This is one of those wonderful dishes where you can switch things up depending on what ingredients you have on hand. For example, you can use any type of sausage or bacon, but I still think the dish would be tasty even if you left the meat out all together. If you don’t have any shrimp you could throw in some other type of seafood instead. If you don’t like oysters (I fall in this department!) then not to worry. This is the type of dish where you can be creative and make substitutions as you see fit…and best of all enjoy the end result (and don’t forget to freeze the leftovers!).
When I recently made this dish I did not use sausage (we used bacon instead) and I did not add any of the extra black pepper or hot sauce. There is already a little red pepper in the Creole seasoning so that was the only source of heat in our dish. And to my surprise both of my girls ate (small amounts) of it when it was served. Point being – at least they didn’t hate it! When I first added the spices I took a bite and immediately thought it would be too spicy for them, but after the rice and liquids got cooking it really made the dish more palatable for those younger taste buds. So give it shot with your children before offering up a separate kid meal!
Easy Jambalaya (adapted from Commander’s Kitchen cookbook)
- 2 tablespoons butter
- ½ pound of sausage (preferably andoullie) or bacon
- 1 large bell pepper, any color, in large dice
- 1 large onion, in large dice
- 3 ribs celery, in large dice
- 1 small head garlic, cloves peeled and minced
- 1 teaspoon Creole seasoning (sold premixed or make some)
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 2 large tomatoes chopped (or equivalent quantity of cherry tomatoes)
- 3/4 pound raw shrimp, peeled
- 2 bay leaves
- 1.5 cups quick cooking brown rice
- 2 cups chicken stock/broth (if you don’t have any stock you could use water instead)
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 pint shucked oysters, with their liquor (optional)
- Hot sauce, to taste (optional)
- Green onions for garnish
- Combine the butter and sausage (or bacon) in a large soup pot over high heat. Cook for about 6 minutes stirring occasionally.
- Add the bell pepper, onion, celery, garlic, Creole seasoning, salt and black pepper to taste. Saute over high heat for about 8 minutes, or until the veggies have browned and carmelized.
- Add the tomatoes, shrimp, and bay leaves, and stir for a couple of minutes.
- Add the rice, stir gently, then add the broth and water. Gently stir the rice again to make sure it is not sticking to the bottom of the pot.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes (or until the rice is tender).
- Turn off the heat and fold in the oysters (if using), cover, and let sit for about 8 minutes. If not using oysters you can skip this step altogether.
- Garnish with green onions and serve.