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
- 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
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- Remove the lid and fluff the jambalaya. If you see the bay leaf, remove it. Serve hot topped with sliced green onion.
Step by Step Photos
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).
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.
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.
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.
Add the frozen veggies to the pot and stir to combine. They’ll thaw almost immediately.
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.
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.
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.
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.