New Orleans Jambalaya is classic spicy cuisine from the Crescent City. Laizzez les bons temps rouler with this iconic one-pot meal that’s perfect for Mardi Gras. It combines rice, shrimp, chicken, and andouille sausage in a spicy tomato sauce enhanced by the holy trinity.
Origins of Jambalaya
The word jambalaya comes from the Provençal word jambalaia, meaning a mish mash, or mixup. It also means a pilaf (pilau) of rice.
Jambalaya can trace its origins to both Spanish and French cuisines – paella from Valencia and jambalaia from Provence. Other Louisiana dishes such as gumbo and étouffée cook the rice separately. Jambalaya on the other hand has the rice cooked with the other ingredients.
What You’ll Need to Make This Recipe
This recipe uses traditional New Orleans ingredients.
- The Holy Trinity: It wouldn’t be jambalaya without the holy trinity of onions, celery, bell pepper and garlic.
- The Protein: For the protein, I used fresh gulf shrimp, tender chicken thighs and Andouille sausage.
- The Rice: Rice is a characteristic ingredient of jambalaya. I like to use regular long-grain rice.
- The Liquids: For the liquids, I used low sodium chicken broth and canned diced tomatoes.
- The Flavor Enhancers: To enhance the flavors of this amazing dish, I used hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, Creole seasoning, Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
How I Made This Iconic New Orleans Dish
Making the New Orleans Jambalaya is relatively easy.
- I started by separately combining the shrimp with the Creole seasoning and the chicken with the Creole Seasoning.
- Next, I added the shrimp to a large Dutch oven with a bit of olive oil over medium heat. I cooked the shrimp for several minutes until it started to turn pink. Then, I removed the shrimp from the Dutch oven and set it aside.
- I sautéed the onion, celery and bell pepper in the Dutch oven until they started to soften. This took about 10 minutes. After that, I added the garlic and continued cooking the mixture for about 30 seconds until the garlic was fragrant.
- I added the chicken that I had previously combined with the Creole seasoning to the Dutch oven. I cooked the chicken for about 5 minutes.
- After that, I added the andouille sausage and cooked the mixture for several additional minutes.
- Finally, I added the rice which I had rinsed, the diced tomatoes, chicken broth, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper.
- I stirred everything together and brought the jambalaya to a boil. Then, I covered the Dutch oven and reduced the heat to medium low.
After about 15 minutes, I removed the cover of the Dutch oven and added the shrimp that I had previously cooked.
I again covered the Dutch oven and cooked the mixture for another 10 minutes or so until the rice was done.
After the 10 minutes, I tasted the Spicy New Orleans Jambalaya to see if it needed any hot sauce, or any more salt or pepper. I actually thought that it was perfect as is!
I served this incredible one-pot Spicy New Orleans Jambalaya with some Crusty French Bread. It was like being in the French Quarter. Laissez les bons temps rouler – Yum!
Frequently Asked Questions
Jambalaya and gumbo differ in two respects. First, rice is a key ingredient in making jambalaya whereas gumbo is traditionally served over rice. Second, jambalaya is not roux based. The cooking of gumbo on the other hand starts with a roux.
Technically, with this recipe, the jambalaya is Creole because of the addition of tomatoes.
Most often, jambalaya is made with long-grain rice. Short-grain rice tends to make the jambalaya mushy. You could also use brown rice in the jambalaya, but would need to adjust the cooking time. Jasmine rice and basmati rice could also be used.
You can definitely omit the shrimp from the jambalaya.
Leftover jambalaya can be stored, covered in the refrigerator for several days and gently reheated.
Other New Orleans Recipes
If you’re a fan of New Orleans cuisine, you should check out these amazing recipes:
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Spicy New Orleans Jambalaya
- 1 Tablespoon Creole seasoning, divided
- 12 ounces peeled and deveined medium shrimp (about 2 cups) (See Tip 1)
- 12 ounces skinless and boneless chicken thighs, trimmed of fat and cut into 1-inch pieces (about 2 cups) (See Tip 2)
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- ½ cup chopped onions
- ½ cup chopped celery
- ½ cup chopped green bell peppers
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 12 ounces andouille sausage (about 2 cups sliced)
- 1-½ cups long-grain white rice, rinsed (See Tip 3)
- 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- ½ teaspoon Kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Hot sauce to taste
- Minced parsley for garnish (optional)
- Combine shrimp and ½ tablespoon of Creole seasoning in a small bowl; combine chicken and remaining ½ tablespoon of Creole seasoning in another small bowl. Set aside.
- Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add shrimp; cook for 3 minutes or until shrimp starts to turn pink. Remove from pan; shrimp will not be fully cooked at this point.
- Add onions, celery and bell pepper to Dutch oven. Sauté over medium heat for 10 minutes. Add garlic; cook for 30 seconds or until fragrant. Add chicken that has been mixed with Creole seasonings. Cook 5 minutes. Add andouille sausage; stir to combine. Cook mixture for 2 to 3 additional minutes.
- Add rice; stir to combine. Add diced tomatoes, chicken broth, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper; stir to combine. Bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat to medium low; cover pan and cook for 15 minutes. Add shrimp; cover pan and cook for 10 additional minutes, or until rice is done and liquid has been absorbed. If necessary add additional broth.
- Add hot sauce to taste if desired. Correct seasonings.
- Garnish with minced parsley if desired.
- Yield: 8 servings. (See Tip 4)
Chula’s Expert Tips
- I used fresh Gulf shrimp. However, you could also use frozen shrimp in this recipe. Alternatively, you could omit the shrimp.
- Chicken breasts could be substituted for the chicken thighs.
- It’s best not to use a short-grain rice in this recipe. The reason is that the short-grain rice tends to become mushy.
- Leftovers, if any can be stored, covered in the refrigerator for several days.