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.
I served this tasty dish for our Mardi Gras dinner followed by our essential celebratory King Cake for dessert. It was festive and delicious.
I admittedly used Cajun seasoning instead of Creole Seasoning- gasp! After making the dish, I read about the similarities and differences between the Cajun and Creole cuisines. Both cuisines use a roux, the “holy trinity” composed of onions, bell peppers, and celery sautéed in oil, and both are from Southern Louisiana. Cajun food incorporates more smoked meats and rice, such as jambalaya, and is from more rural parts of the region whereas Creole cuisine, such as étouffée, is from New Orleans. I included the recipe for the homemade Creole seasoning below. (for next time!)
This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Vallery Lomas. I modified the cooking times and doubled the garlic. I also used store-bought seasoning and omitted the dried basil. The shrimp was cooked perfectly.
Yield: Serves 4
For the Creole Seasoning: (Optional)
1tablespoon smoked paprika
1tablespoon chili powder
1teaspoon onion powder
1teaspoon garlic powder
1/2teaspoon cayenne pepper (or less, if desired)
1/2teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2teaspoon black pepper
For the Shrimp:
1pound shrimp, peeled and deveined (I used large tail-on shrimp)
2teaspoons homemade or store-bought Creole seasoning, divided (I used Slap ya Mama)
1/4cup unsalted butter (1/2 stick / 4 T)
1/3cup (5 T) all-purpose flour
1medium or large yellow onion, finely chopped (I used a food processor)
2celery ribs, thinly sliced
1green bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped
4 to 8garlic cloves, minced (I used a food processor)
1(15-ounce) can tomato sauce (no salt added)
1 to 2teaspoons hot sauce, to taste (optional) (I used Frank’s Red Hot)
1teaspoon granulated sugar
1/2teaspoon dried thyme (or 1/2 T fresh thyme)
1/2teaspoon dried oregano (or 1/2 T fresh oregano)
1/2teaspoon dried basil (or 1/2 T fresh basil)
2dried bay leaves
fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 scallions, thinly sliced (about 1/4cup)
1/4cup chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves and tender stems
steamed rice, for serving (I used white Basmati rice)
Make the optional Creole seasoning: Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and stir together. The seasoning makes about 1/4 cup; store it in a closed container in a cool, dry place. (Only 2 teaspoons are used in this dish.)
Pat the shrimp dry with paper towels. Then toss the raw shrimp with 1 teaspoon Creole seasoning and set aside.
In a Dutch oven or large, heavy skillet with a lid, melt the butter over medium-low heat. (I used a low and wide enameled cast iron pot.)
Sprinkle the flour on top and stir constantly with a wooden spoon until a roux the color of peanut butter forms, about 5 to 10 minutes. Watch carefully- if the roux burns it cannot be saved.
Add the onion, celery, and bell pepper, increase the heat to medium and cook until softened, stirring occasionally, about 5 to 8 minutes.
Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 minute.
Stir in 1/3 cup water, then the tomato sauce, hot sauce (if using), sugar, thyme, oregano, basil (if using), bay leaves, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper and the remaining 1 teaspoon Creole seasoning. Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low.
Cover and simmer for 10 minutes until thickened, stirring occasionally to make sure that the bottom doesn’t burn. (If needed, add more water.)
Once the stew has thickened, add the seasoned shrimp and simmer until opaque and cooked through, about 5 minutes, turning each piece halfway through the cooking time. Taste and adjust seasoning.
Remove from the heat and let stand for 10 minutes, uncovered.
Serve over steamed rice sprinkled with sliced scallions and chopped parsley.
Charleston, South Carolina is a very special place for me. As a tribute, I make a lot of Southern food. 🙂 I also make shrimp and grits as part of our traditional Easter celebration.
We were lucky enough to travel back to Charleston recently and we brought home a couple of different types of grits. The fresh from South Carolina grits really made this dish extra special. I also baked the grits for the first time and the results were amazing. I used a blend of stone ground white and yellow grits for this dish, but, I also have special pink “unicorn grits” from Millers All Day which I’ll be sure to share with you in another dish.
This dish is from a Food and Wine “staff-favorite” recipe, contributed by Isaac Toups of Toups South in New Orleans. It was absolutely incredible. (We need to go to his restaurant!) It may be quite difficult to try a new version next year. I served it with roasted asparagus. Lovely.
Yield: Serves 4
1 pound peeled and deveined tail-on raw large shrimp
2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning (such as Tony Chachere’s)(I used Slap ya Mama)
4 cups whole milk
1/2 cup unsalted butter (4 ounces), divided
1 cup uncooked freshly ground grits (such as Bellegarde Heirloom Grits)(I used stone ground yellow & white grits)
3 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup yellow mustard seeds
1 medium-size (8-ounce) green tomato, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (I substituted a red tomato and it was still delicious!)
1/2 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
3-4 diagonally sliced scallions (about 1/4 cup)
Preheat oven to 200°F, preferably on convection.
Toss together shrimp and Cajun seasoning in a medium bowl. Cover; refrigerate until ready to use.
Place milk and 1/4 cup butter in a medium ovenproof saucepan. Bring to a vigorous simmer over medium, stirring occasionally.
Gradually add grits, whisking constantly. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook, whisking constantly, until mixture thickens slightly and grits are evenly suspended in milk, about 6 minutes.
Cover saucepan; transfer to preheated oven. Bake until grits are tender, 1 hour to 1 hour and 30 minutes. Remove from oven; stir in 2 teaspoons salt and remaining 1/4 cup butter. Cover to keep warm until ready to use. (I put the pot in a warming oven.)
While the grits are in the oven, stir together vinegar, 3/4 cup water, sugar, and remaining 1 1/4 teaspoons salt in a saucepan; bring to a boil over high.
Stir in mustard seeds. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer, stirring occasionally, until seeds are tender, about 35 minutes.
Add tomato and bell pepper; cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender and mixture has thickened, 14 to 16 minutes. Remove from heat.
Remove shrimp from refrigerator. Heat oil in a large cast-iron skillet over high until smoking.
Add shrimp to skillet in a single layer; cook until opaque and lightly charred, about 1 minute and 30 seconds per side.
To serve, divide grits among 4 bowls. Top evenly with shrimp and chowchow; sprinkle with sliced scallion.
Note: The chowchow can be made up to a week in advance.
This quick recipe results in a full-flavored replica of a classic version that has simmered for hours. I served it to my family for our past two Mardi Gras feasts- followed by a mandatory King Cake, of course! 🙂
This recipe was adapted from David Guas, a New Orleans native and chef-owner of Bayou Coffee Bar and Eatery in Arlington, Virginia, via The Washington Post.
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
8 ounces smoked, cooked pork sausage
2 15-oz cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 T canola oil
1 medium green bell pepper, stemmed and seeded, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 medium sweet onion, diced
7-8 scallions, sliced (about 1/2 cup)
6 cloves garlic, sliced
3 cups chicken stock
3 fresh thyme sprigs or 1 tsp dried thyme leaves
3 bay leaves
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper
2-3 stems flat-leaf parsley, leaves minced
about 1-2 tsp coarse salt, to taste
1 cup white Basmati rice cooked in 2 cups chicken stock, for serving
hot sauce, for serving, optional
Cut the sausage in half lengthwise, then slice into half-moons.
Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat.
Add the sausage and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, stirring a few times, so some of its fat renders. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the sausage to a shallow bowl.
Add the diced bell pepper, onion, scallions, and garlic to the rendered fat in the pot; stir to coat.
Increase the heat to medium-high and cook for 2 minutes, stirring, until just softened.
Add the beans, stock, thyme, bay leaves, black and cayenne peppers.
Reduce the heat to medium; cover and cook for 25 minutes.
Uncover and remove the bay leaves and thyme sprig stems with a slotted spoon.
Using the back of a wooden spoon, mash about 1 cup of the beans against the side of the pot, or until desired thickness is achieved.
Return the sausage to the pot. When heated through, stir in the parsley.
Serve hot, over cooked rice, with hot sauce, as desired. I have served it in individual bowls topped with a scoop of rice or in a serving dish over rice.