What is a jambalaya? Its a dish that has its origins in the Carribean Islands, but then traveled to the bayou and became well known in Louisiana, and more specifically New Orleans. One day I will visit New Orleans and feast on jambalaya, crab cakes, and beignets while listening to some awesome street jazz. But I digress. The word comes from Provencal (but I think its patois) word jambaiala, meaning mish mash. Its pretty close to Spanish paella, but minus the (ridiculously expensive) saffron. Its base ingredients are rice, tomatoes, aromatics, and usually meat; but I treat jambalaya as a throw in what you have pot. Its such an easy dish to temper with and construct your own based on preferred flavors! Plus, its essentially a one pot dish (and is easily adaptable to the slow cooker), and who the heck doesn't love less dishes? As long as you follow the basics, you got one tasty a-la-carte creole inspired dish coming your way!
Sausage and Shrimp Jambalaya
- 1 large onion
- 1 red bell pepper
- about 6 large button mushrooms
- 5 celery stalks
- 3/4 of 1ltr jar of canned tomatoes (if you don't can, just go pick up a regular 750 ml diced tomatoes can)
- 1 cup of yellow corn (one small can)
- 1 cup of chicken stock
- 5 spicy Italian style sausages (Andouilles sausages are super tasty also)
- 1 lb of shrimp, precooked, still frozen (I still havent learned how to devein fresh shrimp)
- 2 cups of brown rice
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 1/2 tsp of cayenne pepper
- First, prep for cooking. Chop your aromatics (onion, celery) as well as the pepper, and slice the mushrooms. Set aside. Cut the sausages in coins of desired thickness, maybe 1 1/2 inch - 2 inch.
- Heat a drizzle of olive oil at the bottom of a large pot at medium, and when ready, start to cook the sausages. Brown them on both sides to prevent the meat from disintegrating before adding anything else, but don't cook them all the way through, approx 5-7 minutes (make sure you don't use chicken or turkey sausages. If you do, cook all the way through in seperate pan).
- Add all the chopped veggies, and the mushroom and cook for another 5 minutes. It should look pretty colorful already.
- Let cook until bubbling merrily away, something like 7-8 minutes, before adding the rice. My rice took about 15 minutes at low-medium heat (stirring frequently) before ready. White rice is less long.
- This is where the magic happens. Add the frozen shrimp and stir until incorporated through. Turn off the heat, and cover your pot with a metal bowl. The bowl will allow the heat to circulate through without trapping it close to the surface like a lid would. This will essentially steam your shrimp inside the jambalaya and make them oh so tasty. This shouldn't take longer than a few minutes, no one likes rubbery shrimp!
- Finally, add the cayenne pepper, and other seasonings if desired at your level of desired spicyness. Serve in a colorful bowl, and garnish with parsley if desired. I serve this with sliced cucumbers and fresh buns to help cool the tongue from the spice!