Recipe: Jambalaya is great for the big game, by David Theiss
I’m always looking for a way to feed a lot of people with as little work as possible, especially when the big game is on. The recipe I give you today will ensure you spend less time in the kitchen and more time cheering on your favorite team with your friends.
Jambalaya, originating in Louisiana, has been influenced by many cultures including France, Spain and Africa. Similar to gumbo and paella, it was popular in low lying swamp areas where crawfish, oysters, duck, turtle, shrimp and alligator were readily available. Jambalaya is named after the Provencal word “jambalaya” meaning mish-mash, or mix-up, which makes sense; with so many meat ingredients, it’s a pot full of goodness. Neither a soup or a stew, it’s a hearty mix of vegetables, combination of meats, rice and spices. Like many dishes in early America, Jambalaya was a delicious and cheap way of using many ingredients that were on hand.
Although different regionally, there are two main categories: Cajun and Creole. The difference lies in the order in which the ingredients are cooked. Creole Jambalaya, commonly known as “Red Jambalaya,” includes tomatoes. It begins with the holy trinity of vegetables — onion, celery and bell pepper — being cooked together with meat, usually a smoked sausage like andouille and chicken. Once the meat and vegetables are finished cooking, tomatoes, beef stock and rice are added. The entire pot is brought to a boil, covered and simmered until the rice has absorbed all of the stock. The resulting mix has a slightly red color from the tomatoes. Creole jambalaya often differs from Cajun as it’s more likely to include shrimp.
Cajun Jambalaya does not include tomatoes and has a browner color. The color achieved is because the meat is cooked first in the pot alone until it’s browned and caramelized. The “veggie holy trinity” is cooked next, followed by the addition of the beef stock and the rice. Cajun Jambalaya has a deeper, smokier flavor then Creole Jambalaya.
In this recipe, I’m going to concentrate on the Creole version. This recipe utilizes your crockpot and in about five hours you can have a delicious, slightly spicy dish ready to feed some hungry football fans. Enjoy!
2 chicken breasts (cubed into ½ inch pieces)
1 lb. of andouille sausage
1 pound shrimp (peeled and deveined)
1 can diced tomatoes, 14.5 ounce
1 can beef broth, 14.5 ounce
1 can tomato paste, 8 ounce
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 ribs celery, sliced into ¼ in pieces
2 teaspoon dried basil
2 bay leaves
1 1/2 teaspoon seasoning salt
1 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon hot sauce
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 cloves garlic minced
1 tablespoon fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 cup white rice
Combine all but the shrimp and parsley into a 6-quart crockpot and stir together. Cover pot and cook on low for 4 1/2 hours.
Strain the liquid in the crock pot over a bowl and save 3 cups of liquid to reserve for cooking the rice.
Return all the solids left into the crock pot with the addition of the shrimp and chopped parsley.
Bring the 3 cups of reserved liquid to a boil in a pot, stir in rice and cook for 10 minutes on low.
Add cooked rice to the crockpot and mix in. Keep the crockpot on warm so every serving is hot!
David Theiss is owner of Butler Gourmet Meats, serving Carson City quality meats since 1973.