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If there’s three things I love indulging in life, it’s dark chocolate, wine (duh) and spicy food. Usually, I can somehow manage to enjoy all three of those things in one day, with a little planning of course. My husband meanwhile, prefers Hershey’s milk chocolate bars (usually an impulse purchase from the check-out line), whiskey and bland food—it’s become a challenge in my life to get him to even attempt to cook somewhat of a spicy dish.
After a successful attempt at feeding him my favorite chicken creole, I thought it was time to dive back into creole recipes with another favorite of mine: jambalaya. I originally tried to make this weeks earlier, but he threw a bit of a temper tantrum explaining to me how much he dislikes eating “New Orleans food.” Whatever. He once told me to lie to him about what I’m cooking; if I don’t tell him what’s in it, he’ll eat it. Like any good wife, that’s exactly what I did when I decided to make it a few weeks later. If you're searching for an easy to prepare dish for mardi gras, look no further. A warning: you're likely to go back for seconds. Or thirds.
As we all know, when done well, creole recipes can be transformed into show stopping dinners for every occasion. If you’re having friends over for a Mardi Gras celebration or are simply wanting to try a new recipe that will impress the Martha Stewart of your family, this recipe is it. If you’re planning to serve this with a house full of friends, be sure to open a bottle of wine (our suggested wines are below—check them out!) or two to take this meal to the next level.
This week has been physically and emotionally draining, so this jambalaya recipe was ideal since it can be prepared in stages and left alone to do it’s thing. Cook the chicken ahead of time, I chopped and prepped all the vegetables (and there are a lot!) and sausage while camped up in front of the television watching The Departed. I seriously forgot how awesome that movie was, I lost track of time and started dinner much later than I had originally planned.
As dinner was cooking, I kept debating which wine to serve with this somewhat spicy dish. Riesling was my first choice (to balance the spicy flavors), followed by a fruit-forward Zinfandel, then Sauvignon Blanc and finally a Rhone blend. I think any of these wines could work, just as long as they aren’t too acidic or spicy because after all, we’re trying to balance the spiciness of the jambalaya. Ultimately I chose the riesling and I had zero complaints from the peanut gallery.
This recipe makes a ton and the leftovers are perfect to stick in the freezer and reheat later on. Simply stick it into a ziplock bag, stick the bag into an empty cereal box, stick it in the freezer and remove from the box when it’s frozen solid. You’re welcome for that space saving tip.
- 1 cooked chicken, cut up
- 1 1/2 pounds smoked sausage
- 2 1/2 cups chicken stock
- 2 1/2 cups organic tomato juice
- 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
- 4 cups chopped onions
- 2 cups chopped celery
- 2 cups chopped green peppers
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 heaping tablespoon creole seasoning (I make my own: paprika, cayenne, garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, salt)
- 4 cups rice
- 1 cup chopped green onions
- 1 cup chopped tomatoes (optional)
- In a dutch oven, add the butter and flour over medium heat and whisk until it’s dark in color (think of a brick red), add paprika and add the onions, celery, garlic, green peppers and cook until desired tenderness.
- Meanwhile, in a large frying pan, in batches, brown your chicken and sausage in oil (I toss it together with a slice of bacon) until browned and add it to the vegetable mixture. Stir to combine, add your creole seasoning and then add chicken stock and tomato juice. Bring to a boil and add rice. Stir rice to the bottom, simmer for one hour. Prior to serving, add green onions and tomatoes, if using.