One of the best ways to use up leftovers is to put them in the soup, or the chili, or in this case, the jambalaya, especially when you only have little bits of this and little bits of that. Way back in the day, when I was operating corporate kitchens, we did that all the time. My sous chef and I were very creative when it came to recreating our leftovers; a gift I’ve always been blessed with. 🙂 Jambalaya is a food that is deeply rooted in its humble beginnings, and it was the poor man’s food for the very reason that everything leftover was thrown into the pot. If you had a little bit of shrimp, or a little bit of sausage, or a little bit of chicken or pork, it all got thrown in together. All you needed to do was add some rice, peppers, garlic, onions, and spices, and voila; you now have a pot full of delicious jambalaya. But don’t be fooled by all these little bits. All these little bits add up to A LOT, so you better have a bit pot. Every time I make a pot of jambalaya, it is always just a little bit different, depending on the little bits I have leftover at the time. The point is, don’t fret about not having certain items. Just use up what you have and enjoy. The next time you make it, it will probably be different anyway, so feel free to let those creative juices flow.
We had friends over for dinner, and Larry had been hungry for jambalaya for quite some time, so it was the perfect opportunity to make a big pot of it. Our friend Shannon is gluten free, and coming up with Southern appetizers was a bit of a challenge, because everything I came across, though they all sounded fantastic to me, all contained gluten. The safest choice for an appetizer was chips, salsa and guacamole, which are always winners, not matter what you are serving. I already had my roasted tomato and jalapeno salsa, so I just needed to whip up some guacamole to go with it. Roasted Tomato and Jalapeno Salsa The carrot-cheddar muffins were not gluten free, Carrot-Cheddar Corn Muffins but at least everything else was. Shannon, like the rest of us, was able to eat to her heart’s content and enjoy the meal too.
Today’s Version of Jambalaya
1 chicken breast, cubed in medium sized pieces
2 Andouille sausage links
1/2 lb-1 lb large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 red bell pepper, diced medium
1 green bell pepper, diced medium
1 onion, diced medium
2 jalapenos, diced fine
2 TBSP garlic
2 cans chicken broth
2 large tomatoes, diced medium or 2 cans, with the juice
1 1/2 cups rice
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp sage
1 tsp marjoram
salt & pepper to taste
1 TBSP Tabasco sauce, or to taste
cayenne pepper to taste
Par cook the sausage enough so you can slice it. Remove it from the heat and let cool. Cook the chicken, then remove it and cool. Cook the shrimp, then remove it and cool.
Saute the peppers, onion, jalapenos and garlic in olive oil for about 5-7 minutes.
Add the rice and saute it for about 1-2 minutes.
Add all the rest of the ingredients, including the meats and combine well. Cover the dish and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and continue to cook for about 40-45 minutes or until most of the liquid is gone and the rice is cooked.
Laissez le bontems roulez! Just like how they make it out on the bayous. I GAR-UN-TEE, you’re going to love it.
Stay safe and stay well Everyone. ‘Til next time.