Entertaining/ Main Course

Chef Molly’s Jambalaya

October 11, 2018

I make this jambalaya when I am needing affirmation, because it never fails to elicit praise from my husband, and declarations that this may be his number-one favorite meal. And of course, I also make it when I am craving something hearty and spicy—something that welcomes both the chill of fall and the end of bathing suit season.

I make no claims on the authenticity of this recipe, though according to wikipedia, my version is more Creole jambalaya (with tomatoes), than Cajun jambalaya. Interestingly, Creole jambalaya has its roots in the French Quarter of New Orleans, and started as an attempt by early Europeans in Louisiana to make paella. Tomatoes replaced saffron, which was too expensive and inconvenient to import, spices and vegetables evolved based on what was easily available, and a kick-ass dish was born.

Recipe Tips:

Let’s get started. There’s lots of chopping involved in this recipe, so put on a podcast and get comfortable with your knife and cutting board. But once that’s done, there’s a lot of simmer time in which the rice cooks, the flavors meld, and you can get out and walk the dog before dinner is ready.

First, you’ll chop up your onions, green pepper, celery, garlic, and jalapeño pepper. I tend to go with a half to three-quarters of a seeded jalapeño, but you can adjust for as much spice as you like. (Keep in mind you’re going to add Creole seasoning and cayenne pepper.) Put that all in a bowl, along with the spices.

jambalaya chopped ingredients and spices

Then cube up your andouille sausage and ham (if you are quick with a knife, you can wait to do this until the veggies are cooking). Get out a large dutch oven (I love my Le Creuset for this dish), and melt your butter in it over medium-high heat. Dump in your bowl of veggies and spices, and cook, covered, over medium heat until vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Stir occasionally to make sure nothing is sticking to the bottom of the pan.

Then add the ham, sausage, plum tomatoes, and chicken broth. Turn up the heat to medium-high, as you want to get a good boil going before you add the rice. Once the pot is nice and bubbly, pour in your rice and stir.

jambalaya pot ready to add rice

Then reduce the heat down to low, cover your pot, and cook for 35 minutes, stirring occasionally. As the liquid is absorbed into the rice, the bottom of the jambalaya may start to stick. If it starts to stick and the rice is nowhere near tender, stir in some water. Otherwise just stir and keep a close eye on it. At this point, when the rice is close to being done, you want to add your shrimp. Cook for another 10 minutes or so, until the rice is tender. Total cooking time varies a bit with the kind of rice you are using so it’s best to be vigilant and check your pot frequently.

When all the liquid has been absorbed, the rice is tender, and the shrimp are cooked, it’s ready to serve. You can garnish with some green onions if you like, but usually by the time the jambalaya is done, I’m so anxious to eat it, I can’t wait for it to cool and burn my mouth on the first bite. #dontjudge

Molly's Jambalaya

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By Molly Madigan Pisula Serves: 5
Prep Time: 15 minutes Cooking Time: 1 hour

Molly's version of jambalaya is Creole-inspired, featuring ham, andouille sausage, shrimp, tomatoes, rice, and lots of spices.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 green onions, chopped, plus more for optional garnish
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/2 jalapeno chile, seeded and finely chopped (use more if you like it very spicy)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 T. Creole seasoning
  • 1/4 t. cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 t. dried thyme
  • 6 oz. andouille sausage, cubed in 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1/2 lb. ham steak, cubed in 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 16 oz. can plum tomatoes, diced
  • 1 14.5 oz. can low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 1/4 c. long grain brown rice
  • 1/2 lb. shrimp, peeled, deveined, and cut into 1-inch pieces

Instructions

1

Get out a large dutch oven (I love my Le Crueset for this dish), and melt your butter in it over medium-high heat.

2

Add the onions, pepper, garlic, bay leaf, and spices, and cook, covered, over medium heat until vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Stir occasionally to make sure nothing is sticking to the bottom of the pan. 

3

Then add the sausage, ham, plum tomatoes, and chicken broth. Turn up the heat to medium-high, as you want to get a good boil going before you add the rice.

4

Once the pot is nice and bubbly, pour in your rice and stir. 

5

Then reduce the heat down to low, cover your pot, and cook for 35 minutes, stirring occasionally. As the liquid is absorbed into the rice, the bottom of the jambalaya may start to stick. If it starts to stick and the rice is nowhere near tender, stir in some water or extra broth. Otherwise just stir and keep a close eye on it.

6

At this point, when the rice is close to being done, you want to add your shrimp. Cook for another 10 minutes or so. Total cooking time varies a bit with the kind of rice you are using so it's best to be vigilant and check your pot frequently. When all the liquid has been absorbed, the rice is tender, and the shrimp are cooked, it's ready to serve.

7

Garnish with some chopped green onions if you like.

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