Every time I hear the word “jambalaya” I think of Newman and the Soup Nazi and I giggle a little. So when Miriam called me at work last week to tell me that she was craving Jambalaya, I suggested we whip up a batch at my place to kick off the weekend – after responding with the Newman voice, of course. So Miriam came over on Friday and we got to cooking a big pot of Jambalaya, influenced by a campsite recipe I found on BonAppetit.com. It’s actually a very easy dish to make, provided that you have a large pot and someone to help you with prep.
Jambalaya (serves 6)
- 2 TB vegetable oil
- 1 lb skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1″ pieces
- 1 pound andouille sausage, sliced
- Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 large yellow onion, chopped
- 6 sweet red peppers (or 1 red bell pepper), chopped
- 4 celery stalks, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 TB tomato paste
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, some halved, some whole
- 2 cups long-grain white rice
- 2 TB Creole seasoning
- 2 bay leaves
- 6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- ¾ pound medium shrimp, peeled, deveined
- 2 TB parsley, finely chopped
In a large, deep skillet, heat vegetable oil over a medium-high flame. Add chicken and andouille, season with salt and pepper, and sauté for about 5 minutes. Add onion, peppers, celery and garlic and continue to sauté until vegetables are softened. Add tomato paste and stir for two minutes.
Deglaze the pan with the wine, scrapping up the browned bits on the bottom. Add the tomatoes; we improvised here and used some whole Sun Gold tomatoes and small heirlooms chopped into eighths.
Add rice, Cajun seasoning, and bay leaves and stir to combine. I used my Mema’s salt-free homemade Cajun seasoning that she gave me last year. You can also buy Cajun seasoning at most large grocery stores.
Finally, add the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower heat and simmer, covered for 30 minutes, or until rice has absorbed almost all the liquid. Add the shrimp and cover the pot, cooking for 7-8 minutes or until shrimp are pink. Serve in shallow bowls and top with parsley.
My friend and colleague – who shall be known as Coco from this point forth – brought a Syrah from a winemaking friend in Paso Robles, while Kitty shared a 2011 Morrito Pinot Noir from Chamisal Vineyards in Edna Valley. Both wines paired excellently with the spicy, smokey Jambalaya, but I preferred the Pinot Noir because it added some lightness to the meal. If you’re in the mood for white, this dish would also pair well with a Viognier or Albarino – something light and crisp to combat the heat.
We had a lot of leftovers to spread around. I ate mine for breakfast the next day with a fried egg on top. Yum!