When you say “Jambalaya” most people will smile and say they love it. But a lot of people don’t make it. Why? Perhaps because it sounds exotic and the ingredients are sometimes hard to find. Andouille sausage, for instance. Not widely available.
So, many years ago, I set out to make my own easy version of Jambalaya using readily-available ingredients. I call it: (What else?) “Simplified Jambalaya” just to keep the purists from reacting to non-traditional ingredients. LOL.
This Creole rice dish traditionally has 3 different meats: sausage, seafood, and chicken or pork. I use chicken, so we can check that box. For seafood, I use shrimp, usually medium size that I cut into thirds because I like my pieces chunky.
So far so good, right? Well, hold on tight, the sausage is where I really veer off course: I use bulk packaged Italian sausage, the kind for spaghetti sauce or pizza. If I can find a package labeled “sweet” Italian sausage, even better. I also use Italian-flavored diced tomatoes. These are sometimes labeled “pasta-ready” diced tomatoes.
I also use Italian-flavored diced tomatoes. These are sometimes labeled “pasta-ready” diced tomatoes.
How am I doing so far? Mind blown yet? I know it sounds a little weird, but somehow it really works.
How to make the jambalaya
To start, pre-cook brown rice in boiling water for 30 minutes, then drain. While the rice is cooking, start the rest of the ingredients.
Brown the chicken and sausage in a large skillet for about 5 minutes, then add the vegetables and continue until the meat is cooked through and the vegetables are tender.
Then, add in the liquids (chicken stock and the can of tomatoes) and the seasonings and cook until heated through. When the rice is finished, add to the skillet with the shrimp, then cover the skillet and reduce heat to low.
Simmer the mixture, covered, for 50-60 minutes until all the liquid is absorbed.
This is not a super-spicy jambalaya, so have that bottle of hot sauce ready for those in the spicy section! For the rest of us, enjoy the wonderful combinations of tastes and textures in a satisfying dish!
Love it with garlic bread!
- ¾ cup brown rice
- ½ pound skinless boneless chicken breast halves - cubed
- ½ pound bulk Italian sausage
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 2 TB butter
- ½ to 1 medium green pepper chopped (optional)
- 1 celery rib thinly sliced
- 1 small onion chopped
- 1 can “pasta-ready” diced tomatoes undrained
- ¾ c chicken stock
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- ⅛ teaspoon hot pepper sauce
- ¼ - ½ pound uncooked medium shrimp - peeled deveined and chopped
- Prepare rice by boiling in a saucepan with 2 quarts water for 30 minutes – drain.
- Meanwhile, in a large skillet on medium heat, cook chicken, sausage and garlic in butter for 5 minutes. Add the green pepper, celery and onion; cook and stir until meat is no longer pink and vegetables are tender.
- Stir in canned tomatoes, chicken stock and seasonings; heat through. Add the shrimp and rice; cover and simmer on very low heat for 50-60 minutes until the liquid is absorbed.
- Serve with crusty garlic bread.
Nutrition values are estimates only, using online calculators. Please verify using your own data.
If, like me, you love to use brown rice in dishes like this, try my brown rice and bean bake for a Tex-Mex version!