Monday, February 18, 2013


I love recipes that are passed down through family. You know, the ones scratched down on a piece of paper in familiar handwriting, the ones that bring feelings of comfort and good memories? When I married Josh, one of the first meals I was introduced to by his family was their version of jambalaya. My in-laws are originally from Louisiana, so Cajun food naturally falls into the category of comfort food for Josh and his family. Although I grew up just over an hour from the Lousiana border, cajun food was not something my family ever made. But after a couple of trips to New Orleans and time spent with my in-laws, I love it!

Josh's parents have altered the traditional jambalaya recipe to make it their own. So to some of you, this may not be the type of jambalaya you are accustomed to. And although it may seem a little unusual, you should give it a try! I have changed up just a few things from the original recipe my mother-in-law wrote down for me above.

The proteins in this jambalaya are one whole chicken and one package (16 oz.) of Jimmy Dean Sage Sausage. Both are on sale often, and I have also found coupons for Jimmy Dean sausage, so if you time it right, this can be a very inexpensive meal. For instance, this chicken was on sale for $.77/lb., so I ended up only paying $3.46 for it.

Begin by emptying out the insides of the chicken, placing it in a large pot and covering it with water. I add in a couple of garlic cloves and some salt to flavor it. Bring it to a boil, then let it simmer for about 1 hour and 20 minutes. Remove chicken and let cool so that it's easier to handle. Tear meat off of chicken and either shred with fingers or chop with a knife and set aside.

This is a very simple way to prepare chicken to use for recipes such as this. If you don't like handling a raw chicken or don't have the time, a store bought rotisserie chicken works great as well.

Next brown sausage in a large dutch oven or other pot. Remove sausage leaving grease. Add one chopped onion to the pot, sauteing until tender and translucent.

Then return sausage and chicken to pot with onions. Add 1 cup of white rice and 2 cups of water. Sprinkle in a little salt and Creole seasoning (such as Tony Chachere's). Bring water to a boil. Stir until rice puffs and most of water is gone (this time will vary depending on what type of rice you use).

Cover, lower heat, and simmer 15-20 minutes.

Season to taste with salt, pepper, Creole seasoning, and cayenne. This will make about 6-10 servings depending on your appetite. Josh loves this so much and serves himself very large portions, so it doesn't make quite as many servings for us!

Each person can add more Creole seasoning and Tabasco sauce if they would like extra spice. The leftovers are delicious, so it's a great meal to make on Sunday and enjoy for a few more days! You can also change it up by adding bell peppers, tomato sauce, or different meats.

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