First of all, before we dive into the recipe, let’s discuss a few things… There are two main differences between Creole-style and Cajun jambalaya:
1) Creole-style has tomatoes, Cajun-style does not. I am not a fan of tomatoes, so I much prefer Cajun food.
2) There is also a slight difference in the method of cooking. Creoles saute the onions-peppers-celery “trinity” first, then add the meat, then the veggies, tomatoes, rice and stock. Cajuns like to brown the meat first, then saute the trinity, add the veggies, then add the rice and stock to simmer til it’s done. Either way, everything eventually gets cooked up all together and the rice takes on the flavor of the stock and everything else. There’s also a short method of doing it, cooking the meats and veggies together and the rice separately and serving it on the plate together, but that’s more like a gumbo with less juice.
I have made a couple of changes to the typical recipe for Cajun jambalaya.
1) I have broken the unbreakable rule of changing “the trinity”. It’s always 50% onions, 25% celery, and 25% green bell pepper. Bell peppers aren’t my thing, and I wanted to add a little more sweetness to the dish rather than spicy, so I substituted carrots for the bell pepper. I love carrots, and they add some really nice color to the jambalaya. Basically I substituted a French “mirepoix” for the French/Cajun “trinity”.
2) I like to use beef smoked sausage. The traditional sausage used would be andouille, but it almost always gives me a stomach ache, so I swapped it out for a normal beef smoked sausage and the flavor is really great.
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
- 1, 14-ounce smoked sausage, diced. (Your choice. Like I said, I use beef sausage, but feel free to use andouille for a more traditional flavor or any other smoked sausage that you prefer. Some Lit’l Smokies cut in half would be great.)
- 1 small or medium white onion, diced
- 1/2 cup celery, diced
- 1/2 cup carrot, diced
- 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 cups uncooked brown rice
- 5 cups of water
- 5 chicken bouillon cubes
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- hot pepper sauce, to taste
1) Heat oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Saute chicken and sausage just until browned (don’t cook it all the way through yet, or it will be dried out and shriveled by the time the rest of the dish is cooked).
2) Stir in onion, celery, garlic, and seasonings. Stir it all together and cook for about 5 minutes.
3) Add the rice, water, and bouillon cubes. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 30-45 minutes, or until rice is done. I use brown rice, which takes a bit more water than regular white rice. When I normally make brown rice I use a 2:1 water to rice ratio and add another tablespoon per cup of water. However, in this dish, to make sure that the rice cooks through without drying-out everything else, I use 5 cups of water for the 2 cups of rice. If you choose to use white rice I’d suggest following the cooking directions on your package and adding a bit more water if you think your jambalaya is drying out
4) Stir in the Worcestershire sauce and serve. Top your serving with a little Tabasco or other favorite pepper sauce. We don’t usually keep that around, so Jason used a Mild Sauce packet from Taco Bell that we had floating around, he said it was great. 🙂
I hope you enjoy my take on Cajun jambalaya. This recipe makes about 6 servings, just enough to give everyone in my family a nice sized bowl and still have some leftover for a couple of heaping servings for my husband to take to work or serve in a tasty leftover buffet later in the week.
Check out this post for my Kicked-Up Corn Muffins which are pictured above. Since the jambalaya does have some punch in the spice department, I sometimes omit the “kicked-up”edness from the muffins and make nice sweet corn muffins to go with this spicy dish.