Recipes at the top, sweet blog post below.
Simple Cajun Jambalaya
Preheat a large pan over a medium high heat. Add 1 tbsp of the canola oil and the cut kielbasa. Brown the kielbasa on both sides and set aside in a large mixing bowl. Add another tbsp of canola oil and all of the veggies. Sprinkle all of the spices (except the bay leaves) over the top – to taste. Stir occasionally and cook until onions are translucent. Set aside with kielbasa. Deglaze the pan with the broth and stock. Add the bay leaves, 1 tsp of stevia, and the rice. Bring to a boil. Turn down heat and simmer until rice is cooked through (or al dente if preferred). Remove bay leaves and discard. Sprinkle 1 tsp Stevia over the veggies and kielbasa. Add the rice to this and mix together well. Serve.
*To increase the spiciness, add more cayenne pepper and leave in the veins on those jalapeños and maybe even leave in some of the seeds. This version was made very mild due to my husband’s delicate constitution.
So in all honesty, this was originally going to be a dirty rice recipe, but turns out I accidentally made more of a simple jambalaya! Oops! Either way it was delicious, so I’m going to share it anyway! I’m going to go ahead right now and let you know that I’m only just scratching the surface on more southern recipes so this is by no means “authentic.”
What is jambalaya? Well, it is a rice-based dish that contains different meats and vegetables, which are all prepared in the same pot/pan. It’s basically broken down into two types: cajun and creole. If you’re like me, that probably means absolutely nothing to you. Well, friend, let me elaborate. Think of cajun cooking as more country home cooking and creole as more upscale city cooking with French influences.
Creole jambalaya typically also uses tomatoes in the recipe, whereas you won’t see that in cajun jambalaya. The cajun jambalaya is going to be drier than it’s creole counterpart because of the lack of tomatoes and will have a more brownish hue to it since it will absorb a lot of what’s in the pan after you cook your meat and vegetables.
This particular recipe uses very few ingredients, which is primarily due to the scarcity because of the pandemic. You could most assuredly add some chicken and shrimp to this dish if you can find it. I would just cook the chicken before the kielbasa and then add the shrimp at the very end since they don’t need to be cooked for very long. Overcooked shrimp are just gross and rubbery. You’ll also notice that there’s no celery in my recipe, but that is purely because I absolutely hate celery with the fire of 1,000 suns. However, if celery is your jam, by all means add it in. I also randomly added stevia to the mix because why not? It’s jambalaya after all. I feel like you can get away with most things as long as you have the base ingredients.
Now I do have a separate more creole style jambalaya recipe, but that will have to wait for another day. I whole heartedly recommend experimenting and making your own jambalaya recipe. After all, we’re all still banished to our homes until at least May 1st! Bonus – the ingredients can be pretty easy to find and are also inexpensive, making this perfect for those hit hard by the Stay in Place order. Stay safe, everyone! I promise we’ll all get through this and be stronger for it.
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