Jambalaya, good ol’ Creole food, is typically thought of as fatty, meaty, and just plain unhealthy. But if you make it yourself, you can control what goes in the pot, adding the good stuff aka more veggies, as you please. It’s so damn delicious, with the variety of textures and flavors. The tenderness of the chicken, juiciness of the sausage,and chewiness of the shrimp make for a unique bite each time you take a spoonful. Such a savory, flavorful dish, I could eat this every day for dinner.
My boyfriend Jeff makes a mean jambalaya. I can’t even compete. Full of chicken, sausage, and shrimp, it’s no wonder the dish is considered one to eat sparingly. But if you think about it, chicken and shrimp are lean meats; it’s just the sausage you have to worry about. And if you load it up with lots of celery, carrots, onion, bell peppers, and jalapenos, well, the dish transforms itself into something not to feel guilty about.
Here is how Jeff makes his jambalaya:
.5lb chicken breast, cut into cubes
12 oz andoullie sausage, sliced into bite-sized pieces
.5lb shrimp, deveined
4 cups chicken stock
28 oz peeled tomatoes (canned)
1 red pepper, chopped into bite-sized pieces
1 green pepper, chopped into bite-sized pieces
4 stalks celery, chopped into bite-sized pieces
3 carrots, chopped into bite-sized pieces
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 large shallot (size of a small onion), chopped finely
5 bay leaves
3 jalapenos, chopped into bite-sized pieces
2 cups multi-grain rice and quinoa mix
dash of soy sauce
red pepper flakes
large stock pot
cutting board and sharp chef’s knife
Jambalaya is one of those dishes that is pretty intuitive to make. If you think about it, the steps should make sense.
1. First saute the sausage in olive until browned. Remove from pan and set aside.
2. Saute the chicken until browned. Remove from pan and set aside.
3. Saute the garlic, shallot/onion, and jalapenos together until fragrant and translucent.
4. Add everything to the pot except for the bell peppers and rice/quinoa. Season to taste, sampling a bit of the broth every so often, adjusting as you please. Cook on medium/low heat for 2-ish hours.
5. Fifteen minutes before you want to eat, add the grains (opt for whole grains rather than white rice) and bell peppers.
6. Voila! Easy peasy like the Big Easy.