Chicken and Shrimp Jambalaya

Happy Mardi Gras!  I was not raised observing Fat Tuesday, Ash Wednesday, or any of the other Lent traditions, but I’m certainly happy to use a holiday as an excuse to try a new recipe!

Chicken and Shrimp Jambalaya

I’ve been a huge fan of hearty one pot meals this winter so last weekend when we realized that Mardi Gras was just a few days away we decided that a flavorful Jambalaya would be the perfect recipe for Sunday night.   We consulted our trusty Cook’s Illustrated The New Best Recipe cook book and decided to make their version of a creole-style Jambalaya with shredded chicken thighs, andouille sausage, shrimp, tomatoes and rice.  The recipe came together fairly quickly (compared to some of our stews, at least!) and the resulting dish featured an impressive range of flavors from the smoky andouille and clam-juiced shrimp to the fresh parsley, and slow-cooked chicken.  Yum!

Chicken and Shrimp Jambalaya (from The New Best Recipe; serves 5-6)

You will need…
1 Yellow Onion, quartered
1 Celery Rib, cut into 2-3 inch pieces
1 Red Bell Pepper, quartered
5 Garlic Cloves, peeled
2 teaspoons Vegetable Oil
4 Bone-In, Skin-On Chicken Thighs
8 oz. Andouille Sausage, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/4″ pieces (buy a good brand of Andouille if possible; it should give this dish a lot of flavor!)
1 1/2 cups Long Grain White Rice (uncooked)
1 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Fresh Thyme, minced (we used dried Thyme)
1/4 teaspoons Cayenne Pepper
1 – 14.5 oz. can Diced Tomatoes, drained with 1/4 cup of juice reserved
8 oz. Clam Juice
1 1/2 cups Chicken Broth
2 Bay Leaves
1 lb. Shrimp, peeled and deveined (we used frozen 30 ct. shrimp and thawed them beforehand)
2 tablespoons minced fresh Parsley

Begin by transferring the onion, celery, red pepper and garlic into a food processor.  Pulse the vegetables briefly to finely chop them without pureeing them.  We have a miniature food processor so Matt did this in 4 steps (one per vegetable) and then combined all of the chopped veggies together on a plate.

Heat the vegetable oil in a large dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Use tongs to place the chicken thighs in the oil, skin-side down, and cook, undisturbed, for 5 minutes or until golden brown.  (Watch out, there’s a lot of splattering!)  Use the tongs to flip the thighs over and continue to cook for another 3 minutes, then transfer the thighs to a plate.  Reduce the heat to medium, add the chopped andouille, and brown for 3 minutes, stirring frequently.  (This step smells amazing, in my opinion.)  Transfer the browned andouille to a paper towel-lined plate.

Reduce the heat further to medium low, then add in the chopped vegetables.  Use a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot and stir the veggies until softened, about 4 minutes.  Add in the rice, salt, thyme, and cayenne and stir well for about a minute to coat the rice in the chicken fat.  Stir in the tomatoes, tomato juice, clam juice, chicken broth, bay leaves and andouille.  Remove the skin from the chicken thighs then use your tongs to place the chicken, skinned-side down, on top of the rice mixture.  Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes.  After 15 minutes stir the mixture once and flip the chicken thighs over, then cover and simmer for another 10 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.  Transfer the chicken to a plate.

Place the shrimp on top of the rice mixture then cover and cook for 5 minutes until the shrimp are pink and cooked through.  (Be careful not to overcook the shrimp.)  When the shrimp are fully cooked remove the pot from heat and discard the bay leaves.  As soon as the chicken thighs are cool enough to work with, shred the meat into thin strands with your fingers.  Gently stir the shredded chicken and minced parsley into the stew and serve immediately.


728 Jambalaya

Do you have a favorite Mardi Gras-inspired dish or tradition?
Please tell me about it in the comments section!

Chicken Fried Rice

Fried Rice is one of the many dishes that Matt and I have wanted to master (or at least become proficient at making) since we got our wok back in November.  We tried a fried rice recipe a few months ago but it was over-seasoned with white pepper (the smell of white pepper still makes me cringe!) and definitely not what we were hoping for.  We were just talking about how we should try making fried rice again when, coincidentally, Danny from Danny’s Kitchen posted a tasty-looking recipe for chicken fried rice.  I immediately decided that we’d try Danny’s recipe and I’m happy to report that it was delicious!

Making fried rice takes some forethought because the rice should be made a few days in advance and then refrigerated.  I don’t have a rice cooker (though it’s sounding more and more like a gadget that I should get… maybe for our wedding?) so I cheated by microwaving some Trader Joe’s frozen jasmine rice on Tuesday and storing it until today.  For the veggies, I used raw carrots instead of frozen ones since that’s all I had.  I cooked the raw carrot with the frozen vegetables which left the carrots fairly crunchy and hard.  If I were to use raw carrots again I would steam them slightly before adding them to the wok to ensure that they ended up with a softer texture.

Chicken Fried Rice (also check out the original recipe on Danny’s Kitchen!)

You will need…
2 – 10 oz. packages frozen Trader Joe’s Jasmine Rice (cooked 2 days prior and stored in a sealed container in the fridge)
Peanut Oil
2 cloves Garlic, smashed and roughly chopped
1/2 medium Yellow Onion, finely diced
1 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast, cut into 3/4″ cubes
2 Eggs, whisked together in a small bowl
Approx. 3/4 cup frozen vegetables (I used about 1/4 cup frozen peas, 1/4 cup frozen corn, and 3 chopped carrots since I didn’t have frozen carrots)
1 teaspoon Soy Sauce

Heat up your wok over medium-high heat and add about a tablespoon of peanut oil.  When the oil is hot, add the garlic and onions and saute for 2-3 minutes.  Push the garlic and onions to the perimeter of the wok and add the chicken in one layer in the bottom of the wok.  Allow the chicken to cook, undisturbed, for 1 minute, then stir fry the chicken until it is cooked through.  Remove the chicken, garlic and onions from the wok and set aside.

Add more oil to the wok if needed, then add the whisked eggs and cook until they are scrambled.  Remove and set aside.  Add more oil again if needed, then add the rice and stir constantly for 5 minutes.  Add the frozen vegetables and the soy sauce, then stir fry for 8 minutes.  Add the egg and chicken back into the wok and stir fry for an additional 3-5 minutes until heated through.  Season with extra soy sauce to taste and enjoy!

Cilantro-Lime Rice

In this recipe, simply adding some cilantro and lime can transform a mundane frozen package of Trader Joe’s white rice into a fancy-tasting side dish.  Try this with Tequila Shrimp or substitute it in for normal rice in your favorite burrito recipe.

Cilantro-Lime Rice

You will need…
2-3 tablespoons of chopped Cilantro
2 tablespoons Lime Juice
Lime Zest from one small Lime
1 pouch of frozen Trader Joe’s White Rice

Place the Cilantro, Lime Juice and Lime Zest in a serving bowl.  Cook the packet of rice according to the package instructions (for TJ’s white rice, microwave on HIGH for 3 minutes).  Add cooked rice to serving bowl and stir to combine.