Jambalaya seems like an undertaking, but when you understand that it’s really just a stew, created in the same spirit most stews are – using bits and bobs from the pantry, but that are specific-ish to the region – it’s not at all a daunting dish. It’s a favourite chez nous and I’ve made a gazillion variations on it in order to make best use of stuff I had around. I prefer it to chili by far (and have be known to take it to many a chili party and if you’ve never been to a chili party, then you have my condolences).
Here’s my standard recipe. It all goes together in about 45 minutes and comfortably serves six.
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp ground cumin
- 1 tbsp ground coriander
- 1 cooking onion, diced
- A few cloves of garlic, smashed
- 4-5 andouille or chorizo sausages (I use hot Italian in a pinch)
- 4-5 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (breasts are also acceptable, but don’t bring as much flavour to the party)
- 1 cup peeled, uncooked shrimp (put the shells away for bouillon!)
- 1 can of diced tomatoes
- 3 tbsp of minced chipotles
- 2 tbsp adobo (that’s just the sauce that chipotles come packed in)
- 1 bottle of beer (nutty brown and amber beers are great, but you can also substitute the beer with water or more stock)
- I can of diced tomatoes
- 2 cups of stock
- 1 tbsp dried thyme
- 2-3 (depending upon how vegetably you like it) bell peppers (I typically only use red, yellow, or orange, but if you like green, giv’er), diced
- 2 fresh jalepeños, minced
- 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 cup of fresh cilantro, finely chopped
- 3 cups cooked rice
- In a large pot over medium-low heat, toast the cumin and coriander until fragrant, but not smoking.
- Add the olive oil, onions, and smashed garlic.
- Once the onions are translucent, add the chicken (and the sausages, if they’re not the already cooked kind).
- Once cooked through, remove the chicken (and sausages, if necessary).
- Deglaze the pot with some beer.
- Add the tomatoes, stock, and the rest of the beer.
- Chop the chicken at the sausage into bite-sized pieces.
- Add the chicken, sausages, peppers, chipotles, adobo, and thyme to the pot.
- Let simmer over medium heat for half an hour.
- Add the jalepeños and shrimp and let simmer for 7-10 minutes until the shrimp is cooked through.
- Add the cilantro and serve over rice (possibly topped with more cilantro, if you’re a cilantro lover like me).