Jambalaya originated in the bayou region of the American South, a one-pot creation offered up by Cajun cooks with whatever ingredients they had on hand. Creole cooks in the New Orleans region add tomatoes to this dish, which add color and depth of flavor. This is peasant food, and like all peasant food, it’s as flexible as it is delicious. Don’t be precious about the ingredients… if you don’t have something handy, do as a good Cajun cook would, and substitute!
Whether you’re cooking up a pot of Jambalaya as part of a Fat Tuesday Mardi Gras celebration, or just looking for a way to use up some leftover meat on a random Tuesday night, you’re sure to love this dish!
Ingredients (Makes 1 big ol’ pot, plenty for friends!)
1 tablespoon butter
2 stalks of celery, sliced 1/3 inch thick
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 cup diced green pepper
2 cups diced tomatoes and juice (fresh or canned)
4 cups chicken broth
3 cups uncooked rice
1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce (more if desired)
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon dried, crushed thyme
1 teaspoon celery salt
1/2 teaspoon file powder (optional; also called sassafras “gumbo” powder)
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper (or red cayenne pepper)
2 cups cooked, sliced sausage (Andouille sausage or whatever you prefer)
2 cups cooked chicken (shredded, cubed, whatever you prefer)
2 cups cooked shrimp
Step 1) In a large pot, saute celery, garlic, and onion in butter until onion is soft.
Step 2) Add green pepper, tomatoes, chicken broth, rice, Tabasco, Worcestershire, and spices. Stir. Bring to a boil.
Step 3) Reduce heat and cover the pot. Gently simmer until liquid is almost all absorbed and rice is cooked, approximately 15 – 20 minutes. CHECK the rice after 10 minutes, and again after 20 minutes. If liquid is mostly absorbed before rice is cooked, add 1/2 cup to 1 cup of additional broth or water. Jambalaya is “mostly dry” when finished – the rice should be a little bit saucy, but not drowning in liquid like soup.
Step 4) When rice is tender, gently fold in the sausage, chicken, and shrimp. Serve Jambalaya hot and enjoy with friends!