Jambalaya

$10.99 recipe / $1.37 serving

Once I got over the excitement of roasting a chicken, I quickly realized that roasted chicken is not the type of thing that I really enjoy eating (smart, eh?). So, I set to work turning the chicken into something that I would actually look forward to eating, like… Jambalaya!

Chicken & Sausage Jambalaya

I’ve lived in Louisiana for almost ten years now and jambalaya is definitely one of my favorite “local” foods. Surprisingly, I had never made a pot until now. I’ve been very busy so instead of doing a bunch of recipe research I just turned to my most trusted cook book, The Joy of Cooking. Working off of the backbone of that recipe, I made it fit my budget and on-hand ingredients. Now, I know this recipe is probably not like your Cajun Grandmother’s recipe but it is pretty darn good! I’ve been happily eating my jambalaya every day since :D

I made a couple changes, of course. First, I bought a bag of frozen, chopped onion, celery and bell pepper. Sometimes, depending on produce prices, the frozen pre-chopped mix is less expensive than buying one onion, one bell pepper and a bunch of celery. Plus, as mentioned, I was super busy this week and needed every short cut I could get. If you want to use fresh, just sub one onion, one bell pepper and 1/2 bunch of celery.

Second, I increased the rice/meat ratio. The recipe called for only one cup of rice and two pounds of meat and I felt that it could be stretched out a bit more. Even after increasing the rice to 2 cups (about 5 cups once cooked), the mix seemed almost 50/50 rice to meat. I bet you could up the rice to three cups (and 5 cups water, yielding 8 cups cooked) and make even more servings for an even lower price.

Anyway, I WILL be cooking this again.

Jambalaya

Chicken & Sausage Jambalaya

3.7 from 3 reviews
jambalaya
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Total Cost: $10.99
Cost Per Serving: $1.37
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 1 lb. cooked chicken $2.99
  • 1 lb. smoked sausage $3.99
  • 4 cloves garlic $0.16
  • 12 oz. seasoning mix (diced onion, bell pepper, celery)
  • (onion, bell pepper, celery) $1.25
  • 2 cups long grain rice $0.60
  • ½ to 1 tsp cayenne pepper $0.05
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste $0.19
  • 3.5 cups water $0.00
  • 1 can (15 oz) diced tomatoes $1.26
  • 2 whole bay leaves $0.05
  • ½ tsp dried thyme $0.05
  • ½ bunch parsley $0.35
  • to taste salt and pepper $0.05
Instructions
  1. Slice the sausage and cook in a large pot over medium heat until thoroughly cooked (about 5 minutes). Don’t worry if the drippings begin to stick and coat the bottom of the pan, it will be deglazed later. Remove the cooked meat (leaving the fat/drippings in the pan) and set it aside for later.
  2. Add the chopped onion, bell pepper, celery and garlic to the pot with the meat drippings and cook until soft (about 3-5 minutes). The moisture from the vegetables should loosen anything stuck to the bottom of the pan from the meat (all of that flavorful good stuff).
  3. Once the vegetables have softened, add the dry rice, cayenne pepper and tomato paste. Stir it all together and cook for approximately 1 minute more. This will allow the tomato paste to caramelize and the rice to toast just slightly.
  4. Add 3.5 cups of water, diced tomatoes, bay leaves, thyme, fresh cracked pepper (about 20 cranks) and salt (about ½ tsp). Stir it together, then add the meat back into the pot. Bring it up to a simmer, add a lid and reduce the heat to low. Allow the pot to simmer on low until all of the moisture has been absorbed by the rice (about 30 minutes). Stir in the chopped parsley and serve.
Notes
If you don’t have pre-cooked chicken, use 1 lb. chicken thighs. Cook them along with the sausage in the first step.

 

Step By Step Photos

cook sausageSlice and cook the sausage (and chicken if using raw) in a large pot until done (about 5 minutes). Remove the meat from the pot and set aside for later.

seasoning blendThis frozen seasoning blend (onion, bell pepper, celery) was definitely a life saver with my recent time constraints… plus it was actually less than buying the fresh – I checked.

cook vegetablesCook the vegetables in the left over meat drippings until soft. The moisture from the vegetables will pull up all of the flavor stuck to the bottom of the pot (that’s why it’s brown-ish).

rice tomato paste cayenneAdd the rice (I used brown & white), tomato paste and cayenne pepper.

stir, cookStir them all around for about a minute to let it cook just slightly…

water tomatoes bay leafAdd the water, can of diced tomatoes, bay leaf, thyme, salt and pepper.

add meat back inAdd the cooked meat back into the pot. Bring the mixture to a simmer then put the lid on, reduce the heat to low and let it cook until the rice has soaked up all of the liquid (about 30 minutes).

jambalaya all done!Fluff it up with a fork and stir in the chopped parsley!

jambalaya

C’est bon!

p.s. This freezes well.

58 Comments

  1. Danyel says:

    I took many many liberties with this one. After reading through the reviews I realized my ridiculously picky husband would never be satisfied with the recipe as is. I used chicken breast instead of thigh, which I seasoned liberally with salt and pepper during cooking. I added a diced jalapeno. I tripled the thyme and doubled the garlic. I used chicken broth instead of water. I added the whole can of tomato paste. And I accidentally added way too much pepper. My husband LOVED it. He thought I’d used his recipe which is extremely traditional and regularly requested at the tailgates. I’m still floored.

    • Those sound like really good ideas. I haven’t made this yet, but am planning to, and will definitely take those thoughts into consideration. I like spicy and tons of flavour. :)

  2. ali0997 says:

    We followed this recipe to a T and we’ve been trying to get this rice to be soft for an hour and half! We keep adding more liquid and its just not getting soft. Wth! :( Probably won’t make this again.

  3. Jenn says:

    You say 12oz seasoning mix… What does that mean? That seems like a lot of seasonings- Cajun seasoning? onion, garlic powder etc? What exactly do you recommend using for seasonings? Thank you!

    • It’s a frozen vegetable mix that was called “seasoning mix”… it’s basically trinity, or a mix of onion, bell pepper, and celery. :)

      • Wiotch says:

        I really don’t like celery. If I take out the celery, will it negatively alter the dish? I read somewhere that onions, bell pepper and celery is the “holy trinity” of Cajun cuisine so maybe I won’t notice the celery too much since I enjoyed every Cajun dish I’ve had :P

  4. I really want to try this recipe, but have no idea what “seasoning mix” the recipe is referring to. What kind of seasoning??

    • Sorry about that! It’s a frozen mix of pre-diced onion, celery, and bell pepper. It really cuts down on the prep work for this recipe and it’s often less expensive than buying the vegetables separately.

  5. Elizabeth says:

    I’ve been looking for an easy and tasty jambalaya recipe for a freezer exchange group I’m in-do you cook it first then freeze it?

    If so, to reheat would you just thaw and reheat over stove too?

    Thanks!

    • Yes, this can definitely be frozen. :) I usually reheat in the microwave as it keeps things very moist. If you reheat on the stove top, just be sure to do it over a lower heat so that the bottom doesn’t burn and you may need to add a splash of water. Try not to over stir, too, as that can make the rice gooey.

  6. Enybe says:

    Sooo good! With tony’s yum. My husband has lots of family in LA and they make Jambalaya all the time. I did’t realize how easy it is to make. Thank you! Your blog has helped us so much to organize our weekly meals! I love to cook but with a 9 month old baby and full time jobs we needed to some changes in our routine to make sure we had healthy meals regularly. With your blog we’ve been eating pretty good these days and for cheap! Perfect.

  7. Elizabeth says:

    Do you think I could just put all the ingredients except for the rice in a bag to freeze before cooking?

    And how do you think this would do in the crockpot?

    • Hmmm, I’m not sure about either of those things. I think I’d have to try it first to see. My hunch is that it would be very mushy in the crock pot, though.

  8. Bekah says:

    That is a great idea to buy the veggies frozen. Peppers can get pricey and I always throw away celery because I never use it all. What do you do with leftover tomato paste- can you freeze it?

    • Yep, I freeze my leftover tomato paste ALL the time :) I just do it in a small ziplock bag and then tear the bag away when I need to use the rest.

  9. Fluffy – I’m sure it would be okay to rinse the rice first. Just try to pour off as much water as possible.

  10. Fluffy says:

    Hello! Is it possible/okay to rinse the rice first? Or will the bit of extra moisture affect the final product?

    Thanks!!

  11. Anonymous – I would not use pasta sauce because it is seasoned with Italian herbs, which might change the flavor of of the dish. You can add fresh tomatoes, although it won’t be quite as strong as the tomato paste (tomato paste is just very concentrated tomatoes). Try dicing two tomatoes and add them in, I’m sure it will still be delicious :)

  12. Anonymous says:

    Is it possible to use tomato pasta sauce to sub for the tomato paste? (Or fresh tomatoes or other alternatives?)

  13. Serena – I’ve never tasted Venison summer sausage, but I can’t imagine that it would be bad in this :) The chicken sausage that I used was smoked, so that definitely gave it a distinct flavor, but I bet you could use any sausage.

  14. I have venison summer sausage that’s been sitting in my freezer, could I use it for this?

  15. I have venison summer sausage that’s been sitting in my freezer, could I use it for this?

  16. I just made this today and it’s awesome! I used a rotisserie chicken bc it’s way fast and easy. The trick to getting the rice right is to use Uncle Ben’s Converted rice. Enjoy!

  17. Anonymous says:

    I made this last week and it was so good that I’m making it again tomorrow! I used shrimp instead of chicken…only bc I make chicken so much. And I used savoies sausage. Thanks for the easy recipe.

  18. Kibb – What a mystery! Yeah, definitely try it with broth in place of the water next time. That will add more flavor and salt so hopefully you’ll have a winner! Oh, and I agree with trying to cook the sausage longer, too. That will let it release more of the fat and flavor :) Good luck!

  19. Kibb says:

    Beth – I used andouille (Savoie’s) and there was no lack of flavor there. I figured out that it definitely needed more salt, but I still feel like there’s something missing. Maybe I should have cooked the sausage longer. I’ll use broth in place of water in the future. Third time’s the charm, right? Thanks.

  20. Kibb – My best guess is the sausage. The smoked sausage that I used added a lot of the flavor to the final product. If you’re doing just chicken instead of sausage and chicken, replace the water with chicken broth for more flavor.

  21. Kibb says:

    I’ve made this twice now and I can’t figure out why it has come out severely lacking in flavor both times! Adding some chicken broth and more spices was an improvement, but with all the rave reviews, I feel like it’s just not what it’s supposed to be. I guess it’s got kind of a watered down tomato taste? I even drained the tomatoes and used chicken stock in place of one of the cups of water to try to avoid this. Any ideas?

  22. JennaJ says:

    This looks so yummy! Definitely going to try this soon.. I think my boyfriend will absolutely love it. Can I just say that I talk about Budget Bytes all of the time? I have always struggled with cooking.. not that I was bad at it, but it was just too discouraging if something didn’t come out right. I’ve cooked a handful of your recipes in the past month and now my boyfriend is telling everything that I am his own personal chef (haha). THANK YOU BETH!

  23. Teaspoonzz – you can add it when the recipe says to, but you won’t have to let it simmer for 30 minutes. Just let it simmer until the liquid has absorbed, which will probably be closer to 5 min. :)

  24. I use the 5 minute white rice… do I add it in when the recipe says so, or add it at the last 5 minute?

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