One of the most popular recipes made on Fat Tuesday is classic New Orleans Jambalaya. Although this dish is popular throughout the year in Southern Louisiana, it seems like everyone around the country wants to celebrate the end of Mardi Gras carnival season by making this Big Easy recipe.
However, before you go to make this classic meal, you must first understand the difference between Creole and Cajun cuisine. Although there are several cultural differences between the two, I am only going to focus on the main culinary differences.
In very general terms, there are two main differences between the Creole and Cajun cuisine. The first major difference is all about the use of tomatoes and tomato products in recipes.
Creole cooking often includes diced tomatoes and other tomato products in recipes. However, most Cajun recipes do not include tomatoes.
But the difference doesn’t stop there. Many people have asked me what the difference is between Creole and Cajun Seasoning. Although you can easily find both in the spice aisle at the grocery store, there is a difference.
Cajun seasoning typically includes only a mixture of garlic powder, onion, black pepper, and Cayenne pepper. On the other hand, Creole seasoning includes other spices as well, such as paprika, oregano, and thyme.
And depending where you live and where you grew up, there is a strong preference of one type of cooking to the other.
However, since we are huge tomato lovers and have extra Canned Diced Tomatoes to use from our summer garden, we typically prepare our New Orleans Inspired Recipes in a Creole style.
Although, my thoughts are that the choice is up to you if you want to add them in or leave them out. Do what makes you happy and enjoy food the way you like it.
New Orleans Jambalaya Recipe
*Complete recipe instructions including specific measurements, cook temperatures and times are located in a printable recipe card at the bottom of this article. However, be sure to keep reading for helpful tips and tricks when making this recipe.
- Olive oil
- Andouille sausage, cut into 1/2-inch slices
- Boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces
- Green Bell pepper
- Minced garlic
- Chicken broth
- Dried thyme
- Creole Seasoning
- Long grain white rice
- Diced tomatoes
- Worcestershire sauce
- Bay leaves
- Shrimp, peeled and deveined
Garnish & Serving Ingredients (optional)
- Chopped parsley
- Diced green onions
- Hot Sauce
More About Some Of The Ingredients
1. Andouille Sausage
Classic Jambalaya includes Andouille Sausage which is a coarse-grained smoked sausage made using a combination of pork, garlic, pepper, onions, wine and various seasonings. It is smoked a second time and is easily sliced.
However, for those of you that can’t have pork, there are other options. There are several brands of andouille sausage that is made from beef, chicken and even turkey. Use whatever fits your personal needs.
2. Chicken Thighs
Boneless, skinless, chicken thighs is the meat of choice when it comes to chicken. Not only are the thighs more flavorful than chicken breast, they cook more evenly in this recipe.
However, I do recommend trimming the fat from the chicken thighs before adding the chunks to the recipe.
3. Creole Seasoning
Because we are making a classic New Orleans Creole Jambalaya, the seasoning of choice is obviously Creole seasoning. However, if you don’t have any creole seasoning at home but have Cajun seasoning, by all means, use that instead.
Yes, I know it won’t be considered a classic recipe, but it will save you money and still taste delicious. Again, I am not here to judge personal choices!
Because we are making this on the stove top, it is important to use long grain white rice and not brown rice in this recipe. That is because the white rice takes less time to cook than the brown rice.
However, you can substitute another type of white rice, including Basmati or Jasmine rice if you prefer because they have a similar cook time.
You can use fresh or frozen shrimp for this recipe. The important thing to remember is that you need peeled and deveined shrimp before adding it to the pot.
Although you can peel and devein them yourself, this will increase the preparation time. Therefore, I prefer to purchase already peeled and deveined shrimp from either the butcher counter or the frozen seafood section at the grocery store.
Now that I have explained more about the ingredients, it is time to get cooking!
The first step in making New Orleans Jambalaya is to heat a large stock pot over medium-high heat and add the oil. When the oil is hot add the andouille sausage and cook on both sides until browned.
Then remove the sausage pieces from the pot and place in a bowl or on a plate and set aside. Next, add the diced chicken thigh pieces and cook until browned on all sides.
The chicken thighs don’t have to be completely cooked through. However all sides need to be sautéed and brown before removing the pieces to another plate or bowl.
In the same pan that you cooked the andouille sausage and chicken thighs add the diced onions, bell pepper and celery. The bottom of the pan most likely will be coated in browned bits, and this is okay.
As the vegetables begin to cook down, they will release liquid. Use a wooden spatula to scrape the browned bits off the bottom of the pan while the vegetables cook.
Continue to sauté until the onion is soft and translucent, continuing to stir and deglaze the pot as the vegetables cook. Once the vegetables are tender, add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, or until the garlic is fragrant.
Quickly add the chicken stock, thyme, Creole seasoning, salt, browned chicken, browned sausage, and rice to the pot. Stir the mixture so that the ingredients can blend together.
Next, stir in the diced tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce and bay leaves. Then bring the mixture to a boil, stirring frequently and then reduce the heat to a simmer.
Cover and Simmer
Cover the pot and continue to allow the mixture to simmer for 20 minutes, or until the rice is tender. Finally, stir in the shrimp and continue to simmer until the shrimp turns pink in color.
If you want your New Orleans Jambalaya to be thicker, remove the lid and let the pot continue to simmer until desired thickness is reached. Serve warm with chopped parsley, diced green onions and hot sauce to taste.
Storing & Reheating Instructions
Store leftovers in a closed container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Like many recipes, this is one that just gets better with time.
To reheat, place an individual portion in a microwave safe bowl. Stir in 1 teaspoon of water and heat on high power for 1 minute. Then stir and heat for another minute or until the mixture is nice and hot.
You can also reheat this mixture on the stove. Place the contents in a stock pot and add 1/4 cup of water. Place over medium heat for approximately 5-8 minutes or until warmed through.
Other New Orleans Inspired Recipes
If you are looking for something different to make to celebrate Fat Tuesday, check out some of my other favorite New Orleans inspired recipes besides this delicious Jambalaya recipe.
- Baked Beignets
- Shrimp Po Boy
- Southern Pralines
- Instant Pot Creole Jambalaya
- Crock Pot Jambalaya
- Instant Pot Red Beans and Rice
Mary and Jim
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- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 12 oz. andouille sausage, cut into 1/2-inch slices
- 12 oz. boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 cup onion chopped
- 1 cup bell pepper chopped
- 1 cup celery chopped
- 1 Tbsp minced garlic
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1/2 tsp salt, more to taste
- 2 teaspoons Creole Seasoning
- 1 1/2 cups long grain white rice, rinsed well
- 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined
- Chopped parsley, to garnish
- green onions, to garnish
- Heat a large stock pot over medium-high heat and add the oil. When the oil is hot add the andouille sausage and cook on both sides until browned. Remove from the pot and set aside.
- Add chicken and cook until browned on both sides. Remove and set aside.
- Add onions, bell pepper, celery to the same pot and sauté until the onion is soft and translucent, stirring and deglazing the pot as the vegetables cook. Once the vegetables are tender, add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
- Add the chicken stock, thyme, Creole seasoning, salt, browned chicken, browned sausage, rice and stir to coat.
- Stir in tomatoes, Worcestershire, chicken broth and bay leaves. Bring the mixture to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cover and continue to simmer for 20 minutes.
- Stir in the shrimp and continue to simmer until the shrimp turns pink, about 5 minutes.
- Serve warm with chopped parsley and diced green onions
Recipe courtesy of Old World Garden Farms
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 479Total Fat: 25gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 14gCholesterol: 265mgSodium: 2445mgCarbohydrates: 23gFiber: 3gSugar: 6gProtein: 41g
Nutritional Information is to be used as a general guideline only . Nutritional calculations will vary from the types and brands of the products used.