Jambalaya means “jumbled” in French, a perfect name for the dish which offers you a delicious ensemble of seafood, meat, vegetables and rice, all in a single plate. This Caribbean rice pilaf is the result of the Spanish influence in the Islands and is believed to be an offshoot of paella. This dish was believed to be introduced by the Spanish with an aim to popularize paella among the people of New World, though they have to use tomatoes instead of saffron, as the latter was not on hand in those regions. Thus Creole style of jambalaya was born and it is incomplete with the “holy trinity” or onions, bell peppers and celery. They are given company by chicken, sausages, tomatoes, vegetables and seafood to create an extravagant and hearty dish for your meal. However, the people of Louisiana don’t like tomatoes in their jambalaya and prefers their meat browned before being cooked with the other ingredients. They didn’t stick to only chicken and threw in any game meat which they came across into their jambalaya. This rice pilaf came to be known as Cajun jambalaya in due course and gives a tough competition to its Creole cousin, in every aspect. Authentic jambalaya calls for chicken pieces to be cooked with rice, but with growing popularity of ground chicken, people have also started experimenting with it in this rice delicacy and the outcome is equally compelling. However, it is up to you to decide between the types of jambalaya to cook for your next family dinner.
- 1 ½ lb ground chicken
- ½ lb ground beef
- ½ lb pork sausage, ground
- 3 cups rice, cooked
- 1 tsp tomato paste
- 1 green bell pepper, chopped
- 1 ¼ onions, minced
- 1 cup celery, chopped
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- ½ cup fresh parsley, chopped
- 1/8 tsp dried thyme
- ½ tsp cayenne pepper
- ½ tsp ground black pepper
- 1 cup cold water
- 4 tbsp vegetable oil
- Salt to taste
- Sauté the holy trinity in hot oil, along with garlic paste, for a couple of minutes over medium heat.
- Stir in the tomato paste and continue to cook them until the onions soften.
- Add the meat to it, sprinkle the seasonings over it and give the entire mixture a number of nice stir.
- Cook it for about 10 minutes or until the meat browns and then pour in the water.
- Simmer the dish for about 40 minutes over slow flame, stirring at times.
- Stir in the parsley and continue to simmer for another 15 minutes before adding the cooked rice at the end.
- Cook the rice in the simmering mixture for about 5 minutes.
- Serve and relish this traditional delicacy.