Saturday, September 29, 2012

Easy Jambalaya

Until I figured out this recipe, Jambalaya sounded complicated and exotic. Once I made it and it turned out awesome and super easy, I realized that it's basically a thick soup or stew, and it all made sense from there.

This was one of the first dishes I made for my husband when we first met. It is hearty and spicy and perfect for impressing a man who likes to eat.

It's a pretty easy, relatively quick recipe, and you can make it from scratch or with leftovers. It can be a great way to use up leftover meats and rice.

This recipe is a 'creole style' jambalaya, as opposed to the 'cajun style' which does not have tomatoes.

I always serve it with my skillet cornbread (I will post the recipe for that one next!)

In my last post about making soups , I broke down soup into a basic formula with basic instructions.
Basic Soup Recipe= Stock + Bulk + Flavor + Seasonings + Extras 


2 T vegetable or olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1/2-2/3 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
4 gloves minced garlic
1/2 can tomato paste
4 cups chicken broth
28oz can diced tomatoes (undrained) or 1 quart of tomatoes from your garden
1.5 cup long grain rice
2 t dried thyme, 1 t dried basil, 2 bay leaves, 1/2 t dried red pepper, 1/4 t black pepper
6-8 cups of any 3 meats (cubed ham, shrimp, sausage, chicken)

Stock: The stock in Jambalaya is made from the vegetable trinity and tomato paste. 
  1. Heat oil in a pot
  2. Cook the Vegetable Trinity (onion, celery, pepper) in the oil until tender
  3. Add 4 cloves of minced garlic and 1/2 can tomato paste
  4. Heat and stir until fragrant and mahogany in color
Bulk & Seasonings: The bulk is the rice and tomatoes

  1. Add uncooked rice, broth, and tomatoes to the mix (if you have pre-cooked rice, omit the chicken broth and add at the end. May need to add salt and pepper to taste)
  2. Add dried seasonings
  3. Bring to a boil, then simmer covered for 15 minutes or until rice is done
Flavor: The various meat or seafood you choose to add make up the flavor of the jambalaya. My favorite combination is ham, shrimp, and andouille sausage. It's easiest to use already cooked meats, but if you choose to use raw, you may have to modify the cooking time.

  1. Add your chosen meat and heat through.
  2. Taste and add more salt, pepper or hot sauce if needed. 

Slow Cooker Directions:
You can use a slow cooker if you choose, but as I learned the hard way, the rice turns into a gluey unappetizing mess if you slow cook it. For the best results, add cooked rice and meats and heat through just before serving. If you are using raw meat you could slow cook it with the rest (except for shrimp).
(Low 7-9 hours, High 3 hours)

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