Jambalaya is both a culinary staple and a storied dish in New Orleans. The dish has been a part of New Orleans cuisine since Colonial Spanish settlers tried reconstructing their native paella from locally-sourced ingredients. Today, the dish is comprised of a mix of chicken, seafood, sausage–or all three!–plus peppers, onions, other vegetables, spices, and rice combined in a variety of ways.
However it’s done, jambalaya has become a flavorful and fundamental part of New Orleans cuisine. The humble dish of rice may not seem like much, but jambalaya should never be underestimated as one of the most delicious dishes in town. You can find this classic dish at a number of New Orleans restaurants (see listings below), or you can try your hand at cooking it in your own kitchen. Everyone has a different way of creating this Crescent City staple, but you can’t go wrong with Chef Isaac Toups’ version packed with smoked andouille sausage and flavorful chicken thighs.
Serving Size: 6
Time to Prep (mm): 20 minutes
Time to Cook (mm): 1 hour
Special Kitchen Equipment Required: Large Dutch Oven. Wooden spoon.
2 Tablespoons + 1/2 cup high-temperature cooking oil like grape seed oil
1lb boneless chicken thighs
1lb smoked andouille sausage
2 ribs celery medium diced
1 large bell pepper medium dice
1 large onion medium dice
8 cloves garlic minced
2 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1/ 2 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup amber beer
6 cups chicken stock “low sodium “
2 cups uncooked rice
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, room temp
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Season chicken thighs with salt, black pepper, and cayenne.
3. Heat a large Dutch oven on medium heat.
4. Add two Tablespoons of oil to the pot.
5. When oil is hot, add chicken thighs to sear for five minutes on each side.
6. Remove chicken from pot and set aside.
7. Add half a cup of oil to the pot
8. When oil just starts to smoke add flour and stir continuously until roux is the color of dark chocolate.
9. Add all vegetables to the roux and cook for one minute.
10. Add beer to the roux and cook for 30 seconds.
11. Add stock, beer, and chicken thighs to the pot stirring until the sauce comes to a simmer. Cover and simmer for an hour.
12. Add the uncooked rice to the pot stir and cover. Then place in oven and bake for 30 minutes.
13. remove from oven and stir in butter. Garnish with thinly sliced green onion tops.
When the first little whiffs of smoke start to rise from the oil, dump in your flour and immediately start stirring. Do not walk away. Just continue to stir, scraping the bottom and edges well to keep the flour from burning.
Swap Option: You can substitute any kind of sausage (chicken, turkey) if you don’t eat pork.
Why I Love This Recipe: This is a hearty dish and perfect for feeding the masses. When we have family and friends over during Mardi Gras, I’ll double this recipe and feed everyone!