Thursday, December 23, 2010


Jambalaya is a mixed rice dish, of meats usually chicken, sausage and sometimes seafood (shrimp, crawfish, etc.) this dish is featured in the Cuisine of the state of Louisiana (a state that is well known for it's food their cuisine is a blend of Spaniard, French, African, and Caribbean influences with American in the mix as well)

The dish is thought to have originated/ be related to the Spanish Paella, so what I understood it's a bunch of Spaniards trying to make Paella with what they could find in Louisiana he he. I can see the influence in the use of onions, garlic, bell peppers, tomato, smoked sausages, and in some recipes a combination of thyme, bay leaves, and paprika (very typical of Canary Islands)

However Jambalaya is it's own thing, some versions are soupy and sloppy, some the rice is cooked separate then mixed into the meats and cooked aromatics, etc.

So anyways now that you have a general idea, I researched the rice dish a bit (because I had chicken, sausages and shrimp in the fridge and was like hhmmm maybe I should try to make Jambalaya or gumbo) and came up with this recipe, I already have a lot of experience making mixed rice dishes (mostly Spaniard and Cuban yellow rice dishes) so I've come up with my own version of Jambalaya with the elements I've seen repeated in several recipes and what I think would taste awesome. I invited my bestie John to help me make it, and my whole family was pleasantly surprised and enjoyed it :)


-1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil or butter
-1 1/2 lbs. chicken meat (any breasts, thighs, bone in, skinless etc.) cut into bite size
-1/2 lbs shell on shrimp (you will use the shells and heads to make the stock)
-2 large smoked sausages cut into 1/4 inch rounds
-1/4 lbs. smoked ham (optional)
-1 onion minced
-1 green bell pepper minced
-2 stalks celery minced
-1/2 head garlic minced
-1 can 8 oz. tomato sauce
-4 1/2 cups shrimp stock (you will make it from the shells see directions)
-3 cups long grain rice (washed well, and drained, I used Mahatma brand)
-salt to taste
-black pepper to taste
-2 bay leaves
-1 tsp. dried thyme
-1 tsp. smoked paprika (I use bittersweet smoked Spanish paprika)
-1/2 tsp. ground cayenne pepper
-orange juice of the shrimp heads (optional)

Directions to make stock:
(1) Remove shell and de-vein shrimp, use the shells and heads to make a stock, add water in a pot enough to submerge shells well and bring to a boil for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile prep everything else.
Directions for the rest of the dish:
(1) Heat large pot or paella pan on medium high heat, when pan is hot add olive oil or butter,
and brown the sliced smoked sausage all over, then remove and set aside, sautee shrimp seasoned with salt and pepper in same pan then set aside in same pan add chicken seasoned with salt and black pepper to taste brown all over, remove and set aside, now add diced ham and brown it and set aside.

(2) In same pot add minced onion, bell pepper and celery cook down 5-7 minutes until fragrant, add garlic and sautee another 2-3 minutes until fragrant, stir in thyme, bay leaves, paprika, and cayenne stir for about 30 seconds. Add shrimp head juice reduce it to nothing.
(3) Add in tomato sauce, cook it until it bubbles,
stir in chicken, sausage, and ham when coated add stock bring to a boil on high heat,
and add rice. Give a good stir cover and cook on low heat for 20 minutes.

(4) After 20- 25 minutes, add the cooked shrimp. Turn off heat, sprinkle all over with finely minced parsley and garnish with a lemon rose in the center.
(5) Enjoy as a stand alone dish, or serve with a nice salad and some fresh cornbread.

From experience of cooking mixed rice dishes for many years, I highly advice you to be careful with the amount of salt you add, too much can ruin a perfectly delicious rice dish, and too little will give you the blandest crap you've ever eaten. My suggestion is add about 2 tsp. salt, then taste it, if it tastes like... ocean water like... salt water... from ocean then it'll probably be ok... ha ha :)


Marilyn said...

Yummy, yummy!
I love Jambalaya!
Merry Christmas & Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year to you and your family.

Ivonne said...

Wow, that looks really good Nathan. Merry Christmas to you!