Jambalaya is a popular dish of Louisiana, with influences from West Africa, Spain and France. The dish mainly consists of meat and vegetables mixed with rice. Traditionally, the proteins would always include a sausage of some kind such as Andouille sausage. Then, in Cajun cooking, the “holy trinity” vegetables of celery, onion and green bell peppers are present.
Jambalaya, the name itself sounds like ‘jumbled’, literally tells of its cooking methods. Oxford English Dictionary defines the word Jambalaya as a mishmash or a mixup of ingredients. The word first appeared printed in a Provençal poem in 1837.
The unique cuisine may be a mixup of many things in one pot, but it does not lose its flavour and place in the hearts of people. It is often a form of comfort food in families and the main dish for a gathering of all sorts. On a side note, it is a dish that encompasses nutrition of all three main macronutrients – carbohydrates (rice), fibre (the vegetables) and protein (meat or seafood).
Servings: 4 pax
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 1 hour
- The Cajun/Creole “holy trinity” – celery, onion, green bell peppers, diced
- Jalapeno (optional)
- Cayenne, to taste
- 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
- Creole/Cajun seasoning, to taste
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 sprig of thyme
- 100 g of chicken breast pieces/shrimp/Andouille sausage (choose a few or all!)
- Chicken stock
- Crushed tomatoes
- 2 cups of white rice
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- In a lightly greased pan, sauté the chicken and Andouille sausage. Make sure the chicken is thoroughly cooked, and the sausages are slightly brown. Then, set aside on a clean plate.
- On the same pan, sauté the “holy trinity” and other vegetables (add as you wish) with garlic until soft, and the onions are translucent.
- Add in the uncooked rice, chicken stock, Cajun/Creole seasoning, crushed tomatoes, cayenne, thyme and bay leaf. Give all the delicious ingredients a good stir in the pan.
- Put on a lid and cook for about 25-30 minutes. Be sure to stir the mixture every 5 minutes to prevent burning until rice is nearly tender.
- When the rice is almost tender, add in okra and shrimp. Cook for another 5 minutes until the shrimps become opaque and pink.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add in extra Cajun/Creole seasoning as preferred.
- Serve warm with some garnishes! You can add sliced onions, chopped parsley etc.