CHICKEN JAMBALAYA for Fat Tuesday and beyond

Jambalaya with Chicken

With Fat Tuesday around the corner, I resurrected (sorry, not sorry) an old recipe from the backlogs of the blog and polished it up a bit.

The quantities needed adjusting for a smaller group and rather than putting actual unit measurements I simply wrote one pepper or one onion because honestly, the true quantity doesn’t really matter, we’re just building flavor here—no need to get out the measuring cup.

This is a festive and delicious one-pot meal that is terrific for a cold night. The chicken thighs shredded and mixed into the creamy rice and tasty veg medley end up succulent and rich. Délicieux!

Cajun Grocery is a great resource for all things, well… Cajun. I like Poche’s andouille sausage which I tend to buy in bulk and keep in my freezer. If you’re just looking locally, check out stalls like Pork Palace or Casitas Valley Pastures at the Farmers Market. Niman Ranch also has a good option, if you’re only able to shop at the “regular” market.

Jambalaya is a crowd-pleaser (even the teens like it) and tastes like comfort in a bowl—no one really wants fancy multi-course fare anymore. Light some candles, set your Sonos, pour some killer wine (how about a red Burg? After all, Lent starts on Wednesday) and don’t forget the hot sauce.

I’m loving green Tabasco of late!

This one-pot dinner makes a special meal for Fat Tuesday or any ole night. Cheers & Bon Appetite!

Chicken Jambalaya

Serves 6-8

8 pieces of chicken thighs with bone and skin

2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning, store-bought or homemade (see recipe below)

3 teaspoons Diamond Crystal kosher salt, divided

2 tablespoons of avocado oil

1 pound andouille sausage (sliced in coin size pieces)

1 large yellow onion, small dice

1 large red bell pepper, seeds and stems removed, small dice

1 large yellow bell pepper, seeds and stems removed, small dice

2 large ribs celery, small dice

1 large jalapeno, seeds and stems removed, finely chopped

5 large garlic cloves, minced

¼ cup dry white wine

1 ½ cups long-grain rice (such as Jasmine), rinsed until the water is clear

3 cups of chicken stock, preferably homemade

1 28 ounces can San Marzano whole tomatoes and juices, mashed

2 fresh bay leaves

4 green onions chopped for garnish

Dry the chicken pieces with paper towels and season both sides with 1 teaspoon salt, and Cajun Seasoning. Place a large, high-sided, heavy-bottomed pan or Dutch oven on medium-high heat and add the oil. Brown chicken in oil in batches—about 5 to 7 minutes on each side. Set aside on a clean platter and cover. When the chicken is cool to the touch, remove the skin and discard it.

In the same pan, lower heat to medium and cook the Andouille to render the fat for 6 to 8 minutes, then remove it from the pan onto a clean bowl or plate.

After you’ve set aside your chicken and your sausage, sauté the peppers, celery, yellow onion, and garlic in the same pan until the onions are translucent and the veggies have released all their moisture—about 15 minutes. Add wine and take this time to scrape the bits off the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon.

Add the rice to the veggies and stir, coating each grain with the rendered fat (as you would for risotto) for about 5 minutes. Then, add the andouille, tomatoes, chicken stock, bay leaves, and thyme.  Place the chicken on top of the mixture and partially cover the pan with the lid slightly askew bring to a boil and reduce to simmer for 30 to 35 minutes until most of the liquid has been cooked off and the chicken is completely cooked. While the mixture cooks you can gently move the rice between the chicken pieces, so the bottom layer doesn’t completely stick to the pan.

Remove the chicken thighs to a cutting board and using two forks, strip the chicken meat from the bone-in pieces—don’t discard the bones, save them to make stock with later. Add the shredded chicken to the rice mixture and stir to incorporate. Taste for seasoning and remove bay leaves and thyme sprigs. Garnish with green onion and serve with your favorite hot sauce.


** Cajun seasoning is simple to make with common staples in your pantry. Below is a spice seasoning recipe of Donald Links cookbook Real Cajun. If you’re going to buy it store-bought look for organic options and blends without salt.

Donnie’s Spice Mix (modified just a tad—I add smoked paprika, as well as the regular)

2 tablespoons cayenne pepper

1 tablespoon paprika

1 tablespoon smoked paprika

1 tablespoon ground white pepper

1 tablespoon ground black pepper

4 tablespoons chili powder

1 tablespoon garlic powder

Combine the spices in a small bowl and store mixture in a cool, dark place in an airtight container.