Quick Creole Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya

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I know I said stay tuned for more sugar, but with Mardi Gras just around the corner, I wanted to share this dish first.  

Long time readers should recall that I spent part of my childhood on the North shore of Lake Ponchartrain in Mandeville, Louisiana.  Good times and good eats were had all year long, but the season of Mardi Gras still stands out in my mind.  One of the dishes that stands out is jambalaya. I have talked about it previously when I shared my version of Cajun Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya, so please take a moment to read about the different versions of jambalaya. Today, I share another version; the QUICK one.  

Typically a quick jambalaya is called a "white jambalaya" because the rice is cooked separately from the meat/s and veggies and then it is all mixed together.  It does save quite a bit of time with still great flavor. This particular recipe was originally called Quick Chicken Jambalaya, but I knew I could do the name and recipe a little make over. So, here goes...

The original recipe parboiled the rice before adding it to the meat and veggies, but I stayed true with a quick jambalaya and cooked the rice separately. Also, this is my preferred method of cooking rice.  The only change to the liquid is that I use chicken broth to bump up that meaty flavor, but you can certainly use water instead.

Now, as far as the meats. This recipe uses boneless, skinless chicken thighs. They are tender with loads of chicken flavor and are more economical than chicken breasts and there are no bones, so that quickens the cooking time.  The other meat is andouille chicken sausage.  I used Gilbert's Craft Sausage.  The sausages are filled with chicken, roasted red and green bell peppers, onion, roasted garlic, celery powder, cayenne and other spices.  So basically, lots of flavor. The original recipe called for 8-ounces of sausage, but this particular brand has four links for a total of 10-ounces, so I used all four links.

On to the veggies...Now this is where things initially looked off to me.  The only fresh veggies are green bell peppers and scallions. What?? Where was the Holy Trinity; bell peppers, onion and celery? Well, there is one more critical mixture that can help answer that question.  After cooking the rice, meats and veggies separately, you bring it all together with a mixture of Worcestershire, tomato paste and ketchup. It seems completely weird, but it makes total sense.  I'll explain.

Worcestershire lends so much flavor including garlic and onion. The tomato paste and ketchup stand in for tomatoes that are traditionally used in a creole jambalaya.  Combine that with all of the flavors in the sausages, and you will find all the flavors of the Holy Trinity.  Throw in a few more herbs and a good dash hot sauce and BOOM! You've got a quick and flavor skillet full of grub that tastes like you spent hours over the stove.

I truly hope I didn't bore you with that lengthy explanation, but I feel that some recipes need to be broken down, especially if one is not familiar with its roots. And now you might understand why I renamed this Quick CREOLE and Chicken Sausage and Jambalaya instead of Quick Chicken Jambalaya.

This makes a great weeknight meal all by its self, but is well received to serve for a gathering. I like to serve this with my Creole Cabbage Salad, New Orleans French Bread, and something sweet to end the meal. Now about that something sweet...

Quick Creole Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya
serves 4

1 1/2 cups long grain white rice
2 1/4 cups chicken broth or water
2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 Tablespoon tomato paste
1 Tablespoon ketchup
2 teaspoons Louisiana seasoning, divided
2 Tablespoons Safflower oil or other neutral oil
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, patted dry with a paper towel, lightly trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
10-ounces andouille chicken sausage
1 large green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and cut into a 1/2-inch dice
4 scallions, white/light green parts and green parts separated and sliced thin
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme or 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Tabasco or a good Louisiana hot sauce to taste (optional)

In a large saucepan, add the chicken broth (or water if using) and rice and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to a low simmer, cover and cook for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, remove from the heat; set aside.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the Worcestershire, tomato paste, ketchup, and 1/2 teaspoon Louisiana seasoning; set aside. In a 12-inch non-stick skillet over medium-high heat, heat the oil until just smoking.  Add the chicken, andouille, bell pepper, white and light green scallions, thyme and remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons Louisiana seasoning and cook stirring occasionally until the chicken is cooked through and beginning to brown, about 8-10 minutes.

Add the cooked rice and Worcestershire mixture to the skillet and cook stirring frequently, until mixture is fully combined, about 5 minutes.  Remove from the heat, cover and allow to rest for 5 more minutes.  Remove the cover, and stir in the scallion greens.  Sprinkle with parsley and serve with hot sauce (if using).  Enjoy!

Source: Adapted from cookscountry.com


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