The Best Freakin’ Jambalaya EVER

Posted by on Feb 27, 2012 in Stuff I Like | 19 comments

Not a very pretty picture--I know--but maybe you can get a feel for the ricey, spicy goodness...

The Frenchman and I made jambalaya last night. We based it on a Paula Dean recipe, but we added our own special flare. It was REALLY spicy and REALLY amazing…and probably not authentic at all.

But I’m incredibly pleased with how it turned out, so I thought I’d share the recipe with you.

NOW, please keep in mind that I’m not a recipe-cook. I’m more of a glance-at-recipe-for-general-idea-then-wing-it cook (and in this case, we glanced at Paula Dean). As such, the amounts below are not necessarily 100% accurate to what I made and you’ll want to season to your own personal tastes.

Okay, on to the recipe, ho!

Chicken & Shrimp Jambalaya

Serves: 4-6 people (I eat A LOT, so it only came out to 4 servings in this household)


    • 1 cup brown rice
    • 1/2 lb. shrimp (I used frozen, cooked cocktail shrimp that I had on hand, and I thawed them before using. You could easily use uncooked shrimp.)
    • 1/2 lb. chicken breast, cut in strips (uncooked)
    • 2 tbsp. salt
    • 2 tbsp. garlic powder
    • 1 tbsp. fresh ground black pepper
    • 1 tbsp. onion powder
    • 1 tbsp. cayenne pepper (or less, if you don’t want it super spicy)
    • 1 tbsp. dried basil
    • 1 tbsp. Old Bay seasoning
    • 1 tbsp. olive oil
    • 6 okra pods, sliced
    • 4 celery stalks, chopped
    • 1 bell pepper (or I used 1/2 yellow + 1/2 red)
    • 1/2 large red onion, chopped
    • 6 garlic cloves, minced
    • 2 tbsp. tomato paste
    • 3 cups chicken stock
  1. First, get some water boiling for that rice. While you’re waiting for it to boil, start chopping your meat and veggies. Once the water is at a boil, add your rice. You want to cook it ~5 minutes (so it’s only partially done).
  2. Combine all the spices (salt, garlic powder, black pepper, onion powder, cayenne pepper, basil, Old Bay seasoning) in a bowl and add the shrimp and chicken. Stir it around until the meat’s all covered.
  3. Add your olive oil to a pan, then toss in the okra, celery, bell pepper, and onion. Cook until the onions are just about translucent.
  4. Add the garlic and tomato paste. Stir until the paste is evenly spread.
  5. Pour in the chicken stock, and then add your partially cooked rice. Leave it simmering ~15 minutes, or until the rice is mostly cooked. If the jambalaya is starting to look dry, just add water (I added ~1 cup of water during that 15 minutes). *I also sprinkled cayenne over the mixture at this point. It made it VERY spicy–too spicy to my husband–but I personally like that burn-your-throat kick on my food.
  6. Once the rice is mostly cooked, add your seasoned chicken and shrimp. Let the jambalaya simmer for another 10 minutes,or until the chicken is cooked through.
  7. SERVE & EAT!

So there you have it. I hope you enjoy it, and let me know if you have any questions/comments.

Now you tell me: do you have a good, authentic jambalaya recipe I should try?

  • Holly Dodson

    That looks super yummy.  I refuse to eat the jambalaya my mom makes because she puts sausage in it (I don’t eat pork), but THIS I could get down with!  ;)  I’ll be giving this a shot.

    • Susan Dennard

      Yes! This is pork-free…and insanely spicy. ;) Let me know what you think!

  • Ladonna

    No,  I don’t, but it looks real good. We’re going out to New Orleans this week so I can’t wait to get some good food out there.

    • Susan Dennard

      Oooh, New Orleans!! HAVE FUN!!!

  • Lori M Lee

    This looks amazing o_o I’m definitely going to try this! Thank you!

    • Susan Dennard

      You’re so welcome! And, I’m not kidding when I say I think it’s the best. It’s totally my kind of fiery hot food!

  • Arianna Sterling

    I’ve never had jambalaya. Then again, I’m super picky about my food–I don’t eat rice and I don’t eat anything that used to live in the water–so that probably makes sense.

    • Susan Dennard

      Wha…?!?! No rice?! Nothing from the water?! YOU CRAY-CRAY, ARIANNA!

  • Zoe Gasparotti

     I love jambalaya! What you got there looks pretty darn tasty ;)

    The best homemade recipe I’ve seen came from an episode of Throwdown with Bobby Flay from the Food Network. It’s the winning recipe from that episode, so it comes from a pretty authentic source.

    • Susan Dennard

      Oooooooh, I just started salivating (no joke) after clicking on that recipe. It is TOTALLY going on my “To Be Made” list!!

  • Book Sake

    This sounds great.  I don’t think I’ve ever had jambalaya with brown rice (being from New Orleans means making jambalaya as unhealthy as possible), but I will definitely give it a try.  Yum!
    - Jessica @ Book Sake

    • Susan Dennard

      Yeah…the brown rice was a tough decision since I know the actual recipes call for white. But I’m a clean eater, so no processed grains for me…:P Honestly, though, the brown worked out well and I couldn’t taste it at all!

  • TCAvey

    Sounds yummy- minus the shrimp, I’m allergic. 
    Sounds like you cook like me, I’ll have to give this a shot some night. We like spicy food in our house!

    Found you today after Googling the difference between adult and YA fiction. It was helpful, I’m still a little unclear what better suites my novel. I”m thinking YA but the sequel I am working on is more adult.  Though what you said about a YA morphing into an Adult makes me feel better. I would love to hear any more thoughts you have on this matter. 

    Since I am a wanna-be author, I would love any advice you have.  Would also love you to check out my blog and tell me what you think of my writing.   

    • Susan Dennard

      It ultimately will all boil down to the voice of your novel and your target audience. You went in writing your book for a certain reader–who? How old? And, perhaps even more importantly, your main character will have a very distinctive voice. If it reads like the MC is a teen, then you’re good to go with YA. If it reads adult, then you’ll want to consider moving it to adult.

      Does that make sense?

      • TCAvey

        I think so. It’s written in first person and while the reader can hear the immaturity in the MC, even an adult can relate to her insecurities, plus she is one of those “old souls” a teen who seems older than she is. Maybe I should just up her age a few years?

        I wrote it for those nearing adulthood and for adults…does that make sense? I’m not sure exactly where this leaves me. Do I tell agents I’ve written an adult fiction? I really think there needs to be a new category, kind of like tweens.

  • Fate42b

    I halved the spice and it’s perfect for out taste… Oh and added 1/4 pound thick sliced bacon…. Mmmm perfect :)

    • Susan Dennard

      Oh wonderful!! And bacon–mmmmmm, is right!!

  • MJB

    I have a question about your recipe….the spice quantities seem large……is tbsp supposed to represent a teaspoon or a tablespoon??

  • Dissapointed Cook

    What a joke. This recipe was horrid.