Cajun Jambalaya.

Cajun Jambalaya.


Is this really Cajun jambalaya? I don't know. Unfortunately, I don't know much about Cajun or Creole cooking, nor have I ever had the pleasure of traveling to Louisiana. I love to cook and eat, but honestly I don't have the most sophisticated palate, and I don't have any formal culinary training. I'm not sure that I could really distinguish between the two, and if I could I probably wouldn't be able to easily articulate the differences. I don't think that Cajun jambalaya generally includes tomatoes, but this version does. It leaves out shrimp and green bell peppers, which are usually staples in most jambalayas. And though this doesn't belong in any "true" jambalaya, I squirt in a little ketchup, just because. At the end of the day, it's just deeply flavorful, wonderfully comforting, perfectly spicy home cooking - whatever you want to call it. I'm calling it "Cajun" because Emeril does, and the recipe is adapted from his

Cajun Jambalaya

1 boneless skinless chicken breast, diced
2 tablespoons seasoning mix, recipe follows (approximate)
3 tablespoons olive oil (approximate)
1 large sweet onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
4 ribs celery, diced
8 cloves garlic, minced
1 tomato, seeded and diced
3 bay leaves
2 tsp. hot sauce, such as Frank's
1 ½ cups rice
 4 cups chicken stock (you may need just a bit more)
24 ounces Andouille sausage, sliced (approximate - I used 10 links of Johnsonville brand, pictured below)
1 to 2 tablespoons ketchup
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
Parsley for serving (optional)


Season chicken with about a tablespoon of the seasoning mix and saute with a bit of olive oil in a small pan until just fully cooked. Set aside. 

In a large saute pan over medium-high heat, combine the onion, bell pepper, celery, garlic, tomato, bay leaves, and hot sauce, and saute with a little olive oil until the vegetables soften. Season with a tablespoon of the seasoning mix. 

Stir in the rice and then slowly add in the chicken stock. Bring to a boil, and then reduce the heat to medium. Cook until the rice absorbs most of the liquid and becomes tender, stirring occasionally (about 15 minutes). 

Add in the chicken and sausage, and a splash or two more of the chicken stock (if necessary). 

Continue to cook about 10 minutes more, until the rice is completely done. If the rice seems to be a bit hard, it can be helpful to put a lid (or a baking sheet) over the pan for these final 10 minutes of cooking. 

Add in the ketchup, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with parsley (if using) and serve. 

Seasoning Mix

2 tsp. paprika

2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. dried thyme

Thoroughly combine all spices. (Makes a bit more than you'll probably actually use for this recipe.)



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