Jambalaya is a tasty spicy rice dish with a variety of vegetables, meats and sea food. It originates from the European sector of New Orleans, Louisiana. Louisiana's history brims with different peoples and cultures, all of whom claim roles in jambalaya's delicious creation: Spaniards, Frenchmen, Creoles, Cajuns,Africans ... Not long after the Spaniards arrived on the scene, jambalaya made its first appearance in the 1760's. The dish has both Spanish and French influence. It is believed that they were attempting to make Spanish Paella, but saffron was not easily available in the U.S.A. at the time, so they substituted saffron with using tomatoes instead. The word Jambalaya is said to be a combination of Gambon, which means ham in French, and Aya, which means rice in African.
Today there is a Jambalaya Festival and a World Champion Jambalaya Cooking contest held annually in Gonzales, Louisiana, which attracts cooks who have spent years perfecting the seasoning of this dish. The annual festival started back in 1968, and the governor proclaimed Gonzales, Jambalaya Capital of the World. It is commonly cooked at church fairs, political rallies, weddings, family reunions and more. Often, the dish is prepared out doors in large black pots.
Typical ingredients in Jambalaya are ham, chicken, sausage, pork, shrimp and oysters, rice, garlic, onion, pepper and other spices. Sometimes two or three of the meats are included, sometimes more. Over time the dish has evolved into many variations, but primarily there are two types of Jambalaya; Cajun (no tomatoes) and Creole (with tomatoes).
The recipe I use is with tomatoes (Creole) and have chicken, sausage, a little bacon and shrimp/jumbo shrimp. I also add green and red bell pepper.
Here is how you make it:
1. Cut the chicken thighs into bite size pieces and season with salt and pepper.
2. Take the casing of the sausage and slice it.
3. Cut the bacon into 1/4 inch pieces.
4. Slice the celery and chop the onion and bell peppers. Get the dried spices ready.
5. On high heat, heat a large pot until hot, then reduce the heat to medium.
6. Add the butter, bacon and sausage and cook while stirring for 2-3 minutes.
7. Add the chicken and cook for 5 minutes or until it has changed color to light brown.
8. Add the chopped onion and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the rest of the ingredients with the exception of the last three (shrimp, fresh thyme and green scallions). Stir and increase the temperature to high and bring to a boil. Let it boil on high for a minute, then reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook on low for 25 minutes.
Meanwhile peel and de-vein the shrimps and season with salt and pepper. Slice the scallions and take the fresh thyme leaves off the stems (about one teaspoon).
After 25 minutes, take the lid off the Jambalaya pot and mix in the shrimp, scallions and fresh thyme. Turn off the heat and let it continue to cook in the hot pot uncovered for 10 minutes. Fluff the jambalaya and serve.
Here is what you need:
2 cups rice
1 tbsp. butter
1 lb. skinless boneless chicken thighs, cubed and seasoned with salt and pepper
4 slices bacon, chopped
14 oz. Andouille sausage, casing removed and sliced
1 medium onion, chopped
3 celery ribs, sliced
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 red bel pepper, chopped
2 bay leaves
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (I use 1/2 cause we like it hot)
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. cumin
2 ½ tsp. paprika or Pimenton de la Vera
3/4 tsp. Celery salt
3/4 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 14 oz. can of diced tomatoes in juice
1 14 oz. chicken broth
Coarse salt and pepper to season shrimp and chicken
1/2 lbs. raw shrimp, skin and veins removed and seasoned with salt and pepper
1 bunch chopped scallions (for garnish)
4-6 Fresh Thyme Chopped (for garnish)
Directions: Heat a large pot to high heat until it is hot, then reduce the heat to medium. Add the butter, bacon and sausage to the pot and cook while stirring for 2-3 minutes, then add the chicken and cook while stirring for about 5 minutes until brown. Add the chopped onion and cook for 10 minutes while stirring occasionally. Add the rest of the ingredients with the exception of the last three (shrimp, fresh thyme and green scallions). Stir and increase the temperature to high and bring to a boil. Let it boil on high for a minute, then reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook for 25 minutes. After 25 minutes, take the lid off and mix in the shrimp, scallions and fresh thyme. Turn off the heat and let it continue to cook in the hot pot uncovered for 10 minutes. Fluff the jambalaya and serve.