Jambalaya is one of those recipes that you always hear about, but never actually make. Well, I jumped in, made it, and now K (the husband) has a new recipe on his list of favorites.
3 Tbsp. olive oil
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 white onion, diced
1 small red bell pepper, cored and diced
1 small yellow bell pepper, cored and diced
1 small green bell pepper, cored and diced
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely chopped, more or less to taste
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 lb. andouille sausage, thinly sliced into rounds
3 cups chicken stock
1 (14 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
1 1/2 cups uncooked white or brown rice
2 Tbsp. Cajun or Creole seasoning, more or less to taste
1 bay leaf
1 tsp. thyme, crushed
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 lb. raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
salt and pepper
Heat 2 tablespoons. olive oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add celery, onion, bell peppers, jalapeno and garlic. Saute for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soft and mostly cooked. Add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil, chicken and sausage, and stir to combine. Continue sauteing for an additional 5 minutes, or until the chicken is no longer pink and mostly cooked.
Add the chicken stock, tomatoes, rice, Cajun spice, bay leaf, thyme, and cayenne, and stir to combine. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for about 25-30 minutes, or until the rice is cooked, stirring occasionally. (Don't forget to stir, or the rice may burn on the bottom of the pan.)
Once the rice is tender, add in the shrimp and okra and stir to combine. Let the mixture continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, until the shrimp are cooked and pink. Remove bay leaf and season the jambalaya with salt and pepper and hot sauce and additional Cajun/Creole seasoning if needed. Remove from heat and serve with optional garnishes if desired.