat.
  6. Serve warm or refrigerate and store in a  sealed container for up to 3 days.

Remember that you can freeze this. Your rice will be mushier but to avoid that put in casserole dish and put in oven to take out some of the moisture when reheating or you can pan sear it.

Now you can customize this to your tastes and budget. It is a hearty meal that goes a long way.

If you have suggestions to more economical variations, please let me know. Like subbing one of the meats for black beans which are very high in protein.

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