Ah! I am here!
And I come bearing Jambalaya!
This website has spent many years in my mind and several months in the making so figuring out what to post for my first recipe was seriously a daunting task. You see, I have so many amazing recipes to share with you that choosing one to be THE NUMBER ONE was kind of scary!
After much thought and the fact that I am incredibly indecisive, I realized the only recipe that deserved to be “the one” is this one. Cajun Jambalaya. Something I make at least every other week, something I make all year round and something that is always requested by my husband when I just don’t know what to make!
Let’s go back to the beginning. Years ago when I was a 23 year old, living on her own, dreaming of having a little corner of the internet, this recipe was created. Why jambalaya you ask? Well for one because it was Mardi Gras and I’m a sucker for a good theme party! Also because I was having some girlfriends over for dinner and when asked what we would be having I blurted out “jambalaya of course, it’s Mardi Gras.” Guess who had NEVER made jambalaya before? Two thumbs pointing at this girl.
So I made it up on the fly with ingredients I thought would work and it was pretty darn good! I have continued to tweak that “recipe” over the years using a wide variety of vegetables, grains and proteins until I figured out the perfect, fool proof version. I will warn you, it is probably incredibly inauthentic compared to what real Louisianans would make but I don’t care because it tastes incredible.
This dish is everything. Savory. Spicy. Warm. Comforting. EASY. Plus it’s all made in one skillet. It makes for an easy weeknight dinner or an impressive make-ahead meal for guests. The ultimate seal of approval? My leftover hating husband even asks for the leftovers!
What other dish could I have possibly chosen to be “the one?”
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup red bell pepper, chopped
- 2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
- 2 teaspoon cajun seasoning, divided
- 1 14 ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 cup uncooked long grain white rice
- 3.5 cups chicken broth, divided
- 1 cup chicken breast, shredded
- 2 links andouille sausage, cooked and sliced**
- hot sauce (optional)
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and saute until slightly golden about 2-3 minutes. Add bell pepper, carrots and one teaspoon of cajun seasoning, saute about 5 minutes stirring frequently.
Once veggies have started to soften, add the crushed tomatoes and bay leaves, simmering for 1-2 minutes. Add the white rice and 3 cups of chicken broth and stir to combine. Cover with a lid and turn heat down to medium-low, stirring every 5-10 minutes, simmer until rice is cooked through and the liquids have absorbed about 15-20 minutes. If you notice the liquid is all absorbed before the rice is cooked through, add a little extra chicken broth or water.
Once rice is cooked, add remaining cajun seasoning, chicken broth, chicken and sausage. Simmer on low heat uncovered for about 3 minutes or until chicken and sausage are heated through and liquid has absorbed. Season with hot sauce and salt to taste. Note: You may not need to add extra salt if you have a cajun seasoning blend with high sodium content.
**Andouille sausage comes in several forms, if you can find fresh andouille sausage I recommend that for this dish (but be sure to cook it ahead of time.) However, if fresh is not available you can substitute precooked smoked andouille sausage and it will still turn out great! If you use this type, I recommend searing the sausage in a hot skillet prior to slicing and adding it to the dish.