It's not Mardi Gras unless Jambalaya is on the menu! For my Mardi Gras potluck I knew this was the dish I was going to prepare and found the following recipe on Cook's Illustrated. As predicted, this was spot on with not too much spice, great flavor and perfect as a meal all on it's own. If you wanted, you could even prepare this dish using pasta in place of the rice. To do so, prepare the recipe as follows without the rice. Boil your choice of pasta separately. When your pasta is done and drained, top with the tomato, chicken & shrimp mixture. Toss to combine and dig in!
What I also liked about this recipe is that it can be prepared in stages so it's an easy recipe to put together and serve when you're ready. To prep in advance:
- Process the onion, bell peppers and garlic beforehand and store in a container until ready to assemble.
- Cook your chicken and sausage beforehand, allow to cool, and shred the chicken. You can store the meats in a storage container and chill until ready to assemble.
On the day you're ready to assemble and serve, cook the rice with the processed vegetables as the recipe notes. Add the shrimp along with the previously shredded chicken and sausage (so they can heat up) and garnish with parsley before serving.
recipe adapted from Cook's Illustrated
1 medium onion, peeled, ends trimmed & quartered lengthwise
1 1/2 cups bell peppers (mixture of red, green, yellow, and/or orange), seeded & quartered
5 cloves garlic, peeled
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
4 bone in, skin on thighs
8 oz andouille sausage, halved lengthwise & cit into 1/4-inch pieces
1 1/2 cups long grain white rice (10 oz)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes, drained with 1/4 cup of juice reserved
1 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth
2 bay leaves
1 pound medium shrimp (31 to 35 shrimp per pound), or large shrimp, shelled
2 tablespooons minced fresh parsley leaves
In the bowl of a food processor, pulse onion, celery, bell peppers, and garlic until chopped fine, about six 1-second pulses, scraping down sides of bowl once or twice. Do not overprocess; vegetables should not be pureed.
Heat oil in large heavy-bottomed Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering but not smoking, about 2 minutes. Add chicken, skin-side down, and cook until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Using tongs, turn chicken and cook until golden brown on second side, about 3 minutes longer. Transfer chicken to plate and set aside. Reduce heat to medium and add andouille; cook, stirring frequently, until browned, about 3 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer sausage to paper towel–lined plate and set aside.
Reduce heat to medium-low, add vegetables, and cook, stirring occasionally and scraping bottom of pot with wooden spoon, until vegetables have softened, about 4 minutes. Add rice, salt, thyme, and cayenne; cook, stirring frequently, until rice is coated with fat, about 1 minute. Add tomatoes, reserved tomato juice, chicken broth, bay leaves, and browned sausage to pot; stir to combine. Remove and discard skin from chicken; place chicken, skinned-side down, on rice. Bring to boil, reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes. Stir once, keeping chicken on top, skinned-side down. Replace cover and continue to simmer until chicken is no longer pink when cut into with paring knife, about 10 minutes more; transfer chicken to clean plate and set aside. Scatter shrimp over rice, cover, and continue to cook until rice is fully tender and shrimp are opaque and cooked through, about 5 minutes more.
While shrimp are cooking, shred chicken. When shrimp are cooked, discard bay leaves; off heat, stir in parsley and shredded chicken, and serve immediately.