Jambalaya – a classic Southern one-pot dish with bold flavors made easy! Easy enough for a weeknight meal, yet makes a sumptuous meal when entertaining. Simply delicious!
What is jambalaya?
Although it originates from Louisiana, it has French and Spanish roots, the use of spices is reminiscent of what you’ll find in African and Caribbean Cuisine. For those unfamiliar with jambalaya, it is a hearty mix of meat, vegetables, and rice.
The base of the flavor-packed dish is the “holy trinity” which is a combination of onions, bell peppers, and celery. All three are sautéed until fragrant to give the jambalaya wonderful aromatics as well as nutritional value.
Gumbo vs. Jambalaya
Both gumbo and jambalaya are quintessentials to the Southern cuisine. These two are packed with so much proteins like chicken, shrimp, and sausages. But the difference between a gumbo and a jambalaya is that a gumbo is a soup or stew while jambalaya is a rice-based dish – more like biryani, paella or biryani.
Fortunately for your taste buds, the trinity is only the beginning. Every element of this dish is a step towards robust flavor.
This includes cooking the rice in a broth mix to infuse each grain with goodness. They soak everything up resulting in something similar to the rice you would find in paella, hence the Spanish roots.
If you aren’t already sold, I’m going to say I made this super easy so, ANYONE can make this! Yes! The traditional method can be daunting sometimes even for seasoned cooks. But this right here makes it easy enough to execute. I used my foolproof method of cooking rice and chicken. It turns out perfect all the time.
What are the ingredients for jambalaya?
This recipe has shrimp, sausage, and chicken! The chicken and sausage are browned to activate the maillard reaction (caramelizing the sugars in proteins to enhance flavor) prior to adding them to the rice while the shrimp is tossed in with the rice to avoid overcooking.
Once added, all three meld together beautifully to create a series of incredible bites. The shrimp is plump, and a juicy element of the sea, the sausage adds smokiness and the chicken is tender and flavorful. Along with the flavors combining beautifully, the texture variation keeps the palate engaged till the very end.
The best part is the way the flavors play off each other. You get spice, smoke and so much more. The mix is somewhat complex meaning your taste buds will never grow bored.
Serve this up at the dinner table and it will be an instant hit. Also, if you have leftovers, this jambalaya tastes great the following day.
Tips and Notes
- If using larger thighs be sure to use less water or broth. The chicken thighs release liquid. Since I like my rice on the dry side I always go with 2 1/2 cups of water.
- Canned, fresh tomatoes or puree will do just fine.
- You can also use parboiled brown rice instead of white rice.
- Do not cover the pan when you put it in the oven.
Watch How to Make It
- 2½ 3- pound chicken thighs about 5
- Creole Seasoning
- 8 ounce Andouille sausage sliced thick
- 8- oUnce extra large shrimp peeled and deveined.
- 1 medium onion
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 whole bell pepper diced
- 1 stalk celery diced
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme
- 2 cups uncooked rice (I used basmati)
- 8- ounce diced tomato (see notes)
- 2 1/2-3 cups Chicken Stock or Water. (see notes)
- ½ -1 teaspoon chicken bouillon (see notes)
- 1- teaspoon salt or creole salt (adjust to taste)
- 2 - teaspoons paprika
- 1- teaspoon white pepper
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Wash chicken thighs, wipe with a paper towel.
- Sprinkle both sides with generous amount of creole seasoning blend. Or you may use salt and pepper or favorite spice mix
- Add about 2 tablespoons of oil to the skillet or Dutch oven or oven safe pot/pan
- Brown chicken on both sides for about 3 minutes each, be very careful with the chicken, it shouldn’t burn.
- Remove from the pan and set aside
- Remove excess oil from pan and leave approximately about 2-3 tablespoons oil.
- Add onions, thyme, garlic, celery, bell pepper, paprika, white pepper ,bouillon, and sauté until soft but not golden, about 2-3 minutes then add rice, stir for another 2minutes.
- Gently add tomatoes ,Chicken stock, and salt . Place chicken, sausage and shrimp on the bed of rice .Bring to a boil.
- Place in the oven and cook for about 30 -35 minutes until chicken is fully cooked
- Remove let it cool and serve.
How to Make Jambalaya
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F. Wash chicken thighs, wipe with a paper towel. Combine spices and mix well. Sprinkle both sides with generous amount of the spice blend. Or you may use salt and pepper or favorite spice mix.
Add about 2 tablespoons of oil to the skillet or Dutch oven or oven safe pot/pan
Brown chicken on both sides for about 3 minutes each, be very careful with the chicken, it shouldn’t burn.
Then lightly saute sausage for about a minute. Remove and set aside.
Remove excess oil from pan and leave approximately about 3 tablespoons oil. If you do not have enough add some more. Then add onions, thyme, garlic, celery, bell pepper, paprika, white pepper, bouillon and sauté until soft but not golden, about 2-3 minutes.
Then add rice, stir for another 2 minutes.
Gently add tomatoes and Chicken stock and salt
Place chicken, sausage and shrimp on the bed of rice. Bring to a boil. Place in the oven and cook for about 30-35 minutes until chicken is fully cooked.
Remove let it cool and serve warm.