We love Jambalaya. Looooove. We used to use the Zataran's mix, then they changed it and all I could taste was salt. Even their low sodium (which is a joke) tasted like a rice covered salt lick. I looked everywhere for an easy and quick Jambalaya recipe that I didn't have to drive to Louisiana for the ingredients to. Paula Deen saved me.
I love that Southern Belle. I haven't had a recipe of hers yet that wasn't the bees knees. They aren't exactly figure friendly but, dang if they ain't good. Besides, going to college in Tennessee gave me a love of Southern food that I still can't shake after over 15 years.
This recipe is a two part-er. First, there is the mix of dry ingredients that you can keep in an air tight container for just about ever. I believe one year for Christmas I actually packaged it up to give as gifts. Second, is the wet and meaty.
1 cup long grain rice
3 T dried minced onion
1 T dried parsley flakes
4 T beef bouillon cubes ( I omit this altogether and add a can of chicken stock and reduce the water to 1/2 cup)
1/2 t dried thyme
1/2 t garlic powder
1/2 t ground black pepper ( I omit this too )
1/4 t cayenne pepper ( I only use 1/8th because I have to feed it to my toddler son too)
1/4 t salt ( yup, I leave this out as well )
Combine it all together and store in an air tight container.
2 1/2 cups water (unless you aren't using the bouillon cube in the mix, then it's just 1/2 cup and a can of chicken broth)
1 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes & chilies
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
1 lb meat of your choice ( I generally use more though. My usual is 1 lb sausage and a 1/2 lb shrimp. I've used it with chicken, kiel basa and ground beef too)
In a Dutch oven or large pot cook any kind of meat you might be using, except seafood. Add everything else and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cover and reduce heat to simmer and do not touch for 20 minutes. Add the shrimp at the end and cook until just pink. Let this sit for a few minutes until most, if not all the liquid is absorbed.
I serve this with, of course, cornbread!
Now, if you are looking to make dinner even easier... got a rice cooker? Throw the mix and liquids in the bottom and the cooked meats in the steamer basket. I tried this the other night and this is what I got: picture above.
It was awesome!
Want a faster version: use minute rice. Brown the meats, add the liquid and bring to a boil. Add the mix, cover and let sit for 5 minutes. That is all there is to it!
Want a vegetarian version: omit the bouillon and use the 2 1/2 cups water. Instead of meat, add black beans, pinto beans and corn.
Now how is that for versatile!