jambalaya

Jambalaya is a classic of Louisiana cuisine. This dish is all about building flavors, from making the stock to selecting the andouille sausage. Perhaps the best part of this recipe is that you can change up the proteins used. If you can’t find sustainable shrimp, use ham instead. Pescatarians might like to throw in some oysters in place of the chicken and sausage. You could even use a vegan spiced sausage to make the recipe vegetarian. Once you’ve got the steps down, the world is your oyster.

Jambalaya Recipe

Serves 6

 Ingredients

1 pound headless jumbo shrimp, shells on
3 cups homemade chicken broth (or a good, organic storebought variety)
1 bouquet garni (bay leaf and thyme, held together with kitchen twine)
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
8 ounces organic Cajun andouille
6 chicken drumsticks
2 yellow onions, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. Cayenne pepper
1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes
1 cup long-grain rice
salt and pepper to taste
Tabasco sauce, for serving

Directions

Shell the shrimp, setting aside the meat. Place the shells in a medium saucepan. Add the chicken broth and bouquet garni. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, then cover and turn off the heat. Allow to infuse 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat in a large, heavy stockpot with a lid. Cut the sausage into bite-sized pieces and add it to the oil, turning to brown on all sides. Remove to a plate. Salt and pepper the chicken drumsticks, then add them to the pot to sear on all sides. You are not looking to cook the chicken and sausage through; just to sear them. Remove the chicken drumsticks to the plate.

Add the onions, pepper and celery to the pot, along with a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables have cooked down and just begun to brown, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, 1-2 minutes. Add the cayenne pepper.

Open the can of tomatoes. Use your hands to remove each tomato, crushing it as you add it to the pot. When all of the tomatoes have been added, reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is thick, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, line a baking dish with foil, and lay the chicken drumsticks on it. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

When the tomatoes and vegetables have thickened, add the sausage and any juices that have run off from the chicken and sausage to the pot.

Strain the broth into a measuring cup, reserving the bouquet garni. Add the juice from the tomatoes and water if needed to get 3 cups of liquid. Add the liquid to the pot, and then add the rice and the bouquet garni. Cover and cook on low for 25 minutes, or until the rice is tender.

Meanwhile, place the baking sheet with the chicken drumsticks into the oven, and roast 25 minutes, until cooked through with crisp skin.

When the rice is cooked through, season to taste with salt and pepper. You can also add more liquid if needed to achieve the consistency you like. Turn off the heat and add the shrimp, tossing until they are just cooked. Serve in bowls with the roasted chicken drumsticks and Tabasco sauce.

Try other New Orleans classics, like red beans and rice or gumbo!

Image: Gunnar Grimnes