Monday, March 26, 2012

Cajun Jambalaya

Wow this recipe has been sitting on my computer for so long I can't even remember when I first came across it! I've never actually had jambalaya before but every time I have heard of it, it sounded so delicious: chicken, shrimp, sausage, rice, and veggies all mixed together in a large pot and then seasoned with flavorful Cajun spices...what's not to love. So obviously when I found a recipe for this wonderful creation by none other than Emeril Lagasse I thought to try it out, especially after reading rave reviews.

The jambalaya turned out mouth-wateringly delicious with the perfect amount of heat that was present, but not overwhelming. I didn't exactly follow the directions to a T, improvising a little here and there, but I was extremely pleased with the results. Although the recipe provided instructions on how to make your own creole seasoning I decided to just go and buy some from the store...much easier and certain reviews complained that it was a little too salty. Also, I inadvertently chopped up a bunch of carrots before realizing that they weren't called for in the recipe, but since I had already made the effort I dumped them into the pot. Lastly, I couldn't find Andouille sausage at the grocery store so I used Chorizo instead. Even though I didn't make "Emeril's Jambalaya" in the end I think I hit all of the necessary notes and produced a result that my family really enjoyed.

Cajun Jambalaya
Note: This is the original recipe with a few of my additions and some changes to cooking directions.
  • 400 grams (about 30) pre-cooked shrimp
  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into pieces
  • 4 medium sized Andouille or Chorizo sausage
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2-3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 large bell pepper, chopped
  • 2-3 carrots, chopped
  • 1 14 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 3-4 bay leaves
  • 3 tbsp Cajun seasoning (plus some extra if you want in the end)
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp hot sauce
  • 1 1/2 cup rice
  • 3-4 cups chicken stock (depending on if using white rice or brown)
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Combine the chicken with two tablespoons of the Cajun seasoning and work in the seasoning so that the chicken is evenly coated.
  2. In a large pot over high heat, heat up some olive oil and then put in the sausage. Cook the sausage until the outside has browned, about 2-3 minutes, making sure to flip it so that all sides are even. The sausage doesn't have to cook through, just brown.
  3. Remove the sausage from the pot and cook the chicken pieces, also making sure to brown them but don't worry about cooking them through. Once browned, remove from the pot.
  4. Drain the oil and any excess fat from the pot and return it to high heat with some more olive oil. Saute the onions until translucent, about 3-5 minutes, then add the celery, carrots, and bell pepper, stirring well to completely mix them in.
  5. Add the garlic, tomatoes, bay leaves, Worcestershire and hot sauces and mix through.
  6. Stir in the rice and slowly add the chicken broth. If using white rice, start with 2 1/2 cups. If using brown rice, start with 3 1/2 cups. 
  7. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook the rice for 20-25 minutes, allowing the rice to absorb the liquid. Stir occasionally and, if needed, add more liquid if the rice has not become tender.
  8. Meanwhile, in a separate skillet heat the shrimp on high heat for about 1-2 minutes, making sure all of the excess water drains from them. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the shrimp to a small bowl and mix with the remaining tablespoon of Cajun seasoning.
  9. While the rice is cooking, finish preparing the sausage by slicing it into rounds.
  10. Once the rice is just tender, add all of the chicken, shrimp, and sausage to the pot and mix in thoroughly. Continue to cook until the meat is done, about 8-10 minutes. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and Cajun seasoning.

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