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Sunday, January 6, 2008

Creole-style Jambalaya

Jambalaya allegedly started as Spanish settlers tried to recreate paella in the conditions of the New World. It was later adopted by the Creoles of Louisiana, and later yet - by the Cajuns. This is a yummy (spicy!) and quite filling dish from the ex-French colony, modern-day US state of Louisiana.

The difference between creole- and cajun-style jambalaya is in the presence of tomatoes - this one has them :). I got this recipe from the friend of a friend whose mother is from Louisiana. It gets pretty close to the ones I've had at restaurants, so I consider it authentic.

As is, the jambalaya is flavorful but not very spicy. For more kick adjust the amount of cayenne pepper or shake in some hot sauce (Tabasco or the like). Maximum flavor is achieved when the jambalaya sits overnight before baking, so it's perfect for a Monday night meal when you've done the majority of the work the night before. But I've also baked it right after making it and it's still delicious. It tastes best right after baking. Leftovers reheat well but tend to lose the spicy kick. Makes 6 servings (which is to say husband and I finish the whole thing in 3 evenings).

I've put 1 pound to be 450 g for easy translation into metric. If anyone wants to be super exact, take note that 1 pound = 454 grams :).


1lb (450 g) sausage, sliced
1lb (450 g) cooked chicken, cubed
1lb (450 g) tail-off shrimp (cooked or not, doesn’t matter)
¾ cup chopped green pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup chopped parsley
1 cup chopped celery
32 oz (900 g) canned diced tomatoes, undrained
1 ½ teaspoon thyme
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons oregano
½ tablespoon creole seasoning
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (or more to taste)
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 cup rice


Cook chicken (I use chicken breast), cube, reserve broth.
In a separate pan sauté sausage.
In a big pot sauté green pepper, garlic, parsley, celery (~5 min).
Add tomatoes, all spices.
Add rice.
Add chicken and sausage.

Cover and cook for 30 min over low heat, stirring occasionally. If liquid dries up (never happened to me), add some of the chicken broth.

Add shrimp and cook until pink or defrosted.

*Can be refrigerated at this point and baked later.

Spread in a baking dish (should fill a 9" x 13"/22 cm x 32 cm). Add 1 cup of the chicken broth to keep moist as baking. Bake at 350˚F (175˚C) until heated through, about 30 minutes. Serve warm.

(Please ignore my ugly counter and even uglier stove - I rent!)

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