Cajun Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya

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If you are a reader, you may recall that I spent several years in Louisiana during my childhood.  I have many fond memories of Cajun/Creole country, but it is the food that stands out the most.  Mardi Gras is next Tuesday and although I will not be hanging out on Bourbon Street saying "Throw me somethin' mister", I will be enjoying a festival of foods between now and then.

Jambalaya-- the mere mention of it puts that Hank Williams song in my head.  If you don't know what I am talking about, watch the movie Steel Magnolias and you'll catch my drift.  There are two types of Jambalaya (actually, there are three, but I'll just talk about the two most common versions).  The types are Creole and Cajun, both consisting of three parts; meats, vegetables, and rice.  Both use the southern holy trinity of onions, celery, and bell pepper, but the Creole version adds tomatoes and sometimes tomato sauce to the dish making it a "red" jambalaya.  Both are equally tasty and I have many recipes, but today I am sharing a Cajun version.

The chicken and sausage are browned in a pot then removed.  The vegetables, seasoning, and rice are sauteed in some of the pan drippings before broth is added and brought to a boil.  The chicken and sausage are placed back in the pot, covered, and simmered until the rice is fluffy (and further seasoned by the meats) and the chicken is cooked through.   

Garnish with a few chopped green onions, fresh parsley, and a couple of good dashes of Tabasco.  This is a one pot meal with deep flavor.  Bake up a batch of New Orleans French Bread and "whoooee, I gar-on-tee" (said in my best Justin Wilson voice) Hank Williams will be singing in your head too!
♬ Son of a gun, we'll have big fun on the bayou! ♬ 

Printable Recipe

Cajun Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya
serves 6-8

2 Tablespoons canola oil
1 chicken (about 2 1/2-3 pounds), cut into serving pieces, patted dry with paper towels, and seasoned with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3/4 - 1 pound andouille sausage or kielbasa, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds
1 medium onion, finely diced
2 stalks celery, finely diced
1 green bell pepper, seeded and finely diced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper or to taste
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups white rice
3 dried bay leaves
3 cups chicken stock

Chopped green onions
Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Tabasco sauce

In a large dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat.  Add as many chicken pieces as will fit skin side down to the skillet.  Brown until golden on both sides, about 5 minutes per side.  Transfer the chicken to a plate and brown any remaining pieces in the same manner.  Transfer those pieces to the plate.  Add the sliced sausage to the drippings and cook until brown around the edges, about 5 minutes.  Transfer the sausage to a plate.

Drain and reserve 3 Tablespoons of the drippings in the pan.  Add the onion, celery, and bell peppers and saute until softened, about 5-7 minutes.  Add the garlic and saute for another 2 minutes.  Add the cayenne, thyme, salt, and black pepper.  Stir in the rice and saute for 5 minutes.  Pour in the stock, add bay leaves, and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to a simmer. Return the chicken and sausage to the pan, cover and cook until the broth is absorbed and the chicken is cooked through, about 20 minutes.  Gently fluff the rice with a fork, cover and let rest for 10 minutes. Remove the bay leaves before serving.  Garnish with chopped green onions and fresh parsley.  Enjoy!

Source: Adapted from Joy of Cooking, 1997 and Paul Prudhomme's Louisiana Kitchen


  1. Oh yes, Hank Williams is singing in my head! Beautiful meal.

  2. I mistakenly thought jambalaya had to have tomatoes. Can't wait to try your version. Your pictures are very enticing.

  3. Looks like a great version of jambalaya!

  4. This looks incredible - thanks for the recipe!

  5. I LOVE jambalaya. Recently moved to New Orleans and it has become a recipe staple. Yours looks amazing!

  6. I love everything about this dish, especially the fact that it's a one-pot meal. I love love love the crisp chicken skin in your pictures - that is the best part!

    1. Glad you like the recipe. The chicken skin looks crisp, but it actually softens in the second stage of cooking.

  7. Oh it's years since I made jambalaya! My mum gave me a recipe for it that I used all through college. You've inspired me to reinvent it!

  8. Nicole, this is the best looking jambalaya I've seen in years! You are one talented photographer! I added this post to my Mardi Gras recipe round-up today. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thank you, Kris! Pleasure to be a part of your round-up:)

  9. My mom used to cook something like this when I was a kid. Looking forward to more inspiring blog posts. Keep posting dear. Thanks!

  10. Am I just not seeing it.. or Where does the bay leaves come in?

  11. For anyone wanting a second opinion on the recipe:
    I just made this last night, only change was more sausage and less chicken (I wanted to use up the chicken I had on hand). I used kielbasa pork sausage because my grocery store doesn't carry andouille. I hadn't tried kielbasa before and I'm glad this recipe suggested it because it was great. The recipe turned out wonderfully and I'm so glad I tried it. It was easy to make (the hardest thing is all that dicing) and I can't wait to eat the leftovers. I'd recommend it to anyone!


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