Jambalaya with Andouille Shrimp and Chicken

January 20, 2009

I’d like to say I’ve been on vacation and that’s why I haven’t written lately, but honestly, the time away has been more about working on admin issues here.  Although I’ve learned quite a bit about websites and CSS and can fake code like the best of the posers since I’ve started blogging, suffice it to say that countless hours were spent last week reading through instructions to connect some dots that weren’t designed to go together.  Call me stupid tenacious.  Or stubborn.  Okay, how about a royal pain in the ass?

I was less than thrilled with this ultimate waste of time which nagged at me so much, the idea of doing anything but that at my Mac was impossible. The silver lining on that one is that I was able to focus!  Nice. So right now, I’m calling it a truce to cool down a bit before I decide to choose a different route.

Jambalaya with Andouille Shrimp and Chicken

What better way to do that than talk about food, right?  Exactly.  And what better food to discuss than Jambalaya?  No, I’m not from New Orleans, and to my knowledge, no one in my family is Cajun that I know of….but I love the flavors, the ease with which it comes together, and the sheer number of variations available.

Jambalaya is a One Pot Wonder that can be made with what you have on hand — almost.  And the pay off is big.  The resulting flavors remind me of a dish that has cooked for hours.  It’s easy on the budget, too.  It takes a bit more effort than fried rice, but nowhere near the energy that risotto or paella take, so even my son has manned the Wolf long enough to put a nice meal of Jambalaya together before with very little bossing from his mother.

Are you sold? No?

Okay, but maybe I’ve got you thinking…

But wait!  I also just found out (and I’m getting the impression I should have known quite some time ago…) that I’ve been nominated for Best Food Blog:  Humor by Haley of Appoggiatura.  Goodness!  This is so cool because I’m someone who never even won the “Who can spoon the most cotton balls blindfolded” game at baby showers.  Talk about a lifetime of feeling incompetent.

Which must explain my obsession with food, right?  I’m sure there’s a couch for me somewhere… If you have the time, check out all the great nominees in all the categories and vote, vote, vote.

Jambalaya

For the jambalaya…
1 T extra virgin olive oil
1/2 c. Andouille
1/2 c. onion, chopped
1/2 c. bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1/2 c. celery, chopped
1 c. canned diced tomatoes in puree
3/4 c. long grain white rice
1-1/4 c. chicken broth
1 T Worcestershire sauce
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 chicken thighs
1 lb. shrimp, shelled, tails on (reserve shells)
2 T flat-leafed parsley, chopped
3 green onions, sliced

For the seasoning…
1/4 tsp. cayenne
1 tsp. pepper, freshly ground
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1-1/2 tsp. fresh sage, sliced thin
1 pinch herbes de provence

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Shell the shrimp and set aside.  Place shells into a lidded saucepan and add the chicken broth.  Bring the mixture to a low simmer, and allow to simmer about 20 minutes.  Pour broth through a strainer and toss the shells.  Keep the broth warm.


Yes, I actually do this when I cook. Makes it all so easy...
The aroma of andouille and the veggies is amazing... The shrimp is added at the end of the baking time...

In a large, oven-proof covered pan, heat the olive oil and over medium heat, cook the chicken thighs skin side down first, about 7 minutes on each side before removing from the pan and setting aside.  Add the Andouille to the same pan and cook just until it begins to brown.

Mix together the onion, bell pepper, and celery, and add half of this mixture to the pan with the Andouille.  Cook until the veggies begin to soften and add the tomatoes.  Stir to mix and cook for 1-2 minutes before adding the rice.  Allow to cook an additional 2 minutes before adding the chicken/shrimp broth, the rest of the vegetable mixture, Worcestershire sauce, and garlic.

Add the chicken thighs to the rice mixture, making sure they’re nestled deeply into it.  Put the lid on the pan and place in the oven to bake about 30 minutes.

Remove pan from the oven and add the shrimp, herbs, and onions.  Stir well, and return the covered pan to the oven for at least 10 minutes or until chicken thighs are done and shrimp are opaque and pink.

It's creamy and very satisfying...

Notes:

  • Although I’ve been to New Orleans a couple of times, I’ve never been to Jazzfest where I understand quite a great time can be had by all.  I found this recipe from a past Jazzfest and made some adjustments to it.
  • About the seasoning mix — the cayenne isn’t too strong for those concerned about the heat.  Cayenne leaves a slow and low burn way back in the mouth and not the sharp sting that can be associated with raw peppers.  It’s nice, but if you’re not sure about it, then cut the amount in half.
  • Believe it or not, those shrimp shells actually do add flavor to that chicken broth, so if you can, take the time to add this step.  And the chicken broth?  Although I try different kinds, I nearly always use Superior Touch Better Than Bouillon Base.  If you’re not familiar with it, it comes in an 8 oz. jar and can be found in most grocery stores right where the bouillon cubes are.  It’s about $5 a jar, and like others, a tsp. makes a cup of broth.  The flavor is so excellent, I sip it with some slivered green onions for lunch at times.
  • Andouille is a spicy type of pork sausage often associated with Cajun cooking. The first time I made Jambalaya eons ago, I used kielbasa and it tasted great.  Use what works for you.
  • On the veggies:  the mixture of onion, celery, and bell pepper is called the Holy Trinity and is referenced routinely in dishes originating from New Orleans — like Gumbo.
  • On the chicken:  We love thigh meat, and because we like how it tastes cooked on the bone, it was worth the extra step to keep it together for this dish.  If you’d rather, cook the chicken, let cool and break it into pieces, then add it when you add the shrimp just to heat it.
  • Depending on your oven or other variables (type of pan, fit of lid…), you may need to add more liquid to the rice mixture when you add the shrimp.  Have about 1/4 c. extra broth on hand, or water if you prefer.  Just make sure it’s very hot before you add it.
  • Have fun mixing up the ingredients and making it your own!

Bone-in chicken thighs used in this recipe...

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Erin January 20, 2009

This was a hard post to read because I have been craving Jambalaya like crazy! I will have to make this version very soon!

Reply

Logan January 20, 2009

Maybe it’s because Mardi Gras is just around the corner or maybe it’s just the time of year, but I recently made Jambalaya and I have read several blogs where they have made it too! Yours looks great and I agree; Cajun food is so easy and versitile. Now I’m hungry… so much for my resolution…

Reply

Ben January 21, 2009

Hmmmm, jambalaya. I’ve only had it once before and now looking at your pics I am hungry again, and I just had breakfast :-p

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Lo! January 21, 2009

We have a tendency to be on the same wavelength, but I’ve got to admit that I’m STUNNED by this one. We had jambalaya for dinner last night as well (Am posting tonight!)! Best one-pot dinner ever.
Your version looks fantastic… I like the addition of the herbs de provence to the creole seasoning. I’ll bet that adds some interesting notes!

Reply

Donald January 21, 2009

You have to love a great dish like jambalaya. It is such the comfort food.

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grace January 21, 2009

i feel like i’m in new orleans from simply seeing your pictures…too bad i’m in ny instead. toss out the shrimp and i’m all over it. :)
meanwhile, of course i voted for you–you’re a champ. :)

Reply

Judy January 21, 2009

Your Jambalaya looks wonderful!!! The shrimp shell really do add so much flavor. Everytime we have shrimp we save the shells in a freezer bag and freeze them for the next time we need some shrimp stock!

Reply

Awake In Rochester January 21, 2009

MMM! Um, when are you inviting me for dinner? ;)

Reply

Andrea January 21, 2009

We were channeling each other the day we made this. Scary, huh? Yours looks great!

Reply

Karen @ Mignardise January 21, 2009

I’ve been thinking about making jambalaya , so I was glad to see this recipe. I also clicked back to the crab/andouille recipe and that sounds great
too. That led me to your post about about Joanne Chang’s muffins and Fine Cooking. That’s my absolute favorite magazine, worth every penny, but everything I’ve ever made from it turns out beautifully. Good luck with the contest – you have my vote!

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Peter January 22, 2009

There’s somethin’ magical about sausage and seafood…I’m jumpin’ for Jambalaya!

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MyKitchenInHalfCups January 23, 2009

This would be such good eating tonight. Most beautiful Kelly.

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Kevin January 30, 2009

That looks really tasty!

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Dorothy June 27, 2009

Thank you for your clear, inspiring and delicious recipe.
I cooked a pot of this up last night for my friends and we (and our full bellies) were very happy with the results!

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