Chicken and Andouille Jambalaya

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Most probably the only Louisiana dish I've made time and again. It's hearty, it's satisfying, it's flavourful, and it's pretty easy to whip up.

The first time Jambalaya made an appearance in our home was for a homeschool geography project. Yep, got that right, a geography project! I had my kids pick a country, google its food, decide on a dish, and make it from scratch. It was Grade 6, and hey were probably 12 years old. One of them picked Jambalaya.

The ingredients were easy to find even back in Indonesia, and so a few hours later, we had jambalaya for dinner. The kids had help ;)

This Chicken and Andouille Jambalaya starts with a sofrito, the holy trinity of Creole and Cajun cuisine, which comprises of onions, bell peppers, and celery. We sweat this with bay leaves, then add the meat and sausages, followed with the tomatoes (I cheated and used canned), the seafood (is using), then the spices. Not too tedious.

Now here's the twist ... I made the rice on the side. Why? Because in my home, we always have rice in the fridge for leftovers, we make rice before we think about what to make for dinner. Rice is made automagically by the kids, most of the time without me having to say so. Insert meme of successful parent here! Also, I made a double batch of the 'filling' and it took up the entire 7 qt saucepan! LOL! That's why the rice is on the side in my recipe. I just mixed it in before serving.

Of course you can make jambalaya with uncooked rice, in which case you would add the rice after the tomatoes along with some water and wait another 20-25 minutes for the rice to soak up all that water and be cooked. Since we have a rice cooker (seriously, which Asian family doesn't have one?) we cooked it separately and both rice and chicken were done in 20 minutes. Score!

2 cups uncooked rice
1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp butter
5 bay leaves
1 large onion, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
4 bell peppers, cut into 1 cm squares
300 g andouille sausage, chopped to bite sized pieces
1 kg chicken thighs, cut into bite sized pieces
600 g (3 cups) diced tomato
5 stalks green onions, sliced
4 tbsp smoked paprika
2 tbsp cumin
2 tbsp red chili flakes
1 tbsp black pepper
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp onion powder
salt, to taste
1 stalk green onions, sliced, to serve

1. Wash and rinse 2 cups of rice, then cook either on a saucepan or rice cooker. This will yield about 5 to 6 cups of cooked rice.

2. In a large heavy bottomed pan, heat the oil and butter, then sauté the bay leaves with the onion, celery and bell pepper.
3. Add the sausages and chicken, and stir-fry until chicken is cooked.
4. Tomatoes in ... then cook a further 5 minutes, stirring often.
5. Then add green onions, smoked paprika, cumin, red chili flakes, black pepper, garlic powder and onion powder. Salt according to your taste. Stir well and cook another 2 to 3 minutes.

6. When your rice is ready, fluff it up and stir it into the chicken and sausages.
7. Sprinkle the reserved green onion slices and serve hot.

Note to self: Make again and take a better pic :)

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