Everyone has their signature recipe, right? Your go-to in case of guests or a potluck. The one that makes really good leftovers and takes a little while to prepare but comes out great every time. That’s this recipe for me.
Jambalaya is best with really good andouille sausage. I can find only OK andouille here in DC, but in Austin it was everywhere. If you can’t find andouille, I’ve used kielbasa with good results, but make sure it’s a smoked sausage, preferably with pork. I like to start mine on the stovetop and finish it in the oven as I find that the rice turns out perfectly every time that way.
Since it doesn’t take much more effort to simply double this recipe that’s what I normally do. Even if it’s just my husband and I, it keeps well and could even be frozen for later. I easily tire of leftovers after about two or three times but this recipe is an exception. My Puerto Rican mother taught me that rice dishes are always better the next day, especially if you combine the rice and toppings in the same container (like rice + beans the next day, which in Puerto Rico is called casado).
Another trick that makes this dish special is to infuse your chicken stock with the shells from your shrimp. Once you’ve peeled the shrimp just throw the shells into a pot with the stock and simmer at a very low temperature (careful not to let much, if any, evaporate, or perhaps best to throw in more than you need) for about 30 minutes, then strain.
What’s your signature dish, if you will? Is it one you make often or is it a little more complicated and best for special occasions?
Shrimp and Chicken Jambalaya (serves 3-4)
1 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
2 Andouille Sausage Links, diced
1/2 Cup Diced Onion
1/2 Cup Diced Bell Pepper (I usually use red, or a combo of red and green)
1/2 Cup Diced Celery (we’re not big on celery in this house so unless I happen to have some around, I omit)
1/2 Cup Diced Tomato (fresh is best, if you use canned make sure you drain them)
1/2 Cup Tomato Sauce
3/4 Cup Long Grain Rice
1 3/4 Cup Chicken Stock, infused with shrimp shells if you’re feeling fancy (see above)
1 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
4 Cloves Garlic, minced
1 Cup Chicken Breast or Thighs, diced
1-2 Lbs. Raw Medium Shrimp, peeled and deveined (sometimes mine are so big I like to chop them into more bite-sized pieces)
2 Tbsp Finely Chopped Parsley
4 Tbsp Finely Sliced Green Onions
2 Tbsp Emeril’s Essence, divided (here’s the recipe for it, I like to always have some on hand)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and mix together the onion, celery and bell pepper in a bowl.
In separate bowls, toss the raw, diced shrimp and chicken in 1/2 Tbsp each of the Emeril’s Essence. Set aside in the fridge for later.
In a dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pan melt the butter over medium heat, then add the andouille. Cook until it begins to brown. Add 1/2 of the onion/celery/bell pepper mix and cook until the vegetables are tender. Add the diced tomatoes and cook for another minute or so, then add the tomato sauce, cooking for another minute or two. Add the rice and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the stock, the rest of the onion/celery/bell pepper, the remaining 1 Tbsp of Emeril’s Essence, Worcestershire, and the garlic.
Add the chicken and stir well, then put the pot in the preheated oven. Bake uncovered for 20-25, keeping an eye on the amount of liquid (adding more if needed). If you’re using chicken breast you might only need about 20 minutes as it cooks more quickly and also tends to get dry and tough if left too long.
After 25ish minutes, stir in the raw shrimp, parsley and 2 Tbsp of the green onions. Place back in the oven for an additional 10 minutes, or until the shrimp are cooked through.
Serve hot with a delicious beer and garnish with even more parsley and green onion!