Jambalaya. I love just saying the word, it has such a sense of fun. But, I love eating it even more. The first time I tasted the smoky, spicy flavours of Louisiana jambalaya, years ago in a Cajun restaurant, I was in love. I knew I had to make it at home. What I didn't know then, was just how easy this dish is to make. There is something about that part of the world that always draws me in, whether its the food, the music, the history, or whatever, but I'm a fan.
There are two types of jambalaya. This one is a red one, Creole style, which uses tomatoes. The other type is a brown jambalaya, Cajun style, without the tomatoes. The Louisiana origins of this dish can be traced to attempts by Spanish settlers to make paella. They didn't have saffron there, so they substituted tomatoes. Gradually, regional spices and flavours were incorporated into the new world version of this delicious rice dish that we know today. If you're interested in food history, (I'm sure I'm not the only food nerd out there) here's a great article about the Louisiana cuisine.
Jambalaya is one of my favorite one pot dishes. I always love that for the convenience and easy cleanup.You can make yours as spicy or not spicy as you like by changing the amount of cayenne in this recipe. This is also great cold or reheated for leftovers. And you can change up this dish in lots of ways. Try lentils, barley or any other grain for a different twist.
Rice is a versatile base for a lot of dishes, both hot and cold. Try Cajun Red Beans and Rice for another Louisiana classic. I like to cook extra rice so that I have leftovers for making Vegetable Fried Rice
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 1 bell pepper, any colour, thinly sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp thyme
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 8 oz smoked chorizo sausage, sliced
- 2 cups long grain white rice
- 1 796 ml can diced tomatoes
- 5 cups vegetable stock
- 1 pound large shrimp, peeled
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley for garnish
- In a dutch oven or other large pot, heat oil over medium heat.
- Add onion, celery, bell pepper and garlic.
- Cook about 5 minutes, or until vegetables are tender.
- Add cayenne pepper, thyme, paprika, salt and pepper and stir, cooking for about 1 minute.
- Add sausage, rice, tomatoes and their juice and stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and allow to simmer, stirring occasionally, until rice is tender and most of the liquid is absorbed, 20-30 minutes.
- Stir in the shrimp and cook until shrimp are pink and cooked through, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, cover and let stand 5-10 minutes. Garnish with parsley.