Black-eyed pea Jambalaya is perfect for New Year’s Day and upcoming Carnival season festivities that start on January 6. It’s easy to make and produces amazing leftovers. I like serving this delicious recipe with Southern Cornbread Sticks and collard greens for a traditional New Year’s fare or a Mardi Gras-inspired dinner.
Jambalaya is a one-pot dish that hails from Louisiana. It typically contains sausage, rice, and the holy trinity of onions, celery, bell pepper, and garlic. Generally, the bread of choice to serve with Jambalaya is cornbread.
Jambalaya can be either Creole with the addition of tomatoes or Cajun when made without tomatoes. Once the basic ingredients are added, the final dish can be varied by adding protein such as shrimp or crawfish, chicken, or for this recipe, black-eyed peas.
Ingredients: Here’s What You’ll Need
- Sausage: My favorite sausage to use in the Black-Eyed Pea Jambalaya is Conecuh’s original smoked sausage. This sausage is readily available in the grocery stores where I live.
- Holy Trinity: The holy trinity consists of onions, celery, bell pepper, and garlic. Sometimes, the garlic is referred to as the “pope”!
- Rice: The best rice to use in this recipe is long-grain rice that has been rinsed and drained well.
- Tomatoes: For the tomatoes, I used a can of undrained petite diced tomatoes.
- Additional Liquid: The petite diced tomatoes add some liquid to the jambalaya. For the rest of the liquid, I used chicken broth.
- Black-Eyed Peas: In this recipe, I used canned black-eyed peas.
- The Rest of the Ingredients: I like adding a bit of olive oil to saute the holy trinity. For the seasonings, I used Creole seasoning, Kosher salt, black pepper, and dried thyme.
Steps in Making Black-Eyed Pea Jambalaya
- First, I sliced the smoked sausage and cooked it in a Dutch oven over medium heat. This took about 25 minutes.
Once the sausage was cooked, I drained it well on paper towels. Then, I poured the fat from the Dutch oven.
- I returned the Dutch oven to the stovetop over medium heat and added a bit of olive oil. Then, I added the onions, celery, and bell pepper.
I cooked the vegetables for about 10 minutes to soften them. While cooking, I scrapped up the browned bits from the bottom of the Dutch oven.
- After 10 minutes, I added the minced garlic, Creole seasoning, salt, pepper, and thyme to the vegetable mixture. I stirred everything together and cooked the garlic for about 30 seconds until it was fragrant.
- Next, I added the rice, which I had rinsed and drained. I stirred everything together and continued scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the Dutch oven.
I let the rice cook for several minutes.
- After that, I stirred in the undrained petite diced tomatoes.
- I added the chicken broth and cooked sausage to the Dutch oven. I brought the mixture to a boil. Then, I covered the Dutch oven with a paper towel and the lid and reduced the heat to medium-low. I cooked the jambalaya for 15 minutes.
- After 15 minutes, I removed the lid and the paper towel. I added the drained and rinsed black-eyed peas. Then, I stirred the mixture and placed a clean paper towel on the Dutch oven, and covered it with the lid. I cooked the Jambalaya for 10 more minutes until the rice was done.
I let the Black-Eyed Pea Jambalaya sit for about 5 minutes. Then, I fluffed it with a fork.
I served the Black-Eyed Pea Jambalaya with freshly made Southen Cornbread Sticks and collard greens. This was a perfect meal for both New Year’s Day and Carnival season. Yum!
Both Jambalaya and gumba contain similar ingredients. However, Jambalaya includes rice that is cooked with other ingredients. Gumbo is often served over rice. Perhaps the main difference is that gumbo is roux-based, whereas Jambalaya does not use a roux.
Étouffée is like a thick gravy that is generally served over rice. Jambalaya, on the other hand, is a rice dish where the rice is cooked with other ingredients.
The jambalaya is slightly wet but thick. It is neither soupy nor gooey.
Jambalaya can be either Creole or Cajun. The main difference is the addition of tomatoes for a Creole dish and omitting tomatoes for a Cajun dish.
You can use a smoked sausage of your choice in this recipe or an andouille sausage. Just make sure to cook the sausage if it’s uncooked before adding it to the other ingredients.
The leftovers from this recipe are delicious. I will generally cover leftovers, refrigerate them for several days, and then warm them in the microwave.
The amount of Black-Eyed Pea Jambalaya that this recipe produces is pretty large. Therefore, if the rice cooker is large, it would work well for this recipe.
Recipe Tips and Tricks
- When I make a rice dish, such as jambalaya, I always cover the pan with a paper towel before placing the lid on. The reason is that the condensation from cooking the rice gets trapped between the paper towel and the lid. Otherwise, the condensation falls back on the rice, causing the rice to become mushy.
- Sometimes if I have leftover Hoppin’ John, I’ll use three cups in the Black-Eyed Pea Jambalaya instead of the canned black-eyed peas.
- For a spicier jambalaya, I sometimes substitute an undrained can of Rotel Original Diced Tomatoes & Green Chilies for the Petite Tomatoes.
- I like to make my own Creole seasoning using Emeril’s Essence recipe. I’ve never used a store-bought Creole seasoning.
Other Delicious New Orlean’s Inspired Main Dishes
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Black-Eyed Pea Jambalaya
- Dutch oven or other large pot.
- 1 pound (16 ounces) smoked sausage (See Tip 1)
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- ¾ cup chopped onions (1 small to medium onion)
- ¾ cup chopped celery (about 3 stalks)
- ¾ cup chopped bell pepper (1 medium)
- 2 teaspoons Creole seasoning (See Tip 2)
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon Freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 ½ cups uncooked long-grain rice, rinsed and drained (See Tip 3)
- 1 can (14.5 ounces) petite diced tomatoes, undrained
- 3 cups chicken broth (See Tip 4)
- 2 cans (15.5 ounces each) black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained
- Cut smoked sausage into slices that are about ⅛-inch. Cook over medium heat in a Dutch oven. Remove from the Dutch oven and drain well on paper towels. Pour fat from the Dutch oven.
- Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in the same Dutch oven used to cook the sausage. Add the onions, celery, and bell pepper. Cook over medium heat, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the Dutch oven, for about 10 minutes or until tender.
- Stir in minced garlic, Creole seasoning, salt, pepper, and thyme. Cook for 30 seconds or until the garlic is fragrant.
- Stir in uncooked rice; cook for about 2 minutes. Add undrained petite diced tomatoes; stir to combine. Continue scraping up browned bits from the bottom of the Dutch oven.
- Add chicken broth and cooked sausage; stir to combine. Bring to a boil. Cover the Dutch oven with a paper towel and lid. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cook for 15 minutes.
- Remove the lid and paper towel. Add rinsed and drained black-eyed peas; stir to combine. Cover the pan with a clean paper towel and lid. Cook for an additional 10 minutes or until the rice is done.
- Remove the paper towel and lid. Let the jambalaya sit for five minutes. Fluff with a fork and serve.
- Yield: 8 servings.
Chula’s Expert Tips
- My favorite smoked sausage is Conecuh Original Smoked Sausage. You can use Andouille sausage if you can’t find this sausage in your grocery store.
- My go-to Creole seasoning is Emeril’s Essence.
- It’s best to use long-grain rice in this recipe. Short-grain rice will tend to become mushy.
- I used low-sodium chicken broth. You can also use regular chicken broth. However, check the salt level of the jambalaya.