You can lighten up Jambalaya with lots of vegetables and lean proteins so it is actually a very healthy but flavourful meal!
I discovered in researching the spice mix for this recipe that my addition of tomatoes pushed this Jambalaya in to the Creole category from the Cajun side. Apparently Cajun spice mixes are spicier than Creole and rely more heavily on peppers, hot as well as sweet. Creole spice mixes are more savoury with more basil, bay leaves, oregano etc. Both use paprika in a big way.
So all this to say- I have a bit of a hybrid going on here. This would have been Cajun but for the addition of the tomatoes!
I don't really care which category it falls into - it is darn tasty!
I used Argentinian Red Shrimp - beautiful almost lagostini sized shrimps, chicken breasts and a smaller proportion of spicy sausage. This gives it a bit of kick without adding too many calories.
I also used lots of onions, peppers and celery- and the diced tomatoes. Along with all this there is only 1 cup of long grain rice in the mix for 8 portions!
I wanted to feature the seafood aspect of this jambalaya so I made my own Shrimp Stock. You simmer the shrimp shells (and head if you can get 'em) in water and wine for 10 minutes or so and you have a beautiful seafood stock. I also use it in this amazing Thai Shrimp Bisque.
I highly recommend that the effort is worth it but if realistically this put it over the top for you then go with a prepared bouillon stock or chicken broth for this recipe.
The dish is actually very versatile- you can change the proportions of the proteins, up the rice quotient (just be sure to use 2 cups of liquid for each cup of rice), up the veggies. (I actually think corn would be good in this !!)
When you are all done sautéing vegetables, browning the meat and simmering the rice, you throw the shrimp in at the end so they don't overcook and you have a very flavourful meal!
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion diced
- 3 celery ribs sliced diagonally
- 3 bell peppers mix of red and green
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 lb chicken breast boneless, skinless, 1" cubes
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 andouille sausage sliced cross-wise
- 2 Tbsps ketchup
- 2 cups shrimp stock or chicken broth if you prefer
- 1 28 oz can diced tomatoes drained of liquid
- 1 cup long grain rice
- 2 tsps Homemade Cajun Seasoning or commercial mix of your choice
- 1 ½ lbs shrimp peeled and deveined
- Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven. Sauté onion and celery about 4 minutes. Add bell peppers and salt and pepper. Cook another 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1 minute more.
- Add chicken cubes, paprika and oregano. Cook over medium high heat about 5 minutes until chicken is browned. If your sausage is raw add the slices at the same time as the chicken and brown it.
- Add the ketchup, tomatoes, shrimp stock, cajun seasoning and rice. Cover the pot and simmer about 20 minutes until rice is cooked and most of the liquid is absorbed.
- Add the shrimp and stir it in. Turn heat to low and let shrimp cook in the mix about 4-5 minutes.
- Remove from heat and serve. Pass additional red pepper flakes if desired.