Jambalaya ~ Get your Cajun on!

Jambalaya always reminds me of good times at a Cajun music festival they used to have at Penns Landing in Philadelphia called “Jam on the River“. We used to go every year on Memorial Day weekend and would have a blast. Authentic Cajun food, zydeco bands playing all day on three stages, bead throwing (I’m sure there’s a proper term for that), craft stands, and activities for the kids – all with a nice breeze from the Delaware River. I’m not sure of the exact year when they changed the festival from Cajun to rock music, but it was about 9 or 10 years ago and it was never the same since. Don’t get me wrong ~ I enjoyed the new music but I really missed getting my yearly jambalaya fix and hearing those zydeco bands. It was a piece of the south brought up for us “Northeasterners” and we loved it. (According to the upcoming events at Penns Landing in Philly, it looks as if they don’t even have the Jam on the River anymore.) Anyway, the event handed out a recipe for jambalaya many years ago, which I used today with some changes. {Recipe follows photo instruction.}

It’s a very easy recipe, but there is a lot of chopping. You only need one pot, so that’s a plus! Make sure it’s a nice big one, like a stock pot. The recipe makes a lot, and you’ll need the extra room to stir it all up. I use my 8 qt. stock pot.

First you want to brown your meat. I use chicken thighs, andouille sausage, and shrimp in my jambalaya. You only want to brown the chicken and the sausage – the shrimp goes in at the end. I make the “brown jambalaya”, not the “red” kind.

Chop up your “trinity” (onions, celery, and green bell pepper) and some fresh garlic.

Using this gadget really helps when you need 4 cups of chopped onions!
(I can’t remember the name of this thing, but it comes in handy.)

(Plus giving the thing a big whack gets out some frustrations!)

Cook the veggies in the same pot in which you browned the meat, using the fat rendered from the sausage. (There’s a lot of veggies so you need to add a little more oil as well.) When they get soft and the onions are translucent, season with a little bit of salt. Return chicken and sausage to pot with the veggies and stir to combine. Add the Kitchen Bouquet and creole seasoning; stir well. Add chicken broth and bring to a boil. Add long grain rice and return to boil, cover, reduce heat, and simmer.

Near the end of the simmering, add in cooked shrimp and chopped green onions to heat through. If you have raw shrimp, just give it a few extra minutes at the end of the simmering time. Taste and adjust seasonings to your liking. I’d love to add a little more creole seasoning than I have listed in the recipe, but I have to think of the children! 🙂

1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil, plus 1 or 2 tbsp.
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut up into bite-sized pieces
1/2 lb. Andouille (Cajun) sausage. cut up into bite-sized pieces
1/2 lb. cooked shrimp, added in at the end

(I like to use a combination of all three, but you don’t have to. You need about 2 lbs. of meat altogether. I recommend using the chicken and at least some type of smoky flavored sausage or ham. The Andouille sausage is Cajun flavored so I hope you can find that.)

2 cups celery (about 5 stalks), chopped
2 cups green bell peppers (2 really large ones), seeded and chopped
4 cups onions (about 4 medium sized ones), chopped
1 tbsp. fresh garlic, chopped

2 teaspoons Kitchen Bouquet (little bottle found by the gravy stuff)
2 heaping teaspoons creole seasoning (I use Tony Chachere’s)
5 cups chicken broth
4 cups uncooked long grain rice, like Uncle Ben’s
1 cup green onions (about 1 bunch), chopped

Chop up chicken thighs and sausage into bite-sized pieces. In a large stock pot (8 qt. is ideal) add 1/4 cup oil. Brown meat in oil over medium high heat, stirring occasionally. Remove meat with a slotted spoon and set aside. Leave the oil and meat drippings in the pot. There will be about 1 tablespoon or so. Add the onions, peppers, celery, and garlic to pot and add another 1-2 tablespoon of oil. Cook veggies over medium heat until soft and the onions are translucent. Season with a little bit of salt.

Return chicken and sausage to pot and stir together with the veggies. Add 2 tsp. Kitchen Bouquet and 2 heaping tsp. creole seasoning and stir well to combine. Add 5 cups chicken broth, stir, and bring to a boil. Add in the 4 cups of uncooked rice, reduce heat, cover and simmer. After 10 minutes, stir completely from top to bottom. Dig deep – don’t let the guys on the bottom have all the fun! Put cover back on and simmer another 15 minutes. (Total simmer time is 25 minutes.) Add cooked shrimp and green onions and stir well. Heat through. Taste and adjust seasoning if you like it hotter. (Use the creole seasoning in place of salt and pepper.)

Like I said, this makes a lot so it would be perfect for a big family meal. Hope you enjoy it.
Happy Chopping and Stirring Y’all!


7 thoughts on “Jambalaya ~ Get your Cajun on!

  1. I’m always cooking what you have on here!
    My friends are always like what are you making next. I’m going to start charging lol Thanks Micha!

  2. So, no tomatoes, huh? I didn’t realize there was a brown kind of jambalaya and a red kind. I must have the recipe for the red kind because it has almost all the same ingredients except you throw in some tomatoes. I’ll have to try this version — you always make such delicious stuff!

    Also, I need that onion whacker. I’m apparently a delicate flower and my hands burn when I chop onions without gloves.

    • I didn’t know there was a red kind until I ordered it in a restaurant and thought, “Hey, this isn’t what we used to eat at the Jam on the River!” The recipe I used tells you how to make either the brown or the red. I think the red is more saucy, right?

      I love my veggie whacker! I will message you the info because I’m not allowed to put the link in here. 🙂

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