I made Jambalaya for a potluck this week, it’s been awhile since I’ve made a big pot that I got really excited for that creamy rice, meat and spice concoction! I do make a fantastic version (if I do say so myself, and look, I just did!), in fact, it’s the dish I make when I cook for a guy the first time. You know that date when you decide to spend the night at his house cooking together, having light conversations and drinking beer or wine, that easy-going type of date. This dish practically screams “Hey lookie here mister man, not only can I chop veggies and meats, but I wield the power of spices and I know how to cook rice correctly. In fact, in just an hour, look at this fantastic meal I’ve made you and you will now fall in love with me because not only am I the perfect mix of sexy/cute/smart/funny, I am also a domestic goddess”, no really, that’s what this meal is saying! Ina Garten has her Engagement Chicken recipe, and I have my Fall In Love With Me Jambalaya. I will say that I have gotten MANY boyfriends through this dish but unfortunately I have yet to perfect my Marry Me Now dish. One day, I will find it!
Normally when I make jambalaya, I use chicken thighs and drumsticks on the bone, this time because I was feeding so many people, I just went ahead and chopped it up, I trimmed the excess fat but kept most of the skin on. I suggest using dark meat vs white because thighs can stand up to the long cooking time without drying out. What you add meat and seafood wise is completely up to you, the most common being andouille sausages, chicken and shrimp. I held off on the shellfish this time around because I had no idea if anyone I was feeding was allergic, I’m not a big fan of sending people into anaphylaxis shock, I mean really, that would just be rude of me! Let’s talk rice, I’ve been trained in the art of steamed rice since I was 10 years old and can reach the stove top. You can use your favorite rice of choice just pay attention to the water quantity and adjust yours accordingly. As a hardcore Jasmine Rice lover, the ratio is about 1 cup of rice to 3/4 cup water for that sticky steamed perfection. Jasmine rice is soft and fragrant and doesn’t need a lot of water to make perfect. Going up to long grain white rice, it’s a 1:1 ratio, brown rice is normally 1:1.5-2 ratio. It really depends on your rice and how you like it. I was taught to measure rice and water using just my fingertips, yea, it’s how I roll! I let the water come to a boil on high heat and as the liquid starts to dissipate, turn the heat down to the lowest setting, cover and let steam. Perfect rice every time. Oh and for the love of all that is holy, RINSE YOUR RICE!
I use my own creole spice blend, but if you’re lazy, you can use a pre-made one, just be aware of its salt content as some pre-packaged seasonings are incredibly salty. Alrighty ladies (and guys) let’s do this!
1 cup Andouille Sausage, sliced
1/2 lbs Chicken Thighs or Drumsticks, chopped or whole pieces on the bone
2 cups Rice, I used a Red/Brown/White blend, rinsed and drained
1 cup Onions, diced
1 cup Celery, diced
1 cup Green Bell Peppers, diced
4 Garlic Cloves, minced
1 cup Tomatoes, chopped, canned or fresh
1 tbsp Tomato Paste
2 cups Chicken Stock, I used a low sodium variety
3 tbsp Olive Oil
3 Bay Leaves
Your fave Creole Seasonings (to taste) or the following:
1 tsp Cayenne (optional, adjust according to taste)
1 tsp Paprika
1 tsp dried Thyme
1 tsp dried Oregano
1 tsp Black Pepper
2 tsp Onion Powder
2 tsp Garlic Powder
2 tsp Brown Sugar
1 tsp Cumin
Salt to taste
3. You know what, I had bones with some good meat left on them so I browned them for the pot also. I will be the first to tell you, I love chicken bones to gnaw on! I esp love the wing tips, most people discard them but I adore them, they’re all skin!
9. Bring to a boil and let boil until water begins to dissipate. I like to leave it to where there’s still liquid on top but you start to see the rice below. Turn heat down to low and cover. Allow to steam until done.