Jambalaya: The Freezer, Can and Box Inauthentic Edition

This is my freezer, can and box version of Jambalaya. If you make the authentic version, I do apologize. Navigate quickly away from this quick and easy recipe before it hurts your feelings.

Now for the rest of you, here’s how I make what I think is a delicious version of Jambalaya with ingredients from my freezer and pantry shelves.

Here are the ingredients:

From the pantry, you’ll need Zatarain’s Jambalaya mix, a can of Hunt’s Fire Roasted tomatoes (or Ro-Tel tomatoes with chiles if you like spice) and chicken broth.

From the freezer, I have a bag of Kroger’s Cajun-style mirepoix mix. It consists of onions, celery and green pepper. If they don’t have it in the freezer case where you live, you can always dice up onion, celery and green pepper. I also have a bag of frozen okra. We’ll use half a bag of each for this recipe.

My proteins also come from the freezer, but you can always use them fresh. I’m using boneless, skinless chicken thighs (thawed), Andouille- style sausages and raw shell-on deveined shrimp. You can also use the peeled kind. But do use raw shrimp.

Thaw the chicken thighs before you begin or use fresh ones. Take the frozen shrimp and put them in a cup of water with a tablespoon of salt and a tablespoon of sugar. Set aside.

If frozen, thaw the Andouille sausage or defrost for about a minute in the microwave wrapped in a paper towel before slicing. If fresh, just start slicing it into bite-sized chunks. Here I’m using two hot-dog size sausages. You could vary the protein based on the mount of  people you’re serving.

Add some oil to a Dutch oven, turn the heat on medium and add the diced sausage.

Cook until the sausages start to brown.

Remove the sausages with a slotted spoon and place in a bowl or on some foil. Pat the chicken thighs dry, then salt and pepper them.  I’m only using two here, but you can add more depending on how many people you’re feeding. Add to the hot Dutch oven. While the chicken is cooking, thaw the frozen half-bag of Cajun mirepoix in the microwave and drain off any excess water.

Brown on both sides and then set aside with the sausages.

Add a pat of butter to the hot Dutch oven (totally optional) and then add the Cajun mirepoix mix.

Cook until the vegetables grow soft and start to brown. Add the box of Jambalaya mix into the cooked veggies. You’ll start to smell the spices.

Add the canned tomatoes.

Then the frozen okra. Stir well, making sure to scrape any brown bits from the bottom of the pan.

Return the chicken and the sausage to the pot. But leave the shrimp alone for now.

Now, add 2 cups of chicken broth to the pot.

Cover and cook on low heat for about 30 minutes. Stir occasionally. While it’s cooking, you can add a little flavor to the shrimp if you like, but it’s optional.  Remove shrimp from brine and pat dry.You can either peel the shrimp or leave the shells on and have the fun of peeling them while eating the dish. Either way, add some olive oil and a clove of minced garlic to the shrimp. Stir them together and let shrimp marinate while Jambalaya cooks.

After around 30 minutes, most of the liquid will have cooked away. Break the chicken apart into bite-sized pieces with a spoon.

Turn off the heat. That’s very important. Otherwise you’ll overcook the shrimp.  Nestle the shrimp into the rice. Then cover and let sit for about 10 minutes until the shrimp turns pink.

It should like this when it’s finished.

This isn’t a particularly hot version of this dish. If you want to add more spice, you can use the Ro-Tel tomatoes and also put in a few dashes of hot sauce. I like to offer hot sauce on the side so everyone can season to taste.


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