I am living in a state where it isn't easy to find good creole or barbecue, so naturally I learned to slay and make my own. This recipe is definitely a family favorite and a one pot meal so the clean up is so easy, which is very important to me! There are lots of ingredients which can be daunting, even I was afraid at first of the long list, but believe me, it's well worth it. Give yourself a little extra time with this one, because there is a lot of prep, but that's my favorite part! It may be strange, but I LOVE chopping!
This recipe has been in my life for a while, and I can't remember where it originally came from, but it has been changed a bit throughout the years. The best part about Jambalaya, is that it's pretty much a jumble. You can put anything you like in the pot and it will turn out, within reason of course. I've added chicken before, or swapped out the shrimp for craw fish (which was amazing, but hard to find at the grocery store), it's even a great way to use up all that left over rice from when you ordered Chinese food earlier this week.
Like I said, this is a one pot meal, so you don't need too many tools or dishes, but start by getting those ready. You will need a large pot with a lid, we use our dutch oven, because it is non stick for the most part and distributes heat evenly. Now, grab a large cutting board and a very sharp knife, we are gonna be doing so much chopping. Lastly, get your favorite stirring tool ready, my favorite tool for this is a wooden spoon. Wooden spoons are large enough, they are sturdy and don't ruin your non stick surfaces.
Okay, like I said, the list of ingredients is daunting so lets get started. This recipe takes about an hour from start to finish, or longer depending on which rice you chose and makes enough food to feed your whole neighborhood. Just kidding, but it does feed 8-12 people depending on serving sizes...
Pre-heat the pot you are using with 2 tablespoons of olive oil then dice the sausage and ham into bite sized pieces and add to the hot oil. Cook this for 5 to 8 minutes, or until the meat is browned. Once the meat is done, remove from pot and set aside, you will add this back into the pot later. The reason we are removing this is so the meat doesn't overcook, and so the pot is less crowded for your veggies.
Now for my favorite part. Start chopping those veggies ya'll! Chop the onion, bell peppers and celery into small bite sized pieces. The first time I made this, I diced the veggies too small for my liking. The dish still tasted great, but I do like to have bigger chunks of vegetables now so I cut them into about half inch chunks. Once the onion, bell peppers and celery are prepped, add these to the same pot in which the meat was browned. This adds so much flavor! While these veggies are getting tender, start prepping the jalapeno and garlic. To do this, you will dice the jalapeno into small pieces and mince the garlic. Hint... if you want this dish to have a kick, leave in some of the jalapeno seeds, if not, just remove them. Once the onion and pepper mixture is about half way done, add the jalapeno and garlic to the pan then finish cooking until the veggies are all perfectly tender. You will know they are ready once the onion is translucent, soft and slightly browned on the edges.
Let the jumble begin! The veggies are tender, so now we can add the meat back in. Once the meat is back in the pan, add the canned tomatoes, tomato paste, thyme, oregano, bay leaves, salt and pepper, chicken stock and rice...whew!! Stir this all together so everything is well combined and bring mixture to a boil and cover pot. This next step all depends on the rice you are using. Read the directions on the box or bag and cook rice using these instructions.
Your kitchen smells like New Orleans now and we are almost done! When the rice is about five minutes from being done, add in your shrimp and Tabasco then cover pot again so the rice can finish cooking. Shrimp does not take long to cook, this is why we are adding it late in the game. If shrimp is overcooked, it becomes rubbery and too chewy so make sure you don't add it too early.
Five minutes has now passed, and the rice is tender and fluffy! Take the lid off the pot, fluff your rice and remove your pot from the heat. Last but not least, stir in the fresh diced parsley and squeeze the juice of one lemon into the mixture. Stir really well again and serve steaming hot! You can add dashes of Tabasco sauce for more heat if that's what you're into. You will all love this so much. You will, don't even question it! Thanks for cooking with me and I hope you all try this one.