It’s Jambalaya Time

Red beans and rice, gumbo, muffuletta, and po-boys…foods that made New Orleans famous; but my favorite is the classic Creole version of Jambalaya. Chicken, sausage, shrimp, rice together in a single dish…scrumptious!

Of course, what better time to enjoy the food of NOLA than during the time of Mardi Gras celebrations. Inspired by the jubilee, jambalaya was on the menu last Tuesday.

IMG_3252The recipe we use for jambalaya is a modified version of one from the November 2013 edition of Southern Living. Their recipe calls for andouille sausage instead of the little smokies and a few additional spices, but we decided to make it a little less spicy and we’ve simplified the original recipe slightly making it our own.

Ingredients:

1 package little smokies, cut in half

2 TBSP. vegetable oil

2 cups diced sweet onion

1 cup diced celery

1 large bell pepper, diced

4 garlic cloves, minced

2 tsp. Tony Chachere’s Creole seasoning

1 tsp. dried thyme

1 tsp. dried oregano

2 (10-oz.) cans Rotel tomatoes with green chiles, drained

3 cups chicken broth

2 cups uncooked long-grain rice

2 cups shredded cooked chicken

1 lb. peeled, medium-size raw shrimp, deveined

chopped green onions

Directions:

Cook little smokies in hot oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, 5 minutes or until browned. Remove little smokies.

Add diced onion, celery, bell pepper, garlic, Creole seasoning, thyme, and oregano to hot drippings and saute’ 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Stir in Rotel, chicken broth, rice, cooked chicken, and sausage. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cover and reduce heat to medium. Simmer, stirring occasionally for 20 minutes or until rice is tender.

Stir in shrimp, cover and cook 5 minutes or just until shrimp turn pink. Serve immediately. Garnish with chopped green onions.

For the original recipe from Southern Living, click here.

This dish freezes well so that it can be made ahead or since the recipe above will serve 8-10, some can be served and a portion frozen for another time.

To Freeze: Prepare the recipe as directed. Line bottom and sides of a baking dish with enough aluminum foil  to extend about 3 inches over sides. Fill the baking dish with jambalaya and then cover and freeze. To serve, remove the foil and return the casserole to the original baking dish and cover and thaw in the refrigerator for 24 hours. Remove from the refrigerator and let stand at room temperature 30 minutes. Bake at 350° until thoroughly heated.

Serve with crusty French bread. You may also want to serve Praline Pound Cake for dessert.