Let me start by saying I grew up on hamburger and chicken helper. My favourite was the short-lived jambalaya chicken helper. It was a spicy chicken and rice concoction that cooked up in less than twenty minutes. Sure, it was missing delicious fresh produce, but at the time, it fit the bill.
After I moved out and struggled to find something even remotely similar, I experimented with various recipes. Eventually, I settled on the perfect mixture of fresh produce, rice, spices, and meats. It’s now my go-to jambalaya recipe, and I’m happy to share it with you!
Easy JambalayaPrint Recipe
- 1 pound of Andouille sausage
- 3 tablespoons of bacon grease
- 1/2 pound of diced ham
- 1 large onion
- 1 large bell pepper
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 tablespoons of thyme
- 2 cups of long-grain rice
- 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
- 3 small-medium tomatoes
- 2 celery stalks
- 3 green onions
- Cayenne pepper
- Chilli powder
- Crushed red pepper
- Black pepper
- 3 cups of liquid (chicken stock, tomato juice, water, whatever you have)
- 2-3 pounds of shrimp
- 1 pound of chicken
- Start by dicing up all produce. It’s a great time saver to pick up pre-diced onions, peppers and celery from the store.
- When dicing the tomatoes, reserve the juice in a small container for later. This juice can be used as part of your liquid to cook the rice.
- Start by browning your sausage in a dutch oven. I highly recommend using cast iron.
- Once browned and slightly crisp, remove the sausage with a slotted spoon and place it on a paper towel to drip. Add the ham and repeat the process.
- Add the bacon grease plus the bay leaf, thyme, and all spices as the ham starts to brown. Let this saute.
- Next, add the crunchies. In this case, that would be onions, peppers, and celery. Cook the veggies until they are soft.
- If you are using chicken, add it once the crunchies are cooked. Once it’s white, but maybe not 100% cooked, add in the sausage. It’s also not a bad idea to season the chicken with Zatarains or your favourite all-purpose seasoning. Your choice.
- Next, add in your rice. Stir it up and let it absorb any liquid that may be in your pan. Then go ahead and add in your tomatoes and parsley along with the diced green onion.
- Add in your stock/liquid and simmer until rice is tender. You may need adding more liquid after a few minutes, but 3 cups is a good starting point.
- If you add shrimp, feel free to marinate them or sprinkle them with your preferred seasoning. I like adding a bit of lemon juice to mine. Once the rice is tender, add the shrimp and place the dutch oven in the oven for 10 minutes or until the shrimp is cooked. This is another reason why cooking in cast iron is excellent; it will make it a smooth stove to oven transition.