Our first Jambalaya — a recipe for comfort and healing

It’s been a Fat Tuesday for a lot of other reasons not related to Mardi Gras — typically, the New Orleans tradition of eating rich, fatty foods before the Lenten season starts. Down South, it’s a fun day to indulge and celebrate carnival style before the personal sacrifices begin.

In our little universe, it feels like the sacrifices have come first. It’s been a very chaotic few weeks — months — of making adjustments related to new parenting, new homeownership, helping aging parents and managing other life changes. To make things even more interesting, mommy just got her very first Covid positive test, after 3 years of dodging the bullet.

Needless to say, we need a little bit of comfort to lighten what feels like a fat load on our shoulders. A heart-warming New Orleans style meal can do just that.

And since we’ve been wanting to give Jambalaya a try, we researched a few online and on YouTube and this is what we came up with. You’ll have to keep an eye during the preparation (it’s not set it and forget it), but it’s pretty easy to make. And you can be slightly flexible with the ingredients.

Easy Jambalaya

  • ½ Cup each of onion, Cubanelle peppers and celery (trinity)
  • 8 Garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/3 Cup of flour
  • 1/3 Cup of canola oil
  • 1 Cup of sliced andouille sausage
  • 1 Cup of chicken ( We used leftover roasted chicken, slightly shredded)
  • ¾ Cup of small shrimp (optional)
  • ½ Cup of thinly sliced okra (optional)
  • 2 Tablespoons of chicken bouillon
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 Cups of rice
Optional Topping
  • 1 Cup shrimp
  • Olive oil
  • Cajun seasoning
  • Chopped celery leaves
1. To make your life easy, prep all the veggies and meats. Chop everything up to your liking.
2. Make a roux by heating the oil and adding the flour carefully when it’s hot. Cook slowly at medium to high heat, stirring constantly until it becomes a caramel color. Keep an eye on it. If it burns, start over.
Add veggies and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Then, add the chicken bouillon and 1 ½ cups of water. Let it reduce until it looks like a gravy. Add salt and pepper to taste.
3. Add the garlic, okra, sausage, chicken, rice and ½ cup of water. Mix well and cover.
4. Cook for 15 minutes. Uncover, mix and add the shrimp. Mix again and turn off the heat. The shrimp will cook with the residual heat.
5. Let it rest for another 5 minutes.
6. As an optional “bonus”, sauté some shrimp in olive oil. Season with Cajun seasoning. Use them to top your rice with the celery leaves.

Check out our YouTube Short on this recipe HERE

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