Chorizo Chicken Jambalaya

$8.98 recipe / $1.12 serving

Jambalaya is one of the easiest, filling, and inexpensive dishes you can make. Just ask anyone from Louisiana—we live off the stuff. Flavorful sausage, savory aromatic vegetables, and rice all cook together in one pot to make a super satisfying, one pot dish. I love cooking up a big pot of jambalay on the weekend so I can feed myself off of it all week. Talk about easy!

Instead of doing a standard jambalaya, I decided to change it up and use Mexican chorizo instead of the traditional Andouille sausage. This added a nice spicy kick, which I complimented with cumin, oregano, and smoked paprika. I didn’t have much Chorizo in my freezer, so I bulked up the meat end with some chopped chicken thighs. Chicken thighs are my new favorite because they are inexpensive, but super tender and juicy. Top it all off with some fresh sliced green onions and you’ll be in heaven. OR, if you happen to have some sour cream or avocado laying around (I just happened to buy some avocados on sale), they are awesome on this!

P.S. This freezes really well!

Chorizo Chicken Jambalaya

Chorizo Chicken Jambalaya

4.6 from 20 reviews
Chorizo Chicken Jambalaya
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Total Cost: $8.98
Cost Per Serving: $1.12
Serves: 8 (1.25 cups each)
Ingredients
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil $0.02
  • 2 links (8 oz.) Mexican Chorizo $1.67
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken thighs (about 1¼ lbs) $2.35
  • 12 oz. bag frozen onion, bell pepper, celery mix $1.39
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste $0.12
  • 2½ cups dry long grain white rice $0.83
  • 1 (15 oz.) can diced tomatoes $0.89
  • 4 cups chicken broth $0.52
  • 1 whole bay leaf $0.15
  • 1 tsp cumin $0.10
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika $0.10
  • ½ tsp oregano $0.05
  • 1 bunch green onions $0.79
Instructions
  1. Cut the chicken thighs into small, one inch chunks. Add the vegetable oil to a large pot along with the chopped chicken thighs and chorizo (squeeze the chorizo out of the casing). Cook the meat over medium heat until the chorizo is browned and the chicken is white and firm (about 7-10 minutes). Drain off the excess fat. Add the frozen, chopped onion, celery, and bell pepper mix. Stir to combine and heat through (about 1-2 minutes).
  2. Add the tomato paste and dry rice to the pot. Stir and cook for about two minutes. You should hear the rice crackling and popping as it cooks. This toasts the rice and caramelizes the tomato paste for more flavor. It's okay if it begins to coat the bottom of the pot, but don't let it burn.
  3. Add the chicken broth and diced tomatoes (with juices) to the pot. Stir to combine and dissolve anything stuck to the bottom of the pot. Finally, add the bay leaf, cumin, smoked paprika, and oregano. Stir once more, place a lid on the pot, and turn the heat up to high. As soon as the pot reaches a full boil, turn the heat down to low and let it simmer for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, turn the heat off and let the pot sit for an additional 10 minutes, undisturbed, to continue to steam.
  4. Remove the lid and fluff the jambalaya. If you see the bay leaf, remove it. Serve hot topped with sliced green onion.
Notes
Substituting brown rice for the white rice in this recipe will not yield the same results. Brown rice requires more liquid and a longer cooking time.

 

Chorizo Chicken Jambalaya

 

Step by Step Photos

Chorizo

I had two links (about 8 oz.) of Mexican chorizo left in my freezer that needed to be used up. You could certainly use more if you’d like, or use all chorizo and no chicken. The chorizo is important, though, because it contains a lot of herbs and spices that flavor the jambalaya. This is Johnsonville brand, which is available at most major supermarkets in the United States. Mexican chorizo is a spicy, fresh sausage, and much different from Spanish chorizo, which is a cured meat product (like salami or pepperoni).

Chopped Chicken

I also used four boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 1.25 lbs.). Cut the chicken up into small pieces. You can take the time to cut the fat off first if you want, but I didn’t bother. Most of the fat cooked off and then I just drained the pot before adding the rest of the ingredients.

Browned Meat

Brown the chorizo and chicken thighs in a large pot along with one tablespoon of vegetable oil (just to help get it going). After the chorizo is fully brown and the chicken is white and firm, drain off the excess fat (there was a LOT to drain off). This photo is after draining off the fat.

Seasoning Blend

Because I was feeling lazy (no shame), I used a 19 oz. bag of frozen, pre-chopped onion, celery, and bell pepper. One of the nice benefits of using ingredients like this is that there are no leftovers (like half a bunch of celery) to use up later. I don’t use pre-chopped ingredients like this often, but sometimes it’s worth it! If you don’t want to use frozen, just chop up one yellow onion, one bell pepper, and a couple stalks of celery.

Seasoning Blend

Add the frozen veggies to the pot and stir to combine. They’ll thaw almost immediately.

Rice and Tomato Paste

Next, add 2.5 cups of dry long grain white rice (not brown rice) and 2 Tbsp of tomato paste. Stir and cook this mixture for two minutes. You’ll hear the rice crackling as it cooks. This step helps caramelize the tomato paste and toasts the rice, both of which deepen the flavor. If it starts to make a film on the bottom of the pot, that’s okay. Just don’t let it burn. If you suspect it is beginning to burn, move on to the next step.

Tomatoes and Broth

Add one 15-ounce can of diced tomatoes (with juices) and 4 cups of chicken broth. Stir to combine and to dissolve of any bits that are stuck to the bottom of the pot. Add one whole bay leaf, 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp smoked paprika, and 1/2 tsp oregano. Stir to combine, then place a lid on top and turn the heat up to high. As soon as the pot reaches a full boil, turn the heat down to low and let it simmer on low for 30 minutes (with the lid in place). After 30 minutes, turn the heat off and let it continue to steam (lid in place, undisturbed) for an additional 10 minutes. 

Simmered

At that point the rice will have absorbed all of the liquid. Quick note: if you are using an inexpensive pot with a thin bottom, the heat will not distribute evenly and you may have pockets of rice that did not cook as well as the rest. It’s best to use a heavy, thick pot or dutch oven.

Fluffed Jambalaya

Use a big spoon to fluff up the mixture. If you see the bay leaf in there, go ahead and pull it out. Slice the green onions and sprinkle them on top.

Chorizo Chicken JambalayaMmm-Mmm good!

Chorizo Chicken Jambalaya

 

72 Comments

  1. Victoria says:

    Hey Beth!

    I have a quick question regarding this recipe.

    I was wondering if this recipe is freezable, and if so, for how long? Is it best stored in a certain type of packaging of frozen as well?

    I have made this recipe twice now and it is divine! I was hoping to make a big batch and freeze some if possible.

    Thank you for your time, and for your dedication to good food on a budget!

    Cheers!
    -Victoria

    • Hi Victoria! Yes, rice dishes like this freeze really well. :D I like to freeze them in those resealable blue-topped Ziploc containers in single portions, so that I can just take it straight from the freezer to the microwave to reheat. You could also freeze it in quart sized freezer bags and then just peel away the bag before reheating. The freezer shelf life really depends on your freezer and packaging, but it should be good for at least a couple months.

  2. Rachel says:

    I just cooked this with my boyfriend. We more or less kept to the recipe, but we used some chicken wings and thighs on the bone which we’d roasted then diced. We put that in at the same time as the chorizo.

    My boyfriend secretly added some chopped halloumi, added with the chorizo. It was AMAZING. Imagine jambalaya-flavoured halloumi. That’s what it tasted of. Please, everyone, try this!

  3. Danyel says:

    This is the first of your recipes I’ve used and it was divine. I followed your directions to the letter except I diced the chorizo after de-casing but before adding to the pan. I am incredibly pleased. My whole family loves it. My husband added a little Belize sauce to his to spice it up some. This is definitely in the regular rotation.

  4. Lindsey says:

    I just made it! It’s really good but I really didn’t taste the chorizo once done, so I will definitely use more next time…Thanks!

  5. Olivia says:

    This is delicious, so easy to make, and very fulfilling. Thank you!

  6. Making this right now! I must have gotten the wrong kind of chorizo because it was very wet. I also failed at trying to pour the extra liquid out of my pot and didn’t want to make a mess so I just left it and used about half a cup less broth.
    Fingers crossed!
    Here’s the chorizo I used, Reynaldo’s Pork Chorizo http://www.target.com/p/reynaldo-s-pork-chorizo-12-oz/-/A-13473440

    • Mackenzie says:

      Well I failed at this one! I ended up with crunchy rice that I couldn’t fully rescue. The chicken bits were good though!
      Next time I would err on the side of too much moisture.

  7. Stephanie says:

    I am hooked!! My family loved this recipe and I didn’t even tell them what it was…I just said chicken and rice because my daughter is so picky! So if you any more similar please post!!!

  8. Megan says:

    Loved this recipe! Super easy cleanup. I just made it with some chicken sausage from Trader Joes and that was the only meat I used…still turned out great. Thanks again for another good one :-)

  9. Beth says:

    I made this last night and it was delicious, but the rice came out a little mushy……should I use less broth next time? I followed the recipe to the letter, so I’m not sure what happened! Rice is always my downfall…..

    • Yep, a little less water should do it. Rice can be tricky sometimes, especially in a dish that has other ingredients that provide moisture, like this one. :)

  10. Joanna says:

    This was really good. I only made a 1/2 recipe and I guess I needed a little more than 1/2 the liquid, because my rice was just a little chewy. But, it was still pretty awesome. I only used the chorizo, no chicken.

  11. OMG.

    So, I’m not good with rice. I never cook it enough or a explode it into oblivion.

    Soooooooooo I made this dish with these organic rice pouches that I love! I just added them in, and added the liquid, and let it stew.

    So. Freaking. Good.

    Oh. Em. Gee.

    It was just spicy enough and we ate two big bowls each and there was leftovers YUM.

  12. Karen says:

    This was pretty delicious – I used brown rice instead of white rice, added an extra cup of stock, and increased the cook time to 35 mins and it turned out perfectly. The only problem was that the jambalaya was extremely undersalted – add salt to taste!

  13. Made this late last week, it was the perfect thing to start and leave for my husband and daughter while I was out!
    Both of them loved it and it makes a TON of food! We’re still enjoying leftovers.
    I have, well none of those things (except chicken…breasts) and just subbed in some random frozen veggies I had and it was still fabulous. Used kielbasa because I had it on hand.
    The beauty of jambalaya is like stew- awesomely versatile.
    Will definitely be making this again.
    Your fantastically easy and cheap one-pot meals are quickly making their way into my regular rotation!!

  14. lauren says:

    thank you so much for this recipe! I had some leftover shredded chicken thighs, and a package of smoked sausage, so I used both of those and they were fantastic. I must have added a little too much broth, because my rice was a little overcooked – but the flavor was really nice. I will definitely make it again, thanks for sharing!

  15. Rita N says:

    I made this tonight with brown rice. I used the basic rice cooking proportions on the brown rice package; reduced the amount of rice to 2 cups, used 4 cups of broth, and cooked it for 45 minutes. It turned out great, very flavorful. It will be on our make-again list! Thanks!

  16. Krystal says:

    Love this web site and just bought your book. Just wanted to drop a line to say thank you for what you do. I’m making this recipe tonight – so excited!

    Cheers!

  17. Martha Hughes says:

    Delicious!

  18. Rachel says:

    Made this tonight, yum! I had everything but the chorizo, so to avoid an extra trip I just used double andouille sausage and increased the spices. So. Delicious. Thanks for this great recipe! I’m portioning it out now, and between this and your chili recipe I’ll have work lunches for ages!

  19. I’m making this for the first time for dinner tonight. It smells delicious and looks wonderful. I tried to stay true to the recipe – but the husband doesn’t like chorizo so I substituted Andouille sausage and for an extra kick I added a couple of jalapenos. I’ll be back to rate it later – I can’t wait for dinner tonight!

  20. Great recipe! I didn’t have any rice at the time I made it so I used barley instead and did exactly what the instructions said. When I came back to check on it, not very much of the water had been absorbed so I just let the pot simmer without the lid on to let some more water cook off. Worked great and tasted amazing! I will definitely make this again!

  21. Jinthebay says:

    Made this last night with brown rice. It worked out well. It just had to cook longer. The texture is a bit different but that’s to be expected with brown rice. I used soyrizo (vegetarian chorizo) and it gave it a nice spice without the grease. I also added mushrooms to substitute the chicken. The avocado and green onion as a topping, brings this dish to life.

  22. Just did the recipe with my boyfriend. Fun to cook and even better to eat! So glad I found your blog :)

  23. Very delicious recipe! I make it very soon!
    Thanks!

  24. Daniela says:

    I made this last night and it was delicious! Any ideas on a salad or veggies I can use on the side? Thanks!

  25. I loved this dish! My trouble was finding the right chorizo. None of the stores in my small town carry Johnstonville Chorizo any more. The only Chorizo they carried was in a tube and nothing more than a greasy mess. I substituted the Chorizo for Johnstonville Spicy Italian Sausage and it tasted fine. I love the Chorizo links and cannot believe that we can’t buy them anymore.

  26. The trick to using Spanish chorizo when you can’t get Mexican chorizo is to ask for cooking chorizo.

  27. Katie says:

    I made the mistake of reading the ingredients list on the back of a chorizo package about 10 years ago. It’s been vegetarian chorizo for me ever since!

  28. Made this dish a few days ago. The boyfriend loved it! It was so so to me, but it perked up after I added some hot sauce.

    I would recommend using fresh veggies. The frozen peppers I used turned out so mushy in comparison to the fresh celery I used. Other wise I really enjoyed this.

    We topped it with some cheese and scooped it up with taco chips.

  29. Aaron says:

    I love cajun food, but my wife is allergic to celery. Is there anything that could work as a celery substitute in these kinds of recipes?

  30. Janiece says:

    Did you stir it during the 30 min simmer? I did because I was afraid it was going to burn and it seemed that it was close to it. We liked the taste a bunch. I was surprised that it did not have creole spices but it totally ‘worked’. Thanks for another winner.

    • Nope, no stirring. It’s just like when you cook rice and you let it steam without disturbing it. Glad you liked it! :)

  31. Unfortunately the only kind of Chorizo I can get where I live is Spanish style. Fortunately I’ve used it in your older Jambalaya recipe and it worked great so I’m sure it would work for this one too. The texture is different, but it still tasted great.

  32. I LOVE chorizo and chicken thighs are one of my fav proteins. I usually have all these ingredients on hand so I will be making this soon :) Shared and pinned!!

  33. Nick says:

    Looks like you forgot about the veg in your numbered steps (though they are in the photo instructions). Going to try making this now, thanks!

  34. Renee says:

    I made this tonight, and it was great! I used the frozen fire roasted peppers and onion from Trader Joe’s. Next time I might add roasted tomatoes too! I love that this was so easy!

    • Rose says:

      I used canned organic fire roasted tomatoes for mine and it was delicious. You could roast your own too I am sure but I haven’t done it myself :)

  35. Rose says:

    Made this tonight – perfect timing as we had no clue what to make for dinner. We didn’t have any sausage so just used chicken and added some cajun/creole seasoning on top of the recommended.

    We also used fresh red bell pepper , fresh onion and fresh celery and it was delicious. I was worried the broth amount wouldn’t be enough as our stove simmers really fast – so added an extra 1/4 cup but it was NOT needed. This resulting is a slightly more “wet” result but that was fine was I prefer it to being dry anyway!

    This is such a versatile recipe I can’t wait to make it again with shrimp , sausage and chicken !

  36. Judy says:

    Monique, I’ve found BTB in Sobeys here in Western Canada. I’m sure Superstore must carry it as well!

    Beth, I’m making this tonight! Haven’t looked for chorizo around here yet, but I’m making it with a spicier sausage I have on hand.

  37. Virginia says:

    @ Monique: I found this on the Better than Bouillon website FAQ (https://www.superiortouch.com/retail/faq)

    “At this time, we don’t have a store locator for our Canadian retailers. If you would like to learn whether Better than Bouillon is offered at your local retailer, for the Eastern part of Canada please contact Michelle Dickens at National Importers 604-301-4117. The Western part of Canada you can contact Edoko Foods 604-944-7332.”

  38. Monique says:

    That does look good!

    Question (maybe another commenter can help me out): I’ve never seen Better than Bouillon here in Canada. I hate the bouillon cubes that are available because they’re so salty (even the low-salt). Is BTB available here? Or does another Canuck have a good substitute? Thanks!

    • Sarah says:

      They carry them in Costco sometimes! Otherwise, Loblaws carries a store brand liquid bullion that very similar to Better than Bouillon. Hope that helps!

    • Katie says:

      I’m 90% sure I have seen Better Than Boullion at Costco in Edmonton. :)

    • Nikki says:

      @Monique

      I bought mine at Loblaws, but I have seen it at a couple of other grocery stores too. I’m lucky that my store is stocked with pretty much everything. Or everything available in Canada, anyway. :)

    • I’ve found it at the local “Your Independant Grocer” but depending on where in Canada you are, there may not be any of those around. I think I saw it at Metro once too.

    • Dana says:

      I found mine at Walmart (in Ontario) in the spice aisle. I don’t think it was near the other boullions/stocks.

  39. Raquel says:

    What would you recommend for a vegetarian adjustment? Chick peas might work well? But I’m not sure what else to add — Ideally I’d like the spicy, smokey flavour of the chorizo, but I can’t think what would work? Unless I got some flavoured vegetarian sausage?

    • I think vegetarian chorizo would be your best bet. The chorizo is responsible for so much of the flavor in this dish that if you sub it for something else, it will definitely be lacking. And I’d just do double the vegetarian chorizo to make up for skipping the chicken. :)

  40. Paige says:

    Is there a version that can be made with brown rice? Maybe precook the rice?
    My husband is not eating any “white” food (rice, potatoes, bread) so any pointers toward real food recipes with brown rice versions would be greatly appreciated!

    • I’d really have to do a lot of experimentation to figure out how to make a brown rice version. It can be tricky :)

  41. Amanda Mananda says:

    I think you may have a minor typo beneath the picture of the raw chicken being cut into pieces. It says chicken “breasts”, whereas the rest of you post references using chicken “thighs”. -:)

    I used to use Johnsonville’s chorizo, but they stopped carrying it at any of the Wal-Marts in my area. Fortunately, I live in Texas, and I was able to find another brand in the highly-stocked Hispanic section. That was after, though, I tried the type of chorizo made primarily of pork salivary glands; it has a totally different flavor and texture, and it really does not work in recipes like this. So, uh … word to the wise. Check the ingredients on your chorizo if you’re buying a new brand, just to be sure. -:P

    Looks delicious! -:) Aw, man, how great are green onions? I’m obsessed with them lately.

    • Thanks for catching that! ;) And chorizo made out of salivary glands?! …wow.

      • Andrew says:

        I’m also in Texas and I’m pretty sure I know what brand Amanda’s talking about. The stuff is amazing, but she’s right about the texture. It’s more like blood sausage than a Brat and just turns into a paste if you take it out of the casing.

        It is the best chorizo I’ve ever gotten from the white grocery stores though. Just remember the golden rule of sausage, the more you like it the less you want to know what’s in it. Well, if you’re squeamish anyways.

        • Ha, that is so true! (the more you like it the less you want to know…) :)

        • Amanda Mananda says:

          Oh, yeah! I didn’t mention that the taste, while different, was still great! Fortunately, I was making Chorizo & Sweet Potato Enchiladas with it, and the end result was just as tasty — if not tastier. All that smooth fattiness made for some great enchilada filling. But, for the sake of versatility, I buy Kiolbassa’s Mexican chorizo now; it’s usually cheaper than Johnsonville, and I actually prefer the taste.

          If I remember correctly, the other brand that I bought — Reynaldo’s, I believe — had to be removed because the casing was plastic. The only tricky thing, really, was that I simply didn’t know how to tell when it was cooked. It doesn’t really solidify like muscle meat does. You wouldn’t happen to have any tips, would you, Andrew? -:)

          • Andrew says:

            I only took it out of the casing once and decided never again. But then, we must have different brands because mine didn’t use plastic. I hope.

            Since you have to decase, I’d keep it in a small frying pan and heat it up until it looks like chili. Mix it with scrambled eggs or something for a breakfast burrito.

      • Amanda Mananda says:

        Probably something you don’t have to worry about unless you live somewhere like Texas, I assume. -:P It didn’t cook so much as it … bubbled. I’ll stick with good ol’ muscle meat.

        • Ewwww, it “bubbled”? Hahaha

          • Katie says:

            I know all these comments make it sound gross (and I work in a mammalian research lab, so perhaps I am particularly hardened), but oh my god pork salivary glands taste amazing. They make a thick paste in your sweet potato enchiladas and really bring the dish together, in my opinion.

  42. Brown rice is a no-go in this recipe? Bummer.

    • It’s a no go as far as simply swapping one out for the other. There is probably a way to make it work, but it would take some experimenting to get the liquid ratios and cooking times right.

      • I haven’t tried it yet, but I use primarily brown rice, too… you might be able to par boil it before using it in this recipe to cut down on the cooking time. You’d miss out on toasting it, but with as many flavors as you’ve got going on in this recipe, you probably wouldn’t miss it.

        • Jennifer says:

          You could always toast the brown rice in some of the drippings that are drained in the previous step before par boiling it.

          • I made it with brown rice last night :) What I did is that I pre-cooked the rice in chicken broth, then just added it at the end of the cooking time. It was good last night, but I brought it for lunch today, and it was GREAT. I’d say the only difference is that mine ended up a *little* soupy because the rice didn’t soak up some of the juice during the simmering process. If I wanted to repeat this recipe with brown rice, I’d probably reduce the broth by about a cup or so.

  43. Sherrie says:

    Could I use basmati rice?

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