Jambalaya is one of those dishes that has almost as many versions as there are people who cook it. I grew up eating my aunt’s jambalaya at her big house in little Mamou, LA and her version will forever live in my mind as the classic Cajun recipe. Fresh gulf shrimp, andouille sausage and chicken jambalaya was her South Louisiana answer to “surf and turf,” with a little “sky” thrown in for good measure.
In spite of the fact that food-wise, the world is getting a little smaller, it’s still hard to find good, authentic andouille sausage when you travel more than a hundred miles or so outside of Louisiana (believe me, I’ve tried). So I’ve come up with a simpler version…no, it’s not authentic, but it will stick to your ribs and make you want to hum a few bars of Jole Blon just the same.
This dish is all about the fond, the little brown bits that stick to the bottom of the pan. I start off with a couple of tablespoons of butter, melted in the pan before adding chicken seasoned with salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper. Once the chicken is cooked I’ll remove it from the pan to rest while I cook the onions, celery and bell peppers. Just when the vegetables are starting to get translucent I’ll cube the chicken and then it’s back in the pan along with a little minced garlic.
Now it’s time to deglaze the pan. Chicken stock or broth is best, but even if your pantry is bare and you’re reduced to using water you’ll still get a nice, deep brown sauce with this dish because of all of that wonderful fond.
Now we just add the rice and mix thoroughly before bringing the contents of the pan to a boil. Once it stars boiling reduce the heat to medium low, cover and cook for an additional 20 minutes.
Chicken jambalaya is such a simple, tasty one-dish meal. I hope you’ll give it a try and let me know what you think of it in the comments.
- 3 boneless skinless chicken thighs
- 1 large onion
- 1 large bell pepper
- 3 stalks celery
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 cup rice
- 2 cups chicken stock or broth
- 2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- 2 Tbsp butter
- In a large pan over medium heat melt butter then season and brown chicken on both sides before removing from pan to rest
- Dice celery, onion and bell pepper, add to pan after removing chicken and cook until translucent
- While vegetables are cooking cube chicken and mince garlic
- Add chicken and garlic to pan and heat for 1 minute
- Deglaze pan with chicken broth
- Add rice and stir to mix
- Bring contents to a boil, then lower heat to medium low
- Cover and cook for 20 minutes, until liquid is gone from the bottom of the pan and rice is tender