Whenever I think of Jambalaya the first thing that comes to mind is the Seinfeld episode about the Soup Nazi. Newman was obsessed with his Jambalaya and always said “Jambalayaaa!” with such enthusiasm. The other thing I think of is the Hank Williams song…
Jambalaya, a-crawfish pie and-a file gumbo
Cause tonight I’m gonna see my machez amio
Pick guitar, fill fruit jar and be gay-oh
Son of a gun, well have big fun on the bayou.
Good times! So, I had some kielbasa in the fridge and shrimp and chicken in the freezer, and well, that’s Jambalaya. There are two main types of Jambalaya, Cajun and Creole. The Cajun style does not have tomatoes, whereas the Creole style does have tomatoes. Other than that, the ingredients are pretty much the same. I just happened to have everything on hand so I cooked up a nice big batch for dinner.
Traditionally, the rice is incorporated into and cooked in the Jambalaya. I prefer my rice on the side as I like to control the ratio of liquid to rice and sometimes I find the rice can get mushy when it is cooked in the dish.
I started by getting all the veggies prepped and chopped and I was singing Jambalaya the whole time. (Goodbye Joe, me gotta go, me oh my oh…) I also sliced the kielbasa, cut up the chicken and peeled and deveined the shrimp. (Me gotta go pole the pirogue down the bayou…) The shrimp were just gorgeous! I picked up 2 lbs when I went to the NC coast last month. It’s hard to beat fresh NC shrimp and when I stopped at the fish market, the boat that had brought these shrimp in was still there so these were literally “fresh off the boat”. I also had a few jars of home canned tomatoes from last year’s garden so I grabbed one of those also.
Add 1/2 tbsp. of the creole seasoning to the chicken and mix well. Do the same with the shrimp.
Now let’s get cooking. Add olive oil to a hot pan, once heated, add the onions, celery and yellow bell pepper.
Sauté for 2-3 minutes. Then add the chopped garlic.
Sauté another 1-2 minutes then move the veggies to outside of pan and add chicken and sausage to middle of pan.
Stir well; cover and cook on medium low for 15 minutes. Remove lid and add shrimp.
Stir the shrimp into the sauce and cook an additional 3-4 minutes until shrimp are cooked through. Do not over cook the shrimp or they will be tough and stringy. Remove from heat and serve immediately with cooked rice.
Creole Jambalaya Recipe
- ½ lb. medium or large shrimp, peeled and deveined
- ½ lb. chicken, cut into 1” dice
- 4 ounces Andouille or Kielbasa sausage, sliced
- 1 tablespoon Creole seasoning
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 cup onion, medium dice
- 1/2 cup yellow bell pepper, medium dice (or green bell pepper)
- 1/3 cup celery, medium dice
- 4 large cloves garlic, chopped
- 14 oz. can diced tomatoes or two cups of fresh tomatoes, diced
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Sliced green onions or parsley for garnish
- Cooked rice for serving
In a bowl combine chicken and 1/2 tbsp. of creole seasoning and work in seasoning well. Do the same with the shrimp. In a large saucepan heat oil over medium high heat. Add onion, pepper and celery and sauté 3-4 minutes. Add garlic and sauté another 1-2 minutes. Move the veggies to outside of pan and add chicken and sausage to middle of pan. Cook, while stirring until chicken is browned all over, about five minutes. Add tomatoes, bay leaves, Worcestershire and cayenne pepper. Stir well, cover and cook on medium low for 15 minutes. Remove lid and stir in shrimp. Cook an additional 3-4 minutes until shrimp are cooked through. Season to taste with salt, pepper and Creole seasoning. Remove from heat and serve immediately over cooked rice.