My father-in-law makes jambalaya year round. I always enjoy it! I typically make it once a year after finding a new version to try for our celebratory Mardi Gras meal.
I was drawn to this recipe because it utilizes a slow cooker- and mine is underutilized. I learned that I should stick with my typical cooking methods! I significantly extended the cooking time for the rice, probably because I didn’t use parboiled rice. Oops. It was a little bit of a struggle. In the end, the rice did absorb all of the wonderful flavors of the dish. It was worth the wait!
The recipe was adapted from food52.com, contributed by Kristina Vanni. I used kielbasa instead of andouille sausage, chicken thigh instead of chicken breast meat, and modified the method and proportions. I loved that this version incorporated chicken, sausage, and shrimp.
We ended the feast with our annual King Cake, a family favorite.
Yield: Serves 6 to 8
2 T extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 large green bell pepper, chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
6 garlic cloves, minced
3 T tomato paste
1 T chopped fresh thyme
1 T Creole seasoning (I used Slap ya Mama)
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 bay leaves
3 cups chicken stock
1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 (12 ounce) package andouille or kielbasa sausage, cut in half lengthwise and then into 1/4-inch half-moons
1 1/2 cups uncooked long-grain white rice, preferably parboiled (I used Basmati)
1 pound raw large shrimp, peeled and deveined (I used 21-25 count per pound)
sliced scallions, for garnish
Louisiana-style hot sauce, optional, for serving
In a large skillet or sauté pan over medium to medium-high heat, heat the 1 tablespoon of oil until shimmering. Add the onion, green bell pepper, and celery. Cook until the vegetables are softened. (Alternatively, set the slow cooker to the sauté setting and complete these steps.)
Add the garlic and cook until fragrant.
Add the tomato paste, fresh thyme, Creole seasoning, salt, pepper, and bay leaves. Stir to combine. Remove from heat and transfer to the slow cooker.
In the same pan over medium to medium-high heat, heat the remaining tablespoon of oil. Add the sliced sausage and cook until lightly browned on both sides. Transfer to the slow cooker.
Add the cubed chicken to the skillet and cook until lightly browned; transfer to the slow cooker.
Add the chicken stock and diced tomatoes. Stir to combine.
Cover and cook on low for 4 to 6 hours, or on high for 2 to 3 hours. (I cooked the dish on high for 3 hours.)
If cooking on high and using long grain white rice that is not parboiled, add the rice to the pot after 1 1/2 hours. (I used Basmati rice and it took 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours on high to be fully cooked.)(If using parboiled rice, add it to the pot 20 to 30 minutes before the end of the cooking time.)
Once the rice is tender, add the shrimp to the slow cooker, stir, and cook on high for 2 to 5 minutes more, stirring once or twice, until the shrimp are pink throughout and are fully cooked.
To serve, top with chopped scallions for garnish. Serve with Louisiana hot sauce for additional heat, as desired.
My entire family really looks forward to our Mardi Gras dinner. In all honesty, it’s because the meal is topped off with our traditional freshly-baked King Cake. Just writing about it makes me want some. 🙂
I typically make a Cajun main dish- usually shrimp jambalaya. This chicken and sausage version was incredible. My mother-in-law had just given us tons of fabulous Polish kielbasa as well. I was happy that my husband agreed to “sacrifice” it for our special dinner as it really added to the finished dish. This recipe was adapted from Food and Wine, contributed by Ian Knauer.
Okay… back to my belated Thanksgiving feast posts…
I struggle selecting a “stuffing” for our Thanksgiving Menu. This version was simple and perfect. I loved that it was a traditional Southern recipe and that it incorporated an unsweetened cast iron skillet cornbread.
This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Kim Severson. I used medium grind cornmeal. The cornbread is made the night before so that it can harden slightly. I let the cubed white bread sit out overnight as well. We ate it without incorporating meat, but this base recipe could easily be modified to include sausage or even nuts and/or apples. The author suggested eating leftovers mixed with shredded leftover turkey as well.
Yield: Serves 8 to 10
For the Cornbread:
4 tablespoons/56 grams butter or bacon drippings
2 cups/340 grams yellow cornmeal, medium grind (use the freshest, best quality you can find)
1 ½ teaspoons coarse salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 large eggs
2 cups/473 milliliters buttermilk, preferably full fat (I used low-fat)
For the Dressing:
3 cups soft white bread, crusts removed and torn or cut into 1-inch pieces (do not pack)
½ cup butter (1 stick), plus more for the pan
2 cups chopped sweet onions
1 ½ cups chopped celery (4 or 5 stalks)
1 ½ teaspoons coarse salt
1 ¼ tablespoons finely chopped fresh sage
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
¾ teaspoon ground black pepper
4 to 5 cups rich chicken or turkey stock, preferably homemade
3/4 pound pork sausage (such as spicy Italian sausage, fresh andouille or spicy Southern-style sausage)
2 1/2 cups of toasted pecans, chopped
Make the cornbread: Heat oven to 450 degrees, preferably on convection.
Put butter in an 11-inch skillet. Cast-iron is best here, but any ovenproof skillet will do. Heat butter in oven for about 5 to 7 minutes, or until butter has melted and is just starting to brown.
While butter melts, whisk together cornmeal, salt and baking powder.
In another small bowl, lightly beat eggs, then add buttermilk and stir until mixture is combined.
Pour egg mixture into dry ingredients and stir well.
Remove hot pan from oven, pour butter into batter and stir until batter looks uniform.
Pour batter back into the pan and bake for 20 minutes or until the top has begun to just brown.
Remove cornbread and let it cool on a rack.
Tear or cut it into large pieces and place in a large bowl. Let it sit out overnight to dry out slightly.
Prepare the dressing: Heat oven to 350 degrees. Combine cornbread and white bread in a large bowl, tossing to mix, and breaking cornbread into smaller pieces.
Melt butter in a large skillet, and add onions, celery and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Sauté until vegetables have softened, about 6 minutes.
Add vegetables to bread mixture and combine.
Lightly beat eggs and add to bowl.
Sprinkle in herbs, remaining 1 teaspoon salt and the pepper and toss together.
Add 4 cups broth and stir well.
Using your hands, work the mixture to get a very lumpy, thick, batter-like consistency.
Add another cup of stock if needed. The mixture should be very wet and pourable but without standing liquid.
Butter a 2-quart ovenproof dish. (such as an 8-by-11-inch baking dish. A deeper vessel could take longer to bake; a more shallow dish less time.)
Pour the mixture into the baking dish and bake until dressing puffs slightly and has browned well around the edges, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
If you have drippings from a roasted turkey, spoon some over the top about 30 minutes into the baking time.
To Add Sausage: Brown 3/4 pound pork sausage in a pan, crumbling it into small pieces as it cooks. Add to the bread mixture along with the vegetables.
To Include Nuts: Add 2 1/2 cups of toasted pecans, chopped, to the vegetable and bread mixture.