There are a million and 2 ways to make Jumbalaya; and everyone is convinced their version is the ‘Best Ever.” So rather than making the same claim, I’ll just say this is my favorite way to make and eat it.
Jambalaya is a Louisiana Creole dish of Spanish and French influence. Jambalaya may have been created in Louisiana and may have its origins in Spanish paella Jambalaya is traditionally made in three parts, with meat and vegetables, and is completed by adding stock and rice.
There are two primary methods of making jambalaya. (And of course, a third less commont way)
The first and most common is the city Creole jambalaya (also called “red jambalaya”). First, meat is added to the trinity of celery, peppers, and onions; the meat is usually chicken and sausage such as andouille or smoked sausage. Next vegetables and tomatoes are added to cook, followed by seafood. Rice and stock are added in equal proportions at the very end. The mixture is brought to a boil and left to simmer for 20 to 60 minutes, depending on the recipe, with infrequent stirring. Towards the end of the cooking process, stirring usually ceases. Some versions call for the jambalaya to be baked after the cooking of all the ingredients.
The second style, more characteristic of southwestern and south-central Louisiana, is rural Cajun jambalaya, which contains no tomatoes (the idea being the farther away from New Orleans one gets, the less common tomatoes are in dishes). The meat is browned in a cast-iron pot. The bits of meat that stick to the bottom of the pot (sucs) are what give a rural jambalaya its brown color. A little vegetable oil is added if there is not enough fat in the pot. The trinity (of 50% onions, 25% celery, and 25% green or red bell pepper, although proportions can be altered to suit one’s taste) is added and sautéed until soft. Stock and seasonings are added in the next step, and then the meats are returned to the pot. This mixture is then simmered, covered, for at least one hour. Lastly, the mixture is brought to a boil and rice is added to the pot. It is then covered and left to simmer over very low heat for at least 1/2 hour without stirring. The dish is finished when the rice has cooked.
A third method is less common, the “Cajun” jambalaya. In this version, meat and vegetables are cooked separately from the rice. At the same time, rice is cooked in a savory stock. It is added to the meat and vegetables before serving. This is called “white jambalaya.” This dish is rare in Louisiana as it is seen as a “quick” attempt to make jambalaya, popularized outside the state to shorten cooking time.
1 small broiler-fryer chicken
1 stalk celery (cut into bit size pieces with leaves)
1 Vidalia onion (quartered)
4 garlic cloves
2 cups converted long grain rice
1 lb un-cooked and peeled shrimp
1 lb andouille sausage (sliced)
1 lb ham (cubed)
1⁄4 cup butter
1 cup frozen whole kernel corn
1 cup Vidalia onion (chopped)
1⁄2 cup carrot (chopped)
3⁄4 cup green bell pepper (chopped)
2 zucchini (chopped)
1⁄4 cup fresh parsley (chopped)
2 garlic cloves (minced)
1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
1 can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (15 ounce) can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 large bay leaf
1⁄4 teaspoon thyme
2 teaspoons salt
1⁄2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1-2 teaspoons hot sauce
- In a large pot, cover chicken with water and add the celery, quartered onion, and the 4 cloves of garlic. Boil until tender, approximately 1 hour.
- Reserve the stock.
- Remove the chicken from the bones & either cut, slice, cube or shred. Place the chicken in a bowl with 1 tablespoon of the Creole seasoning. Set aside.
- In a Dutch oven, heat the butter over medium-high heat and brown the chicken on all sides. Add the andouille sausage and ham, then cook for another 3 minutes or so until the meats begin to brown.
- Add the onion, garlic, carrot, zucchini, beans, and bell pepper and cook for 3-4 minutes.
- Add the rice, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, remaining tablespoon of Creole seasoning, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper and stir to combine.
- Add the chicken stock and bay leaves. Bring it to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes, giving it one stir around the halfway point.
- Add the shrimp, cover, and simmer for another 10 minutes or until the rice is tender.
- Remove bay leaf and serve sprinkled with some sliced green onions.
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons onion powder
2 teaspoons sweet paprika powder
1½ teaspoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
¾ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Combine all the spices in a coffee or spice grinder.
- Grind to a fine powder and store in an airtight jar until ready to use.
Do you have a secret family recipe for Jumbalaya?