Nothing says Autumn like hearty soups and stews… and here in SoCal, the temperature is often still in triple digits at the end of October (not very Fall-like). The solution? A spicy, hearty stew that’s tasty all the time: Cajun Jambalaya! The observant chef will notice that this dish bears a striking resemblance to paella, but somewhat simpler and with different ingredients.
Note: This dish also works well served over pasta. While not traditional, it’s quite delicious. Simply leave out the rice and cook the pasta of your choice according to package directions.
Time: 60 minutes
Cost: About $4-6 per plate
- 1 TBSP olive oil
- 2 TBSP butter, divided
- 1 TBSP Creole Seasoning (I just use Emeril Lagasse’s version, found here
- 2-3 chicken breasts, cubed
- 12oz – 1lb Andouille sausage, sliced into 1/4 inch thick rounds
- 1/2 lb medium shrimp, peeled and deveined (optional)
- 1 large Spanish (or yellow) onion, diced (see How to Chop an Onion to streamline this process)
- 1 large green bell pepper, diced
- Roughly 1.5 – 2 cups celery, chopped
- 4-5 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp hot sauce (any kind will do depending on your flavor preference and heat tolerance)
- 1 14oz can petite diced tomatoes, drained
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 2 cups white rice
Mix about 1/2 TBSP creole seasoning with chicken in one bowl, and in another bowl mix the remaining 1/2 TBSP with the shrimp. Mix well. Cover, and reserve in refrigerator.
Heat a medium saute pan or large skillet over medium high heat. Add 1 TBSP butter and 1 TBSP olive oil to the pan. When butter is melted, add sausage and brown nicely on all sides, 5-7 minutes. Remove with slotted spoon and reserve.
In the same pan, add chicken. Brown nicely all around. Remove with slotted spoon and reserve.
Reduce heat to medium and add remaining 1 TBSP butter. Once butter is melted, add onion bell pepper and celery. Sauté, stirring constantly, until very fragrant and onions are mostly translucent, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant, 1-2 more minutes. Add hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce and canned tomatoes. Cook all these ingredients together for about another 7 minutes stirring constantly to ensure nothing burns or gets stuck to the bottom of the pan.
Add rice and continue to stir into mixture for about 1 minute. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil, scraping up any brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Add chicken, sausage and any drippings back into the pan and give everything a good stir. This is the last time you’ll stir it.
Cover, and reduce heat to a low simmer, about 30 minutes until the rice has filled the pan and is no longer crunchy. (You can test the doneness of the rice by removing a grain or two with a spoon – if it’s crunchy but all the liquid has absorbed, add about 2 TBSP of water, give everything a good shake, recover the pan and wait another 5 minutes or so. Repeat this process until rice is cooked, if neccessary).
Once the rice is cooked and has reached the desired consistency, tuck the shrimp into the mixture and cook, covered for about 5 – 7 minutes, until they are a nice orange color and no longer translucent.
Serve in bowls with crusty bread. Enjoy!