Jambalaya Warms The Soul

I want to welcome you to my new blog!  I have a love for cooking and for photography, creating the perfect recipe for a mouth watering and eye popping experience for viewers like you.  As today is a rather cold February day, what better way to warm up, than a nice bowl of Jambalaya.  Just enough spice to warm you from the inside out.  This recipe is guaranteed to be a crowd pleaser, and will fill your house with wonderful aromas.

Here  is what you will need to get started:

1 Tablespoon Oil (I used avocado oil because I love the taste)

1 Tablespoon Unsalted Butter

7 Cups Chicken or Vegetable Broth

2 Tablespoons Tomato Paste

2 Sausage Links Sliced or Cubed

1 Large Chicken Breast Cubed

1/2 lb Medium or Large Uncooked Shrimp Peeled

1 Large Onion

1 Cup Whole Diced Celery

1 Cup Diced Roma Tomatos

1 Red Pepper

1 Green Pepper

4 cloves Garlic Peeled and Diced

1/2 Cup Italian Parsley

1/4 Cup Green Onions

1/2 Large Lemon Juiced

1/4 cup Raw Uncooked Kidney Beans

1/4 cup Raw Uncooked Pinto Beans

3 cups Parboiled or Long Grain Rice

2 Tablespoons Paprika

1/2 Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper

1 Tablespoon Ground Black Pepper

2 Teaspoons Pink Himalayan Sea Salt

1/4 Teaspoon Dried Oregano

2 Sprigs Fresh Thyme

3 Bay Leaves

1 Tsp Worcester Sauce (Optional)


That is just a few ingredients right?  No biggie, you got this!  Here are some step by step instructions on the prep work. The recipe calls for one large chicken breast, two sausage links and 1/2 lb. peeled shrimp, but it is up to you to decide which is your favorite and if you want more or less of one than the other.  You can make this a one pot meal and sauté the meat in the bottom of a stock pot, but I prefer to cook my meat on a shallow frying pan.

I have learned that if meat is cooked in a stock pot it doesn’t have a chance to sear  and lock in the moisture because it is sitting in too much of its own juices.  cooking in a frying pan allows steam to escape and a wide base for the juices to escape.  The key is to sear the meat and lock in the juices to keep it tender.  In order for this to be possible, turn the burner on high and add oil to the pan. Once the oil is hot add the sausages to the pan.  You want to almost blacken the sausages.  This will add a good flavor and color to the rice once it is cooked in its juices. If you are going to use uncooked beans as I did, you will want to start to cook these before anything else.  Fill a medium sized saucepan with water, add your beans and bring to a boil.  The more water in the pot, the less you have to keep an eye on it while it cooks.  If the water evaporates while cooking, you will risk burning your beans and scorching the pan. The beans will need a full two hours to cook, so get them in the pan early.  Cook the beans until they are soft or the desired texture.


You may ask why I cook the sausage first. This isn’t any ‘ole ordinary sausage!  Gartner’s Meat Market off of Sandy Rd. in Portland, Oregon has some of the most flavorful and spicy chorizo sausage links I have ever eaten.  They add a great flavor to the rice and the juices left over in the pan after cooking will be perfect for sautéing our chicken next.  Once the sausage is slightly blackened, remove from the pan and set aside in a separate bowl. Leave a little juice from the sausages in the pan.  You want the flavor from the sausages to transfer to the chicken.  Begin prepping the chicken by dicing it in large chunks.  The large chunks will allow the meat to sear beautifully without all the juice escaping, complementing your jambalaya with flavor in every bite.


Prior to sautéing your chicken, combine your dry spices in a small bowl and season your chicken.  These spices include cayenne, ground pepper, paprika and salt. You will only need a pinch or two of the spices to season, save the rest for later.  Once you have tossed the chicken around a bit in the spices and the chicken is fully coated, sauté it in the same pan you used to cook the sausages. Once cooked set the chicken aside with the sausages until you are ready to add them to the jambalaya.


Next, prep your vegetables.  You will need to dice your peppers, onions, celery,  garlic and tomatoes. Although I believe celery adds great color and texture to the dish, I would recommend dicing the whole celery, leaves and all, very finely.  You want all of your vegetables to be diced in the same fashion.  That way one item doesn’t overpower the other and all the ingredients blend perfectly together. This also includes the onions, papers, garlic and tomatoes.


 Once you have removed your meat from the skillet, melt one tablespoon butter and caramelize your onions, adding a pinch or two of your dry seasoning mixture you had set aside for later. Once your onions are golden brown, add your diced garlic and cook for another two minutes until softened and combined.


Next add your celery, season with another pinch of dry seasoning mix and cook for around five minutes and add your Peppers next.  You want to season each new ingredient as it is added to the pan.  Use the same dry seasoning mixture once the peppers are added.  Seasoning with each new ingredient will ensure each item of your dish has a unified flavorful punch.


While your peppers are cooking, pour your chicken or vegetable stock into a seperate stock pot and set the burner on high.  You will want to have your broth near boiling point when you add the ingredients from your frying pan to it.
IMG_2468 Once the pappers have cooked down a bit and combined with the onions, celery and garlic you can add your bay leaves, dried oregano and thyme. Fold the seasonings into the mixture and add the tomato paste and worcester sauce. Add your diced tomatoes to the peppers and cook for another 2 minutes, don’t forget to season with each added ingredient.


You will want to wait to add your tomato paste to the frying pan at the very last, and that time is now.  At this point the mixture should be rather thick and you won’t want to leave the frying pan on the heat for too long because it will burn easily. Scoop a little of the broth out of your stock pot and pour it over the vegetables in the pan.


Once your beans are fully cooked, strain and rinse them before adding them to the frying pan.  I don’t really appreciate the taste of bean juice in my jambalaya.  I prefer to taste the beans when I bite into one rather than when I bite into my rice.


At this point it is time to add the sausage and chicken the pan.  Once combined, pour the mixture into the stockpot.  Since you added some of the broth, it should be easier to pour into the stockpot without splashing broth all over you and your range.  As you can see from the picture, I added rice to the pan before pouring it into the stockpot, but that was for dramatic effect. No need to add your rice until you have added your vegetable mixture to the stockpot.

IMG_2599Place a lid on top of the stockpot and simmer on medium heat until the rice is fully cooked and nearly absorbed all of the liquid in the pot.  Once the rice is fully cooked, remove from heat, stir in your prawns.


Place the lid back on the pot and let stand for 10-15 minutes.  This will allow the shrimp to cook.  You don’t want to leave the pot on the burner and you don’t want to add your shrimp until the very last.  You want to cook the shrimp, but not over do it.  Since Shrimp is made of mostly water, it is easy to over cook them. If overcooked they will shrink down in size and have a rubbery texture if you are not careful.

IMG_2475   While you are letting your rice settle, dice your parsley and green onions.  You will be adding it to the pot along with your juiced lemon just before it will be served.


This recipe is spicy, but won’t melt your face off.  If you really enjoy spice, you can add a diced jalapeño or another 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper to your seasoning mixture.  The recipe can be doubled without changing the taste of the final product. Good Luck in keeping the lid on the pot for the full 10-15 minutes without digging in.  It really did test my self control, as it smells sooooo good!