JambalayaGreat for Mardi Gras
A note from Chef Ed:
Rice may be my favorite ingredient to cook with. Not saffron, not truffles. Rice.
Think about it. Every major culinary culture has their own signature rice dish. Italy makes risotto, China makes fried rice, Spain makes Paella, Thailand even makes mango sticky rice as a dessert! The list goes on and on and on… And, of course, New Orleans has jambalaya.
I make jambalaya throughout the year, but I always make a point to have it on Mardi Gras. Rice cooked in onions, garlic and bell pepper with shredded chicken, andoullie sausage, and shrimp is just plain decadent. And it is always a hit. I served this to my father in law once, and after inconspicuously finishing his third helping, simply told me, “yeah, you could make that again.”
Since jambalaya is kind of a ‘leftovers’ meal, it can be made with a veriety of ingredients. I have tried to account for how to alter the recipe depending on what you find in your fridge or on sale at the grocery store.
4 chicken thighs, bone – in or boneless (chicken breasts will also work in a pinch)
½ pound andouille sausage (chorizo, linguica, or other spicy sausage may be substituted)
salt and pepper to taste
5 Tbsp vegetable or olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
5 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1 ½ cups white rice, uncooked
2 Tbsp tomato paste
2 fresh tomatoes, chopped (or a cup of halved grape tomatoes)
½ cup dry white wine
About 2 ½ cups chicken broth
1 pound shrimp, deveined and shelled
2 Tbsp fresh parsley (dried basil or parsley may be substituted)
red pepper flakes to taste, optional
- Heat 2 Tbsp of oil in a large deep pan or skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking.
- Lay the chicken breasts and/or thighs in the pan and cook until golden, about 4 minutes per side.
- If there is room add the sausage to the pan. Cook the sausage through if raw. If pre-cooked, lightly brown sausage. This may be done after cooking the chicken if there is not enough room in the pan or skillet.
- Remove the pan from the heat and transfer the chicken and sausage to a plate. Cut sausages in half lengthwise and then into ¼ inch pieces.
- If needed, add the remaining 3 tbsp oil to the pan or skillet and return to medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion, bell pepper, garlic, and 1/2 tsp salt; cook, scraping the browned bits off the bottom of the skillet, until the onion is softened, about 5 minutes. You may also add the optional red pepper flakes for a rounder taste
- Add the rice and cook until the edges turn translucent, about 3 minutes.
- Add wine and cook until absorbed.
- Stir in the tomatoes and tomato paste. Simmer for 1 minute for flavors to develop, stirring constantly.
- Add chicken broth; bring to a simmer. Nestle the chicken back into the rice. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and cook until the chicken is tender and cooked through, 30 to 35 minutes.
- Transfer the chicken to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm.
- Stir the shrimp and sausage into the rice and continue to cook, covered, over low heat for 2 more minutes. Add extra broth, if needed.
- Remove the skillet from the heat and let stand, covered, until the shrimp are fully cooked and the rice is tender, about 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, shred the chicken using two forks. Stir the parsley and shredded chicken into the rice and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.