How often can the soul of a culture be found within its cuisine? We at the Kitchen strive to find examples, and tonight is no different. When you think of the soul expressed by the peoples of the Big Easy, the Native, Creole, Carribean, European and now many more, one dish brings in a mix of influences. Above all, Jambalaya combines the love a chef has for his or her culture into a savory and spicey dish that exudes that love through the warmth it provides.
We give you our version, combining the great flavors of Creole seasoning, traditional pork and chicken preparation, the sweetness of life from the Gulf, the fiery undertones of the Big Easy that stay with you even after you have left. Enjoy our addition to the essence of New Orleans…
Chicken Thief’s Creole Seasoning:
- 6 tbsp of kosher salt
- 6 tbsp of smoker paprika
- 5 tbsp of garlic powder
- 4 tbsp of onion powder
- 2 tbsp of black pepper
- 2.5 tbsp of cayenne powder
- 2.5 tbsp of dried oregano
- 2.5 tbsp of dried thyme
- 2 tbsp of chipotle powder
Adjust your heat tolerance by upping or lowering (if you prefer the north pole than the heat of jazz country) the cayenne and chipotle pepper seasoning.
- 2 lbs of cubed browned chicken breast
- 1 lb of sliced Andouille sausage
- 1 lb of sliced thick cut smoked bacon (we like an apple-wood smoked bacon)
- 2 lb of 26/30 count shrimp (if you can get freshly caught shrimp even the better), cleaned and de-veined (tail remove as well)
- 28 to 32 ounces of diced tomatoes
- 2 medium finely chopped sweet onions
- 2 medium finely chopped green peppers
- 1 diced jalapeno
- 3 to 4 finely chopped stalks of celery
- 3 to 4 finely minced garlic cloves
- 3.5 to 4 cups chicken stock (organic if possible, low sodium for sure)
- 3 to 4 tbsp of the noted Creole seasoning above
- 1 to 2 tbsp of dried oregano
- 1 to 2 tbsp of dried thyme
- 1.5 to 2 tbsp of your favorite hot sauce
- 3 cubes of chicken bouillon
- 1/2 medium finely chopped sweet onion
- 2 to 3 tbsp of the noted Creole seasoning above
- 4 cups of chicken stock (or the amount of stock to replace half of the water required to cook the rice)
- 6 to 8 cups of your favorite rice (prepared per the directions on the packaging with the addition of the above ingredients)
Aside- For a unique twist prepare a black rice per the directions of its packaging. We have also used Bismatti Rice. The black rice is a unique twist for presenting the Jambalaya and has a great background flavor.
Equipment Needs or Suggestions
This recipes makes use of a 5 quart slow cooker. Also needed is a stainless steel large skillet, sturdy mixing spoons, and potentially a ladle for serving.
As a suggested piece of equipment, invest in a professional sized rice cooker. Alternative a large dutch oven pot or saucepan can work as the directions on the rice packaging takes into effect the rice being prepared on the stove top.
Creole Seasoning Directions:
- In a quart size zip-lock bag, add the noted seasonings
- Seal the bag and mix the seasoning together till the spices are fully combined
- Mark the bag with date and name of seasoning mix for future reference, you will have some remaining
- Place un-used seasoning in the refrigerator for long term storage (as long as it stays dry and cool the seasoning package should last many months before losing potency).
- On the evening before cooking (or at least two hours ahead of cooking), remove the chicken breast from its packaging, remove excess fat, trim, cube into 1 inch pieces
- Slice the thick cut bacon into uniform slices
- Place the cubed chicken and slices of bacon in a gallon size zip-lock bag, sprinkle with extra virgin olive oil and mix, sprinkle with 3 to 4 tbsp of the Creole seasoning, mix well so the chicken and bacon is thoroughly coated with the oil and seasoning
- In a large skillet, place 3 to 4 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil and heat to a medium high heat
- Place the cubed chicken and bacon combination into the skillet and brown under cover for approximately 8 to 10 minutes
- While the chicken cooks, chop the onion, peppers, celery and mince the garlic, also slice the Andouille sausage
- Place the diced tomatoes and the juice they came in into a 5 quart slow cooker, add the other veggies and mix till thoroughly combined
- Upon completion of browning, place the chicken and bacon combination in with the veggies and mix thoroughly
- Add the Andouille sausage, add the hot sauce, mix thoroughly
- Add the chicken broth until the lid lip on the slow cooker pot is reached, mix the overall jambalaya combination
- Add the dried oregano and thyme and 3 cubes of chicken bouillon, mix thoroughly
- Preferably turn the slow cooker to cook low and slow for 8 hours (covered), if in a pinch for time cook high for 4 hours.
- Fifteen to twenty minutes prior to the end of the cooking cycle add the shrimp and mix thoroughly
- When done, the slow cooker will turn to the warm setting and keep the jambalaya warm.
- Dependent upon your equipment choices, prepare the rice selection for cooking (per the instructions on the rice package or the instructions for the rice cooker)
- To the rice add the onion, chicken stock, water, and Ceole seasoning
- Cook black rice in a traditional stove top method
- Cook white rice in a rice cooker, or stove top method
Get as fancy or simple as you want. Plate the rice first as a platform to present the jambalaya. For color, add finely chopped green onion or chives. If seeking a richness above compare sprinkle saffron over the top of the jambalaya. Grab yourself a cocktail (might we suggest the El Diablo created by Chef John Martin and his staff at Tableau in New Orleans, this drink is a combination of cinnamon tequila, chambourd and ginger beer). Enjoy the love of the Big Easy introduced into this dish.