International Recipes and Cooking Around the World

Jambalaya

Jambalaya (American Cajun-Creole rice with chicken, shrimp and andouille sausage)

(American Cajun-Creole rice with chicken, shrimp and andouille sausage)

Image Creative Commons by Guido_961

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A classic of Cajun-Creole cuisine, jambalaya got its start in the French Quarter of New Orleans when Spanish immigrants cooked up a dish similar to their beloved paella from home. The name probably comes from a French Provencal word meaning "mix up" or "mash up."

This versatile one-pot dish's popularity spread to the Cajuns in Louisiana's bayous, who, unlike cooks in New Orleans, made their version without tomatoes. This recipe is for the New Orleans creole "red" version.

4 to 6 servings

Ingredients

  • Oil -- 3 tablespoons
  • Chicken, cut into serving portions -- 1 1/2 pounds
  • Salt and pepper -- to season
  • Andouille sausage cut into 1-inch rounds -- 1/2 pound
  • Bell peppers, finely chopped -- 2
  • Celery, finely chopped -- 3 stalks
  • Garlic, minced -- 2 to 3 cloves
  • Tomatoes, crushed or chopped -- 1 cup
  • Water or stock -- 6 cups
  • Rice -- 3 cups
  • Thyme -- 2 teaspoons
  • Bay leaf -- 1
  • Salt and pepper -- to taste
  • Shrimp, peeled and deveined -- 1 pound

Method

  1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high flame. Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper and brown them on all sides in the hot oil. Remove to a plate. Add the sausage to the pot, brown it in the oil, then remove it to the plate with the chicken and set aside.
  2. Add the onion, peppers, celery and garlic to the pot and saute until the onion is cooked through and translucent, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and cook another 3 or 4 minutes.
  3. Return the chicken and sausage to the pot and stir in the stock or water, rice, thyme, bay leaf, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium low and simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring once or twice.
  4. Stir in the shrimp, cover and simmer for another 15 minutes, or until the rice is cooked through.
  5. Remove from heat and let rest 10 minutes before serving with lots of hot sauce.

Jambalaya Variations

  • Cajun "Brown" Jambalaya: Eliminate the tomatoes and use 1 more cup of stock or water. Don't put the rice in at the same time as the stock. Let the chicken, sausage, vegetables simmer together for about 25 to 35 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and tender. Then stir in the rice, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring once or twice. Then stir in the shrimp and proceed with the recipe.
  • Meats and Seafood: All manner of meaty stuff can go into a good jambalaya. The most common are chicken, shrimp and andouille sausage. But you can try pork, turkey, crayfish, oysters, alligator, wild boar or turtle. Seafood should always be stirred in at the end to keep it from overcooking and getting tough and rubbery.
  • Seasonings: Louisianan's each have their own favorite seasonings for jambalaya. Some of the more popular are garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, oregano, cayenne pepper, red pepper flakes, Worcestershire sauce and Tabasco sauce.

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