Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Creole Jambalaya with Chicken, Smoked Sausage and Shrimp

An oven baked Creole jambalaya containing chicken, shrimp and andouille smoked sausage.
A big batch, oven-baked, Creole-style jambalaya containing chicken, shrimp and andouille smoked sausage.

Creole Jambalaya

Jambalaya, often made in this way with chicken, andouille sausage and shrimp, is a very common dish here in The Deep South and we tend to have it regularly, though every recipe you'll run across is probably a little bit different from the one before it. Different methods, different ingredients, different seasonings. It's a very versatile dish and there isn't any one way that is the only way.

I recently posted a Cajun jambalaya recipe, with layers of flavor that are built beginning with roasting the meats in the oven first. You can certainly do that here as well. This recipe is a little bit different from that one because this one uses a roux, I've added some fresh shrimp here, and it's considered a Creole version, due to the use of tomatoes, though in truth, Cajun and Creole cooking have sort of melded together these days. Don't let the long list of ingredients scare you away - there are quite a few seasonings and meats involved, but it comes together fairly easy, and then the oven does the work.

As far as "spicy heat" goes, I'm gonna repeat what I have said before about the heat level of Cajun and Creole foods. My seasonings here give a nice, respectable bite, but are not gonna set your mouth on fire. Some people have the misconception that "spicy" Cajun and Creole foods equal loading down dishes with red pepper, Creole or Cajun seasonings, and nothing could be further from the truth. There is nothing worse than trying to eat something that somebody has loaded down so heavy with red pepper trying to make it "Cajun"  that you can't even taste the food underneath any longer. We like spicy down here, but we like flavor with some kick even better! Save the hot pepper sauce for the table. As always, this recipe is written to give just a bit of a bite but not be overpowering. Feel free to bump the heat up or down to your own personal preference.

Recipe: Creole Jambalaya

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 20 min
Cook time: 40 min
Total time: 1 hour
Yield: About 10 to 12 servings

  • 1 pound andouille sausage, smoked sausage, or ham, coarsely chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1-2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast
  • Kosher salt & freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
  • 1 (28 ounce) can of whole tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 (10 ounce) can of Rotel tomatoes, undrained
  • 4 cups of chicken stock or broth
  • 1 teaspoon of dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon of dried basil
  • Palmful of dried parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of Cajun seasoning (like Slap Ya Mama), or to taste
  • 4 cups of uncooked, long grain rice
  • 3 tablespoons of butter, cut into slices (can omit if using dark or mixed chicken)
  • 1 pound of raw shrimp, cleaned and deveined
  • Old Bay seasoning
  • Chopped parsley, to garnish
  • Hot pepper sauce, for the table

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cut up sausage, onion, bell pepper and garlic; set aside.

Sprinkle the whole chicken breasts with salt and pepper and brown in oil over medium to medium high heat in a 6 quart cast iron dutch oven that has a lid. Don't overcook! Remove chicken and set aside to cool. Once cool, coarsely chop into bite sized pieces. To the dutch oven, add the chopped sausage and cook until browned; remove and set aside.

Add additional oil as needed to bring up to a tablespoon. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly until lightly browned. Do not burn! Add onion and bell pepper and saute a few minutes until softened. Reduce heat to medium and add the garlic, cooking another minute. Using kitchen shears, roughly chop the tomatoes right in the can, then carefully stir them into the veggie/roux mixture, add the Rotel tomatoes and cook an additional 5 minutes. Add the chicken broth, thyme, basil, parsley, Cajun seasoning, white pepper, and cayenne, bring back up to a boil. Add the rice and stir in. Return to a boil. Add the chicken and sausage, dot the top with butter, stir, cover the pot and place it into the oven. Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes or until the majority of liquid is absorbed.

Remove, stir, taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Sprinkle the shrimp lightly with Old Bay seasoning, stir the shrimp into the rice mixture and return to the oven to bake until liquid is absorbed and shrimp are cooked through. Fluff with a large serving fork.

Scoop onto plates, garnish with a bit of parsley, add a side salad or a green veggie, and pass hot pepper sauce at the table.  Makes a massive amount of jambalaya.  Reheat leftovers covered in the microwave.

Lighten it up: Substitute turkey smoked sausage and use non-stick cooking spray to brown the meats instead of oil.  For the roux, omit the oil, use a bit more spray, and just brown the flour in the dutch oven long enough to cook the flour, about 5 minutes. Whisk in a bit of water to form a gravy and add a splash of Kitchen Bouquet. Omit the butter at the end.

Source: http://deepsouthdish.com

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Posted by on January 5, 2010
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