In honor of Mardi Gras, I decided to make a very spicy jambalaya for dinner! For anyone who doesn’t know, Jambalaya is a Louisiana Creole dish of Spanish and French influence and as it turns out, there are three different versions. THAT I didn’t know! The “red Creole jambalaya” is the most common version made with tomatoes (I made this one), the Cajun is a darker version with no tomatoes, and the least common is the “white jambalaya,” where the meat and vegetables cook separately from the rice. I hope I didn’t bore you just now! I thought the information was very interesting. If you didn’t, just keep reading…it will get better. With a fair amount of prep time needed, including the search for the perfect kosher substitutions for bacon and smoked ham, jambalaya is certainly not a quick-fix dinner, but it is worth every minute.
Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya Ingredients:
makes 6 servings
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 cups smoked turkey (replacement for ham and bacon), cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 sausages (I used spicy chorizo), cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 cup onion, coarsely chopped
1 celery stalk, coarsely chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, coarsely chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, coarsely chopped
2 large skinless boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 Tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
1 Tbsp smoked paprika
1/2 Tbsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 14-ounce cans diced tomatoes
2 4-ounce cans green chiles
1-1/2 cups chicken broth
2 cups long grain rice
1 cup green onions, chopped
chopped fresh parsley for garnish
position rack in bottom third of oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees
While Justin bathed the kids and got them ready for bed, I chopped up the peppers, onions, celery and meats. It didn’t take too long, but I wanted to make sure everything was ready before I got going on the jambalaya. Once you start cooking the meats, you don’t want to walk away from the stove, so I wanted to have everything prepared and ready to go.
All of the cooking happens now: I cooked the turkey in a large pot with olive oil over medium-high heat until brown but not yet crisp, stirring often for 5-8 minutes. I added the chorizo and sautéed the meats until they started to brown, about 5 more minutes. I added the prepared onions, celery, and bell peppers and cooked the vegetables until they began to soften, stirring occasionally, for another 5 minutes. I added the chicken and cooked until the outside of the chicken turned white, stirring often, for 5 more minutes. I then mixed in the paprika, thyme, chili powder and cayenne, and let it cook for 1 minute. Last, but certainly not least, I added the diced tomatoes, chiles, then mixed in the rice. At this point, you can taste the broth and decide if you want more heat. I added a little more paprika and cayenne at the end.
I brought the jambalaya to a boil, covered the pot, and placed it in the oven to bake for 45 minutes. When it came out of the oven, the rice was tender and the liquids were mostly absorbed. I mixed in the chopped green onions and garnished with parsley.
I’ve never been to New Orleans but it sure felt like I was celebrating Mardi Gras in my kitchen! I can’t wait for the leftovers, especially since I made a dish that serves 6 people and only Justin and I ate it fresh out of the oven for dinner. Wow, I really need to take a trip to the South…even if only for the food!