}]; Noreen's Kitchen: Love from the Bayou Me Oh My Oh! Skillet Jambalaya!

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Love from the Bayou Me Oh My Oh! Skillet Jambalaya!

Time to get my Cajun on!  Jambalaya is a favorite dinner in our house.  We don't indulge often, but I don't know why.  This dish is super simple to make and has easily accessible ingredients that you may even have on hand.  I make mine in a skillet in just under 45 minutes time and everyone loves it.  This makes a lot and this recipe will easily serve 12 people a hearty meal.  We always enjoy the leftovers for another dinner and a couple of lunches. 

I have chose a pretty traditional protein combo for this skillet jambalaya of chicken, smoked sausage and fresh peeled and deveined shrimp.  I have the luxury of living on the coast where I can access good fresh shrimp that is caught on a daily basis in season, so I took the time to peel and devein.  If you don't, you can easily pick up frozen shrimp and do the same or if you really want to save time you can grab a bag of cooked, peeled and deveined shrimp and that makes this dish even quicker.

I sauteed the chicken and sausage in some neutral oil until the chicken was opaque.  Then we added the "holy trinity" of vegetables traditional to Cajun cooking, chopped celery, bell pepper and onion as well as a few cloves of chopped garlic.  Nothing fancy, just good simple, southern peasant style food.  I also added in a good dose of my homemade, salt free creole seasoning and gave everything a good stir to get all those flavors melding together.

Then went in some chicken stock and a couple cans of petite diced tomatoes with their juice.  Stir again before adding rice.  I prefer and almost exclusively use par cooked rice in my everyday cooking, but you can use long grain if you like or whatever rice you choose, however be aware of the rice to water ratios and adjust your recipe accordingly.  Some rice takes more or less liquid, so just be aware. 

Give everything another good stir and bring the jambalaya to a simmer then cover, turn the heat down to medium and allow this to cook for 10 minutes or until your rice is tender, but there may still be a bit of liquid. 

When your rice is ready, lay your shrimp on top, turn off the heat and put the lid back on.  The shrimp will cook in about five minutes from the residual heat of the jambalaya.  Then you stir the shrimp in to distribute and allow the pan to sit for five minutes before you dish this up for dinner.

Jambalaya originated in southern Louisiana by a group of immigrants knows as the  Cajuns.  Cajuns came from Brittany, France then migrated to Nova Scotia and then  down to the swampy bayou of Louisiana.  Foof was scarce and the group had to make due with what they had as well as their own knowledge and culinary experience from where they came.  Out of their hardship grew an amazing cuisine that we know and love today known as Creole or Cajun, but we always know as delicious!

The word "Jambalaya",  is said to be a combination of the French word for ham, "Jambon" and the African word for rice  "Aya".   The French and the African American population grew together to create an amazing culture and out of this grew their fantastic cuisine.  A Common belief is that Jambalaya originated from the Spanish Paella, which is a rich dish that includes chicken, sausage, and a variety of seafood and shellfish as well as a rich broth with saffron as it's main flavor enhancer.   Jambalaya is a bit different  but similar, as it incorporates seafood , ham, link sausage rounds and chicken.  However it does not have to include all of these at once and can be easily made with only one protein at a time and still be substantially satisfying

I love this dish for it's simplicity and it's amazing flavor.  This is an incredibly satisfying meal that is great for a busy night after work, or a lazy weekend night at home.  Even great for sharing with guests or taking to a pot luck supper.  I mean, who is going to turn this down right?

You can mix up the meat if you don't like shrimp or smoked sausage, add in some cubed ham or Andouille sausage.  You can leave the shrimp out altogether if that is not something you prefer.  Truth is this is good with just one protein if that is all you have available.   But when you do have them, it is a wonderful combination of goodness!

I hope you will consider giving this skillet jambalaya a try some time soon.  I hope if you do that you and your family love it!

Happy Eating!

You can get the printable recipe here:   http://bit.ly/NKJambalaya

 Noreen's Kitchen
Skillet Jambalaya


1 pound chicken breast cut into chunks
1 pound smoked sausage, sliced
1 pound fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
2 cups rice (not instant)
1 cup celery, chopped
1 cup onion, chopped

1 cup bell pepper, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon salt free Creole seasoning **
4 cups chicken stock
2, 15 ounce cans, petite diced tomatoes

 Step by Step Instructions

 Heat oil in a large, heavy bottomed skillet over medium high heat.  Brown chicken and smoked sausage until the chicken is opaque and the sausage is slightly browned. 

Add vegetables and stir well to combine.

Add in chicken stock and tomatoes and stir.

Add the rice and stir making sure that is it not clumping together.

Bring to a simmer and turn heat down to medium. Place a lid on the skillet and allow to cook for ten minutes or until the rice has become tender.

When the rice is tender, but there is still some liquid in the skillet, place the raw shrimp on the top of the rice in a single layer.  Turn off the heat and place the lid back on the skillet.  Allow the pan to sit for 10 minutes for the shrimp to cook from the residual heat of the jambalaya.

Remove lid and test shrimp to make sure they are perfect.  Then stir into the jambalaya and allow the pan to sit for five minutes before serving.

This is a dish that his hearty enough to serve on it's own but a salad and a crusty loaf of bread is always a lovely addition.

Leftovers should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator and eaten within 7 days.

You can see how I made this in my YouTube video:

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