On Mardi Gras, thoughts turn to ? New Orleans, which is famous for its Cajun and Creole food, but do you know the difference between the two? Cajun food focuses on stews while Creole food can be quite complex. Jambalaya is a hearty stew full of rice and an assortment of meats, seafood, and vegetables. Jambalaya may also be confused with Gumbo, another Louisiana stew, but Gumbo contains a roux, or a thickening agent composed of fat and flour. My recipe for Jambalaya is full of a variety of delicious ingredients such as sausage, chicken, tomatoes, rice, bell peppers, celery, onions, and shrimp. There are a lot of big flavors, but none of them overpower the others. It is actually very simple to make and is ready within an hour or two. To shorten the prep time, I use my food processor to chop all of the vegetables. It can take a while to cut them up, but the food processor is easier and much faster. I use Andouille sausage, a classic Cajun ingredient that is packed with flavor. It can be difficult to find, but it is worth looking for. And if you want to complete your meal, be sure to check out our Mardi Gras dessert, Bananas Foster Pudding Pie!!
Jambalaya, Serves 4-6, Recipe Adapted from Cooks Illustrated
1 Onion, Peeled & Quartered 1 Rib Celery, Quartered 1 Red Bell Pepper, Seeded & Quartered 5 Cloves Garlic, Peeled 2 tsp Oil 4 Bone-In, Skin-On Chicken Thighs 1/2 lb Andouille Sausage, in 1/4" Cubes 1 1/2 Cups Long Grain White Rice 1 tsp Salt 1/2 tsp Thyme 1/4 tsp Cayenne 1 14oz Can Diced Tomatoes 1 Cup Clam Juice 1 1/2 Cups Low-Sodium Chicken Broth 2 Bay Leaves 1 lb Medium Shrimp
Drain the tomatoes and keep 1/4 cup juice.
Pulse the onion, celery, bell pepper, and garlic in the bowl of a food processor until fine but not pureed.
Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat and add the chicken, skin-side down. Cook until golden, about 5 minutes, flip, and cook until golden on the other side. Remove from the pot, reduce heat to medium, and add the sausage. Cook, stirring frequently, until browned, about 3 minutes. Set aside. Reduce heat to medium low, add the vegetables, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 4 minutes.
Add the rice, salt, thyme, and cayenne. Stir frequently until the rice is coated with fat, about a mint. Add the tomatoes, tomato juice, clam juice, chicken broth, bay leaves, and sausage.
Remove the skin from the chicken and put on top of the rice. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes. Stir and replace the cover; continue to simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes more. Remove the chicken. Scatter the shrimp over the rice, cover, and continue to cook until the rice is tender and the shrimp are cooked through, about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, shred the chicken. Discard the bay leaves and turn off the heat. Stir in the chicken, and serve.
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