Traditional recipes

What Is Jambalaya?

What Is Jambalaya?


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Jambalaya — even the name sounds like a party about to happen. And this big, easy, one-pot party dish from the Big Easy is full of flavor and doesn't require a ton of work. If you have a crowd to feed, and you don’t feel like doing a roast, then this might be just the dish to make.

This rice dish is reminiscent of Spanish paella in that its main flavoring component is oftentimes — you guessed it — sausage. Whereas paella takes on flavors of garlic and paprika with smoky chorizo, jambalaya takes on the heat of hot andouille, another type of pork sausage. But this isn’t a hard and fast rule — and that’s another trait this dish shares with paella — just about every cook has a slightly different version of it. In fact, that’s probably why there’s a jambalaya showdown every year in Gonzales, La., which proudly calls itself the "Jambalaya Capital of the World."

Typically, though, there will be onion, celery, green bell peppers (the "trinity" as Emeril Lagasse calls it), tomatoes, garlic, and just about any kind of meat or seafood nestled in the rice. Seasonings commonly include paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne, dried oregano, and dried thyme. Whatever you decide to put into your jambalaya though, the method generally remains the same — most people start by browning the meat, then sauté the vegetables and add the broth. Tomatoes, spices, and rice are added to the mix, and cooked over low heat until the rice becomes tender. Seafood or any other meats which cook quickly are added toward the end.

So don’t wait any longer. In fact, you can almost hear the trombones in the distance. And when the big parade comes, you’d better be ready to feed them or they’ll be hooting and hollering in your ear until you do.

Click here to see Big Chef Kevin’s Jambalaya Recipe.


Authentic Jambalaya

Authentic Jambalaya Recipe. This quintessential dish from New Orleans is a spicy one-pot rice dish featuring chicken, andouille sausage, shrimp, and a whole host of Southern flavors. Let the feast begin!

Most of us won’t be going down to New Orleans for Mardi Gras, but that doesn’t have to stop us from enjoying some great Creole food, does it? No way! We can travel to New Orleans via our taste buds by making and enjoying its most famous dish, Jambalaya! This authentic Jambalaya recipe consistently gets rave reviews and is sure to be a hit at your dinner table!


What to Serve With Jambalaya

Since it&rsquos loaded with starch, protein, and vegetables, technically you can eat it on its own. But if you&rsquore wondering what goes with jambalaya, you&rsquove come to the right place!

If you&rsquore having trouble thinking of dishes that will go with the complex flavors of jambalaya, I have you covered.

Here are 12 fantastic side dishes to pair with jambalaya.

1. Cornbread

Corn is a staple in Louisiana creole cuisine, so expect tons of corn-based sides in this list. Let&rsquos start things off with cornbread.

This buttery southern favorite can be prepared either sweet or savory, depending on your taste preference.

I prefer sweet cornbread with my jambalaya, but if you want a savory bread, just go easy on the sugar and you&rsquore all set.

2. Corn on the Cob

Aside from making cornbread, you know what else you can do with corn? Grill it! It&rsquos a simple summer side that goes well with anything.

It&rsquos sweet, crunchy, and smells fantastic &ndash everything your hearty jambalaya needs!

And it&rsquos super easy to prepare. Just grill the cobs for 15-20 minutes, slather them with butter, sprinkle them with a bit of cajun seasoning, and they&rsquore done.

3. Cheddar Biscuits

Sure, jambalaya is already so hearty, but if you&rsquore feeding a huge crowd, make sure they&rsquoll leave full and happy by serving them some fluffy cheddar biscuits.

The mild savoriness of the cheddar plus the garlicky flavor of the biscuit complement your Cajun entrée oh so well.

4. Hush Puppies

Here&rsquos another classic southern staple that features corn: hush puppies. And yes, these fluffy deep-fried fritters taste amazing with jambalaya.

Again, there&rsquos just something about the combination of garlicy Andouille sausage and sweet corn that is completely irresistible.

5. Green Salad

For those who find jambalaya a bit too heavy, this side is for you. Give your main entrée a light partner with a simple green salad.

Green salad is crunchy and refreshing, and super nutritious, and it balances out the heartiness of the jambalaya.

Serve this on the side of your entrée and you won&rsquot feel as guilty eating such a high-calorie dish.

Just combine your favorite greens, nuts, proteins, veggies, cheese, and dressing, and you&rsquore good to go!

I suggest adding avocado slices and goat cheese, though, as their creamy and tangy flavors complement jambalaya well.

6. Cucumber Tomato Salad

Here&rsquos another light and refreshing dish to round out your jambalaya meal. It&rsquos a bright and beautiful plate, bursting with summer flavors that pair wonderfully well with the hearty dis

And it&rsquos easy to prepare, too! Just slice up some tomatoes, cucumbers, and fresh dill, mix them up and coat in an apple cider vinaigrette, and you&rsquoll have a cool and refreshing salad.

7. Grilled Oysters

What better way to pair your savory and spicy jambalaya than with some sweet, buttery, and briny oysters?

I like eating my oysters raw with some vinegar, but if you&rsquove got a sensitive tummy, grilled oysters also make a fabulous jambalaya side.

And of course, if you&rsquore serving grilled oysters, you&rsquod better prepare some remoulade sauce to go with!

8. Chard or Collard Greens

Your jambalaya is already loaded with tons of flavor, so you&rsquoll want something mild and subtle to go with it. Something as simple as sauteed chard is all it needs.

This leafy veggie is packed with vitamins and minerals and balances out the heaviness of the jambalaya.

To make, just saute the leaves with oil, vinegar, brown sugar, and onions. These simple ingredients, when combined, make such a flavorful dish.

If you&rsquore not a fan of chard, though, you can make the same recipe using collard greens! The veggie is just as nutritious as chard and also tastes great when sauteed.

9. Okra

If you want another nutritious side but want to stick to a southern theme, then okra is the way to go.

This slimy veggie transforms into an addictive dish when coated in batter and deep-fried until golden brown.

Alternatively, you can sautee it in bacon grease and make a salad. Mix it with tomatoes, onions, peppers, and bacon, and drench in a sweet vinegar dressing.

10. Savory Crepes

Surprised? Yup, savory crepes make an appetizing side dish to jambalaya too!

While it takes a while to prepare them, they only require basic pantry ingredients.

If you&rsquove got flour, eggs, butter, milk, and sugar, you&rsquore all set.

But don&rsquot forget to flavor your crepes with garlic, thyme, and parsley so they&rsquore wonderfully savory.

11. Zucchini

Zucchini has gotten popular over the recent years, and for good reason. It&rsquos crunchy, nutritious, versatile, and easy to work with!

You can fry it, saute it, or eat it raw.

This veggie is so refreshing, it gives a delightful contrast to the uber-rich jambalaya.

12. Corn Maque Choux

I&rsquoll end this list with yet another corn-based dish because, as you know, corn and jambalaya truly make an excellent pair.

Corn maque choux is a vegetable dish made with corn, tomatoes, and bell peppers.

The Louisiana classic may be simple, but it&rsquos packed with so much flavor!

And despite the fancy name, it&rsquos easy to make, too. Just saute the veggies, flavor with broth and seasonings, and let it simmer. Drain any excess liquid, and you&rsquore all set!

If you want to add a depth of flavor to the dish, you can add some sugar, vinegar, and Dijon mustard to the dish. Yum!


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Creole Jambalaya

Jambalaya is a wildly popular dish that originated in New Orleans and was inspired by flavors around the world&mdashSpanish, West African, and French to name a few. Our recipe was inspired by other Creole recipes. (The tomatoes are a sign that it's not Cajun.) It's spicy, hearty, and incredibly flavorful. And as with most things, the better ingredients, the better the end result will taste.

In the Delish kitchen, we prefer our shrimp keep their tails because they hold a ton of flavor. Without them, you lose some of that classic seafood essence synonymous with recipes like jambalaya and gumbo. Leave 'em on! And as always, make sure you're buying sustainably&mdashThe Monterey Bay Aquarium has an amazing guide that can walk you through purchasing shrimp ethically.

This isn't just any sausage, this is THE sausage. Andouille is a staple of Creole cooking, characterized by its smoky flavor and specific blend of spices. If you can't find Andouille sausage near you, you could start with ground pork and build the usual flavors in. Turn to spices and add chili powder, smoked paprika, cumin, dried oregano, and a pinch of cayenne pepper. (Or, any combination of those spices, based on what you have!) In recipes like this, the more flavor, the better! So don't be shy with the spices, just keep tasting so you don't overdo it.

Long grain is best. Other types of rice might get mushy or clump together when cooked in this style. Just be sure you're getting the classic kind, not quick cooking. Or else it will be mush. Mush = 😩

One more note on rice&mdashdon't forget to rinse it! I know like it sounds like an unnecessary step (and an unnecessary dirty strainer), but it's really important. There are starches on the surface that can cause the rice to clump or cook up gummy. Add your rice to a strainer and rinse until the water runs clear.

Now that you&rsquore clued into this Jambalaya recipe&rsquos key ingredients, you&rsquore ready to cook! Check out our FAQ&rsquos below for any other questions you may have.

What kind of equipment do I need for this recipe?

Though the flavors in this recipe are complex, you only need a few items to make it! For prep you&rsquoll need a cutting board and chef&rsquos knife for chopping the veggies and meats. You&rsquoll need measuring spoons, dry measuring cups, and liquid measuring cups to measure ingredients like spices, rice, and chicken broth. For cooking, all you really need is a big pot or dutch oven (with a lid!) and a wooden or metal slotted spoon for stirring. When it comes to serving, all you need are some bowls or plates!

Not very. If you&rsquore a spice lover, consider tweaking the spices, or adding some new ones. Adding a teaspoon or so of cayenne pepper should do the trick, or you could add a fresh hot pepper. We learned while testing our oxtail soup that simmering with a single habanero adds all the heat and flavor we could possibly want from a hot pepper. Be cautious though, no matter how small they are they really pack a punch.

If you&rsquod rather add the heat after it&rsquos cooked, rather then ruin the whole batch with too-spicy modifications, you&rsquove got another option! Though it&rsquos not traditional, I love serving with hot sauce (Crystal, if you can find it) on the side to spice it up.

What should I serve with my Jambalaya?

Jambalaya is sort of a complete meal on its own! You&rsquove got protein, carbs, and veggies all in one! If you want to make a side, we&rsquod pick something light, raw, and crunchy like a salad. This hearty dish brings a lot of flavor to the table, so something simple and fresh is best.

How long will this keep in the fridge?

We&rsquod say no longer than 3 to 4 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator. To reheat, add a little vegetable oil to a large skillet and add your leftovers, stirring occasionally. A dish like this can be tricky to reheat and can easily turn to mush&mdashfrying it in a pan can help bring some much needed texture. Let the rice crisp up on the bottom of the pan, but try to avoid cooking the shrimp too much longer, since it can get tough and chewy the longer it cooks.

How long will this keep in the freezer?

As with most dishes, Jambalaya can keep for months in the freezer. Reheating it from its frozen state is less than ideal though, since the rice will turn to total mush. If you&rsquore planning on making Jambalaya in advance and freezing it, leave out the rice and cook it fresh when you&rsquore ready to serve.

Can I use thighs instead of breasts?

Absolutely! Make sure you&rsquore using boneless, skinless chicken thighs. Dark meat takes longer to cook than white meat, so make sure it&rsquos completely tender before serving.

What&rsquos the difference between stock and broth?

Believe it or not, they&rsquore quite different! Stock is made by simmering animal bones (which are sometimes roasted) with aromatics and vegetables for 2 to 6 hours. Broth is made by simmering meat (with or without bones) again with aromatics and vegetables, but for a much shorter time usually 1 to 2 hours. Broth is often seasoned with salt and spices.

Can I remove the shrimp tails?

Absolutely! It&rsquos nice to not worry about eating around the tails. They do serve a purpose, though. Shrimp shells are extremely flavorful, and leaving them on while simmering gives the jambalaya its token seafood flavor. If you&rsquod like to keep that flavor but skip the tails, or if your shrimp came without them, you can substitute 1 or both cups of chicken broth for seafood broth.

Have you made this recipe? Let u know how you liked it in the comments below!

Editor's Note: This recipe was most recently updated on February 1, 2021 to provide more information about the dish.


Add the chicken back to the pot along with the stock. Reduce the heat to a low simmer, cover, and cook until the rice has plumped and absorbed all the stock, and the chicken is cooked through, about 30 minutes. At the finish, fluff the rice with a fork and tweak the seasoning. Here is where you could add optional shrimp or crawfish, stirring into the dish for a few minutes, until they are just pink throughout.

A sprinkling of chopped scallion and parsley adds freshness and color. Jenny Huang


Recipe One Sheet Jambalaya with Shrimp and Sausage

  • Calories: 200
  • Protein: 22 g
  • Total Fat: 1.5 g
    • Unsaturated Fat: 7.5 g
    • Saturated Fat: 1.5 g
    • Natural Sugar: 3 g
    • Added Sugar: 0 g

    Big, bright, and bold flavors come together quickly in this quintessential, one-and-done Sheet Pan Jambalaya with Shrimp & Sausage! Packed with protein and vibrant veggies, this aromatic and scrumptious dish is sure to be a hit in your household. I use sliced onions, bell peppers, and celery as my vegetable base — the holy trinity and savory backbone of Cajun and Creole cooking—flavored with a store-bought spice combo. However, I also show you how to easily create a DIY seasoning blend using everyday individual spices you probably have stashed in your pantry. If you want to turn up the heat, opt for a spicier pre-cooked sausage or add a pinch more cayenne and get ready to feel the burn.

    • • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
    • • 12 oz pre-cooked andouille chicken sausage, sliced into bite-size circles
    • • 1 large green or red bell pepper, cut into ½-inch slices
    • • 1 medium onion, cut into ½-inch pieces
    • • 8 oz grape or cherry tomatoes
    • • 2 celery stalks, thinly sliced into ½-inch pieces
    • • 1 Tablespoon Creole or Cajun seasoning blend, divided*
    • • 1-pound uncooked shrimp, peeled, deveined, tail off
    • • 1 teaspoon lemon zest, optional
    • • Optional garnish: lemon wedges, hot sauce, fresh chopped parsley, sliced scallions.

    *You can make your own Creole seasoning blend by mixing the following spices in a small bowl:

    • • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
    • • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
    • • 1 teaspoon onion powder
    • • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
    • • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    • • 1/8 to ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (or more if you like heat)

    Preheat oven to 400°. Mist a large sheet pan (or 2 standard-size pans) with nonstick oil spray. Set aside.

    In a large bowl add 1 tablespoon olive oil, sausage, peppers, onion, tomatoes, and celery. Add 1 ½ teaspoons of Creole/Cajun seasoning blend. Mix until everything is well coated in oil and spices. Spread evenly onto the prepared baking sheet(s) into one layer. Roast in the oven for about 20 minutes, or until veggies start to become nicely charred on the edges.

    While veggies and sausage are roasting in oven, add the shrimp in a medium bowl and toss with the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and remaining 1 ½ tsp Creole/Cajun seasoning blend. Add optional lemon zest, if desired. Mix well until shrimp are evenly coated.

    When veggies and sausage reach 20-minute mark in oven, remove sheet pan(s) and using tongs, place shrimp on cooked veggies and sausage. Roast for another 8 to 10 minutes or until shrimp turn pink. (Larger prawns will take about 10 to 12 minutes).

    Serve immediately with your choice of rice (brown rice, cauliflower rice, etc.), and garnish with optional fresh lemon wedges, hot sauce, parsley, and/or scallions.


    Recipe Summary

    • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
    • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
    • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
    • 3 celery stalks, finely chopped
    • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
    • 1 green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and finely chopped
    • 1 pound andouille sausage, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
    • 2 garlic cloves, minced
    • 2 cups homemade or low-sodium store-bought chicken stock
    • 3/4 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
    • 1 can (14 ounces) crushed tomatoes with juice
    • 1 cup long-grain rice

    Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Cook until golden brown, about 5 minutes per side. Cut into 3/4-inch pieces set aside.

    Add vegetables to pot. Cook, stirring, 5 minutes. Add sausage cook 3 minutes. Add garlic cook 1 minute. Stir in stock, Old Bay, tomatoes, and 1/2 cup water bring to a boil. Add rice and chicken. Reduce heat simmer 12 minutes. Cover remove from heat. Let stand until rice is tender and liquid is mostly absorbed, 30 to 35 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.


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    Recipe Summary

    • 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - cut into 1 inch cubes
    • 1 pound andouille sausage, sliced
    • 1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice
    • 1 large onion, chopped
    • 1 large green bell pepper, chopped
    • 1 cup chopped celery
    • 1 cup chicken broth
    • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
    • 2 teaspoons dried parsley
    • 2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
    • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
    • 1 pound frozen cooked shrimp without tails

    In a slow cooker, mix the chicken, sausage, tomatoes with juice, onion, green bell pepper, celery, and broth. Season with oregano, parsley, Cajun seasoning, cayenne pepper, and thyme.

    Cover, and cook 7 to 8 hours on Low, or 3 to 4 hours on High. Stir in the shrimp during the last 30 minutes of cook time.


    Watch the video: John Besh: New Orleans Best Jambalaya. National Geographic (June 2022).


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