Poor Man’s Jambalaya

Just the name Jambalaya rolls off the tongue with an earthy rhythm… it almost makes me want to dance! There must be some music in its depths, since this yummy dish hails from the French Quarter of New Orleans.

As the story goes, in the European section of the city after the US Civil War, Spanish émigrés were trying to put together some tasty paella (just like Mama used to make it in the Old Country). Unfortunately for them (luckily for us!) saffron was not easily affordable or available. Refusing to be discouraged, they decided to substitute tomatoes for saffron… and Buen Provecho! A star was born and they called it Jambalaya.

When he took his first bite of dinner, our young son (a recently picky eater) proclaimed: “Yum, it spicy! That make me feel better!” He then wolfed down the entire plate and asked for more. So you have the word of at least one little boy that despite its heat, even small children will enjoy this gluten free version of a Louisiana Creole classic.

This super spicy meal is very easy to put together and leaves almost no mess in its wake. They often call this type of jambalaya “Poor Man’s” because it doesn’t use costly items like shrimp, but honestly it is so delicious you’ll feel rich indeed the moment you take your first mouthful.

Poor Man’s Jambalaya

What You’ll Need:
4 oz butter
6 oz chicken breast, cut into 1-2 in strips
9 oz Andouille sausage
1 ½ cup finely chopped onions
1 ½ cup finely chopped green bell peppers
1 cup minced celery
5 minced garlic cloves
2 cups uncooked rice
3 cups chicken stock
1 cup tomato sauce
1 tsp regular mustard

Herbs and spices:

½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp dried thyme leaves
½ tsp fresh ground black pepper
¾ tsp white pepper
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (unless you like it really HOT…)
4 whole Turkish Bay leaves

Optional: thinly sliced scallions for garnish

How It Works:

In a small bowl, combine herbs and spices and then set aside.

Melt butter in a deep heavy pot over medium high heat. Add Andouille sausage (chopped into ¼ inch thick rounds) and chicken pieces, and sauté for 4-6 minutes until chicken is cooked through.

In same pot, add garlic, onion, minced celery and green bell pepper.

Stir vigorously until well mixed and then add all of the herbs and spices, including the mustard. Continue stirring. Sauté approximately 9-10 minutes until onions and celery are translucent and mixture is well browned. Scrape the sides and bottom of the pan occasionally with your wooden stirring spoon and spatula to keep everything well mixed.

When the time is up, add both cups of rice and continue to cook stirring constantly for 4-5 minutes. There will be a lot of steam, this is alright. Keep stirring.

As soon as your timer rings, add three cups of chicken stock and one cup of tomato sauce. Bring everything to a boil then reduce heat to low and simmer covered between 20 and 25 minutes.

When finished cooking, your rice will be tender but not soft and fluffy. There should still be liquid in your pot that hasn’t fully absorbed into the Jambalaya. Remove the four Turkish Bay leaves and serve while still hot. Green onions make a terrific garnish, if you like them!

Serves 4 as a main course, 8 as an appetizer.

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