Updated: Jan 23
While I'm generally a pasta girl, there are certain rice-based dishes that occupy a special place in my heart (and belly) - Paella (like this one), Risotto (like this one), and Jambalaya. There's something about how the flavor of the dish soaks into every single grain of rice that just brings me joy, and this Cajun Jambalaya, which I've packed with chicken, Andouille sausage, and shrimp, is a flavor explosion in every bite. It packs a huge punch from both fresh chile and my Cajun Spice Blend and is definitely my favorite dish to make for Mardi Gras (aside from beignets, of course).
Let's get cooking shall we?
Serves 6 to 8
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3-4 tablespoons Cajun Spice Blend (depending on how spicy you want it)
1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 pound shrimp, peeled and de-veined with tails removed
1 pound Andouille sausage, sliced into 1/2-inch rounds
1 medium red onion, diced small
1 large green bell pepper, diced small
3 medium celery stalks, diced small
5-6 cloves garlic, minced
1 serrano or jalapeno chile, seeded and minced
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice
2 bay leaves
1 1/2 cups long grain white rice, rinsed
4 cups low sodium chicken stock
Sliced scallions or minced fresh parsley, for garnish
Hot sauce, for serving
Season chicken with 2 tablespoons of Cajun Spice Blend and shrimp with 1 tablespoon of Cajun Spice Blend.
In a 5-quart dutch oven or other heavy pot with a lid, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add seasoned chicken and Andouille sausage to dutch oven in batches and cook until browned but not cooked all the way through. Remove from pot and set aside.
Add onion, bell pepper, celery, garlic, and minced chile to pot and cook, stirring frequently, until softened. Add the remaining tablespoon of Cajun Spice Blend (if you want it to be pretty spicy), along with the tomatoes, bay leaves, rice, and the chicken broth. Return the chicken and sausage to the pot. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cover the pot and cook for about 15 minutes, until the rice has absorbed most of the broth and is cooked through. The Jambalaya should have a loose consistency (it should be more like a risotto than a paella), so if you need to add additional chicken broth, do so now. Add the shrimp to the pot, cover, and allow to cook for an additional 5-10 minutes, until the shrimp are just cooked through. Remove bay leaves and serve, topped with fresh scallions and/or parsley. Serve hot sauce alongside for those who want it really spicy!