This is truly the best jambalaya recipe ever! It’s seasoned to perfection with ideal proportions of chicken, sausage and shrimp. The rice is just right – never overcooked or undercooked.
Is this a classic jambalaya recipe?
Like so many much-loved recipes everyone has their own ideas about the right or wrong way to make Jambalaya. Additionally, there are as many opinions about what ingredients should be in a “classic” or “traditional” recipe.
We like to think that they’re all right. Not just in the case of jambalaya, but with gumbo, with fried chicken, biscuits and brownies. We like to embrace the differences and the people who made them different.
In the end we will leave the answer to that question up to you. One definition of the word classic is “remarkably and instructively typical”. I guess time will tell, but this jambalaya recipe seems to check that box nicely.
Is it Creole or Cajun?
That’s an age old question, too. In general, Creole food is “citified” and is more common around New Orleans. It’s also heavier on the tomatoes. While we do have some tomatoes in our jambalaya, it’s brownish color would make it more Cajun, or “country-fied” (if that’s a word).
To confuse matters even more we use our beloved Tony Chachere’s Original Creole Seasoning, but we do tend to add it to so many of our recipes – whether they’re considered Creole or Cajun. Check below for a list.
If you love learning about the various regions of the south and the recipes and ingredients they produce you need to check out Southern Food: Then & Now.
Getting the rice cooked perfectly in jambalaya
We’ve found this to be a problem over the years as have many jambalaya cooks. It can not be cooked enough by the time the liquid is absorbed. In that case, you’ll have a crunchy middle and nobody likes crunchy rice, right?
Or, it gets mushy and overcooked. That’s not good either.
After lots of frustrating attempts to get it just right we hit on the solution for this problem and that solution is converted rice. Some purists will argue that it’s not classic jambalaya if it’s made with converted rice, but we will argue right back.
All of the requisite flavors are there and just sing out to be enjoyed. If mushy or crunchy rice would get in the way of the that enjoyment, then we believe it’s a problem to be dealt with. So we have dealt with that problem by bringing you the best jambalaya recipe ever!
Don’t save this jambalaya recipe just for Mardis Gras
Some people tend to save the recipes from this region and only make them during Carnival season or Mardis Gras.
If you want to get the great flavors of jambalaya without making a big pot, try this Jambalaya Dip. It gets rave reviews every time we make it.
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Best Jamblaya Recipe
- 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
- 4 boneless chicken thighs cubed
- 3/4 pound shrimp peeled and deveined
- 1/2 pound smoked sausage cut into 1/4 inch slices, prefer Andouille
- 1 bell pepper diced
- 1 cup diced celery
- 1 medium onion diced
- 3 green onions chopped
- 3 cloves garlic diced
- 1 cup diced canned tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon Creole seasoning we prefer Tony Chachere's Original
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- cayenne pepper to taste, optional
- 1½ cups converted rice
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 4 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- Heat oil in large dutch oven over medium heat.
- Add chicken and sausage and cook, stirring, about 8-10 minutes or until chicken is done.
- Add onions and continue cooking and stirring for about 8 minutes.
- Add celery and cook, stirring another 2-3 minutes.
- Add bell pepper and garlic and cook, stirring about 8 minutes.
- Add rice, stock, tomatoes and all seasonings. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low, Cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
- Add shrimp and green onions and stir. Cover. If shrimp are medium size the heat can be turned off. If shrimp are large, allow to cook, covered for one minute and then turn heat off.
- Before serving remove bay leaves and garnish with parsley.