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Jambalaya Stew Recipe

In honor of Mardi Gras and Fat Tuesday, I made Jambalaya last night. For those unfamiliar with Mardi Gras, it is a festival or carnival that some people celebrate in the days leading up to Ash Wednesday, or the first day of Lent. Lent is a 40-day period leading up to Easter where people of Christian, Catholic and some other faiths fast, repent and give up things they feel theyíre too attached to in this world (certain foods, alcohol, technology, etc.). Usually the celebration occurs on the day before Ash Wednesday, known as Fat Tuesday in the U.S., when people tend to gorge or imbibe in the things theyíre about to give up. Itís kind of a weird tradition, I suppose, if youíre not familiar with it.

New Orleans, Louisiana is famous for their Mardi Gras festivals. This southern city is also famous for Cajun and French-Creole cuisine. Jambalaya is one of those famous dishes. It is a rice-based casserole, cooked in a spicy stew-like sauce, usually with chicken, shrimp and a spicy sausage like Andouille, onions and peppers.

There are many different recipes for jambalaya, but I found one several years ago (based on a recipe from California Pizza Kitchen restaurant) and modified it to my tastes. Itís not a difficult recipe, but there are several steps to it, which take a bit of time. The end result is worth it if you want to give it a try.

This recipe makes about 6-8 servings.

Chicken Marinade
2 Tbs olive oil
1 Tbs minced garlic
2 tsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp salt
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed

Jambalaya Stew
2 Tbs unsalted butter
1/2 pound Andouille sausage, cut into 1/2-inch slices
1/2 pound uncooked, deveined, peeled shrimp
1 med onion, finely diced
1 med green bell pepper, finely diced
1 cup celery, finely diced
2 Tbs minced garlic
2-1/2 cups chicken stock (preferably homemade)
2 cups crushed tomatoes (I use fire-roasted for extra flavor)
3 ounces tomato paste (1/2 a small can)
2 Tbs soy sauce
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp dried rubbed sage
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground white pepper
1 bay leaf
2 cups cooked rice or 1 pound pasta cooked al dente

Peppers and Onions Marinade
ľ cup sweet chili sauce (I use Sriracha sauce for extra spice)
1 Tbs soy sauce
1 Tbs olive oil
1 med red bell pepper, 1-inch dice
1 med yellow bell pepper, 1-inch dice
1 red onion, 1-inch dice

Chicken Marinade
In a medium-sized bowl, stir together olive oil, garlic, soy sauce and salt. Add cubed chicken to this mixture and stir to coat. Let chicken marinate at room temperature 10 to 20 minutes.

Peppers and Onions Marinade
In medium-sized bowl, stir together the chili sauce, soy sauce and olive oil until well combined. Toss peppers and onion with sauce until well coated.

Preheat broiler oven or grill. Cook marinated chicken in a single layer until done, about 5-6 minutes per side, turning once during cooking. Remove chicken and set aside.

Cook vegetables in a single layer, turning occasionally, until slightly softened and caramelized, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove vegetables and set aside.

Jambalaya Stew
Cook either rice or pasta according to package instructions.

In large saucepan over low heat, melt butter. Add sausage and cook, stirring occasionally, for 12 minutes.

Add onion, bell pepper, celery and garlic. Cook, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes.

Add remaining jambalaya stew ingredients except shrimp and stir well, then bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes. Remove bay leaf.

Add shrimp and let simmer another 5 minutes until shrimp are pink. Stir in chicken and peppers and onions mixture until all ingredients are well combined.

Serve over rice or pasta.

Variations and Tips:
As a time saver, I have used a precooked roasted chicken that I cut up and then added the chicken marinade ingredients to the jambalaya stew.

Iíve also cut way back on adding salt. The soy sauce, tomatoes, chicken stock and chili sauce all have salt in them and I typically donít add any additional salt to mine.

If you have a large family and will eat this dish in one meal, it actually tastes better to mix the rice or pasta into the stew. However, if you think youíll have leftovers itís better to leave them separate and just spoon the stew over the rice/noodles when youíre going to eat it so it doesnít get too mushy.

Sometimes I prefer to serve this as a stew with crusty bread instead of rice or noodles. It is very flavorful and hearty.

From start to finish it takes me about an hour to make this, including prep work. I kind of separated the recipe out into my method for cooking it, but it makes it harder to tell what ingredients you need for the overall dish. So, hereís a grocery list:

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 pound Andouille sausage, cut into 1/2-inch slices
1/2 pound uncooked, deveined, peeled shrimp
2-1/2 cups chicken stock
2 cups crushed fire-roasted tomatoes
3 Tbs tomato paste
1 med onion
1 med red onion
1 each red, yellow and green bell peppers
1 cup celery
3 Tbs garlic
3 Tbs olive oil
4 Tbs soy sauce
ľ cup sweet chili or Sriracha sauce
2 Tbs unsalted butter
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp dried rubbed sage
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground white pepper
1 bay leaf
2 cups cooked rice or 1 pound pasta

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