Put a little more spice in your life.
We all love Cajun food, am I right? And Jambalaya is the perfect thing to make when you’re craving Cajun but don’t want to put all the time and effort into a gumbo or an etouffée. Having said that, this is still a solid hour-long recipe (especially if you’re using brown rice like I suggest – cook about 15 minutes less for white rice), but once everything is chopped it all goes pretty fast and most of the cook time is in the simmering. It’s also a great way to use some smoked jalapeño sausage or other smoked spicy sausage – all that flavor just marries with everything else into something wonderful.
I personally like my jambalaya with sausage, chicken and shrimp, but you could just as easily use only one or two of these things. If you do that, add a bit more so you have the right meat-to-everything-else ratio. If you’re really felling gutsy, throw some of the shrimp shells in with the broth for a richer flavor. Just don’t forget to remove them (and the bay leaves) before serving! Yes, this recipe involves a long list of spices. You could probably use a Cajun spice blend that has Emeril’s picture on it, but I like to go ahead and make my own so I can add a little more or less of things, depending on what I’m feeling at the moment (or if I have spice-averse people at my dinner table that night). So feel free to play around with the spice blend to your tastes.
This recipe makes quite a big batch, so you can give a gift to your future self and freeze the leftovers for a quick weeknight meal. It freezes wonderfully, just like chili. I would have done that, but the 5 people at my dinner table this night left nary a morsel of rice to snack on later. You can see how “number of servings” is a little tricky in my household. This recipe by normal standards probably should serve 8, especially if you’re having it with a big salad or something. At my house, it serves 5. With a big salad.
- 1lb smoked venison sausage
- 3/4lb shrimp (peeled and veined)
- 1lb chicken breast (diced, about 1 large breast)
- 2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
- 2 Large onions (diced)
- 2 Large green bell peppers (diced)
- 3 stalks celery (diced)
- 1 jalapeno (cored, seeded and finely chopped)
- 4 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
- 1 can crushed tomatoes (14.5 oz)
For the spice blend
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 2 cups long grain brown rice
- 3 1/2 cups broth or water
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 scallions (sliced)
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (plus more to taste)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- heavy pinchground mustard
|First mix all the spices together for the spice blend, then set aside. Heat 1 T of oil over medium high heat in a large pot or dutch oven and cook the chicken until seared on the outside and cooked. Remove and set aside. Add the other T of oil to the pot and add the onions with a pinch of salt. Cook until starting to brown, about 7 minutes. Add the sausage and shrimp and cook until the shrimp are cooked through, about 5 minutes. Add the spice mix and stir so that everything is coated.
|Add the rest of the vegetables, stir well, and cook until they are just starting to soften, stirring occasionally and scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Then add the canned tomatoes and tomato paste and bring to a boil. Finally, add the rice, the broth or water and the bay leaves, stir to combine and bring to a boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down and simmer until the rice is tender and most of the liquid is absorbed, about 45 minutes. (Less time if using white rice) Garnish with scallions and serve!
Non Game Substitution: Use andouille if you have a good meat market that supplies it. Otherwise any smoked sausage will work.
Vegetarian Substitution: Incorporate your favorite vegetarian sausage as long as the spices will go, and incorporate some red or black beans.