One of the most fitting ways to celebrate Mardi Gras is with this hearty, bold-flavored specialty of New Orléans featuring shrimp and spicy sausage.
A gradual layering of flavors starts with pan-fried bacon and chorizo sausage followed by the holy trinity of onion, bell pepper and celery. Sautéed in the same pan, they pick up all the savory, browned bits of flavor clinging to the bottom.
The tomatoes, spices and crumbled bacon go in next to mingle and make friends with the vegetables, then finally the cooked sausage and the chicken broth.
The shrimp cooks almost instantly, within a moment or two of hitting the pan so are mixed in at the end. You risk making them inedible, with a texture closely resembling rubber bands if added sooner.
Jambalaya usually calls for cooking the rice in the pot along with everything else so it can soak up all those juicy flavors. For a light and fluffy texture I cook mine separately. A method called “white” jambalaya.
To make super fluffy rice rinse well in a colander beforehand to remove excess starch and don’t lift the lid while it cooks! As tempting as it is. Once cooked, remove from heat and allow to sit for a few minutes with the lid on, then run a fork through it to fluff up before serving.
Shrimp and spicy sausage come together to make this hearty, bold-flavored specialty of New Orleans, a fitting way to celebrate Mardi Gras!
- Heat a large deep-sided skillet over medium heat and add sausage and bacon. Cook turning sausage occasionally until browned well on all sides. When bacon is cooked crisp remove to a plate lined with paper towels. When sausage is browned remove to a large cutting board.
- Carefully drain off most of the grease; add a tablespoon or two of olive oil, the butter, onion, pepper and celery. Season well with salt and pepper. Cook stirring often over medium-low heat until onion is translucent about 7 minutes.
- Add garlic, tomatoes, thyme, oregano, red pepper and bay leaves; crumble the bacon and add that too; cook 5 minutes on medium, stirring often. Slice the sausage into 3/4" rounds and mix in.
- Stir in chicken broth and parsley. Season again with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer; cook 25-30 minutes at a constant simmer, stirring every few minutes.
- Meanwhile rinse 1 cup of rice well in a colander. Bring 2 cups water to boil in a medium saucepan and stir in rice, bring to a boil, reduce heat to slow simmer, put a lid on the pan and cook about 20 minutes or until all the liquid has been absorbed. For fluffy rice no peeking under the lid! Turn the rice off and allow to sit with the lid on until the jambalaya is ready.
- Add the shrimp to a colander and squeeze the lemon over them, toss well and allow any excess lemon to drain. Add the shrimp and green onion to the pan; stir in and remove from heat. Allow to sit 5 minutes. Fluff the rice with a fork. Remove the bay leaves. Serve over top of rice.
-To cook the rice in the same pot mix the rice in with the chicken broth (step 4) and add an extra cup of broth; cook with the lid on. If after cooking the recommended time there is still a lot of liquid left take the lid off and continue cooking until some of it has evaporated off (before adding the shrimp).
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