Jambalaya advice

Need answer soon.


I’m thinking I’ll make jambalaya for the first time tonight. I found Emeril Lagasse’s recipe, above, and have a couple of questions.

First: Chop the shrimp? Wouldn’t it be better to leave them whole? If so, should I double the shrimp?

Second: Only 1/4 pound of chicken? That doesn’t seem like a lot. OTOH, there’s shrimp and sausages. (I plan to use 1/2 lb. of Cajun andouille instead of 5 oz. of unspecified andouille.)

Third: The recipe calls for 3/4 cup of rice and three cups of chicken stock. Does that sound right? When I make rice I use 2:1 water-to-rice. So by the recipe that’s 1-1/2 cups of extra liquid for the sauce. Sounds reasonable, but I thought I’d ask.

Fourth: Should not the chicken (and possibly the sausages) be cooked first? By the recipe, the flavours should infuse the dish well if they are put in raw and allowed to cook in the sauce. OTOH, browning them first greats some sucs that would give the trinity a little kick. Obviously the shrimp goes in at the end.

I hope this doesn’t turn into a Holy War over the One And Only Proper Way to make jambalaya. I just want to clear a couple of things up before my first attempt.

Here’s a genuine http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showpost.php?p=13348197&postcount=17"]traditional recipe, but you can look at the whole thread to get some ideas. Emeril’s making a style of the dish popularized in restaurants because it looks better. I don’t like the saucy quality or the use of tomatoes myself, but it is jambalaya, there shouldn’t be any hard and fast rules.

I don’t know why he’s chopping the shrimp. I brown meats first for better flavor and texture. 3/4 cups of rice with 3 cups of stock doesn’t sound right to me. I stick with the traditional 2:1 ratio of liquid to rice. And I strongly advise the use of Old Bay seasoning.

I think Emeril is full of shit, personally, but that’s just my opinion. That’s a lot of water, unless you want a soupy or mushy dish. I wouldn’t cut up the shrimp unless they’re large, and I would brown the chicken, particularly since you’re adding at the end. If the andouille is cured, then no browning; if fresh, then I probably would.

The quantities don’t seem that far off for what will probably be 2 cups of cooked rice.

Fixed the link for you.

I’ve made that exact recipe before, and it came out pretty tasty–but I don’t think I measured the amount of meat, just threw in what looked tasty. I’m pretty sure I didn’t pre-cook the meat.

TriPolar: That sounds good. Two things though: I don’t like dealing with chicken bones, so I’ll probably just get thighs. And tomatoes: I do like the Creole aspect, so I think I’ll use them.

Maybe I’ll use a whole cup of rice and cut down the stock a bit. I do want some sauce, rather than the fluffy rice I usually make. But I’ll use canned chopped tomatoes (because I’m lazy), and that has liquid in it. I’ll keep the shrimp whole.

Chefguy: I have fresh Cajun andouille from Uli’s, so I’ll cook it with the chicken. That might be a little hot for roomie, what with the hot sauce (I’ll use Crystal) and the cayenne pepper; but then again it might not be.

NB: ‘greats’ in the OP should have been ‘creates’.


Thanks. Just noticed that.

You may need some extra water/broth because of the extra cooking time for the added meats. There will be some evaporation and also some absorbtion by the chicken and veggies.

This website has never failed me for Cajun and Creole recipes.

I would brown all my meats (not counting shrimp here) for flavor, including andouille, whether it is cured or not (I always used the smoked & cured kind myself.) Not sure why Emeril is chopping up his shrimp. I’d leave them whole, too. That recipe also looks like it’d be a little soupier than how I like my jambalaya, but not completely unreasonable.

As with most cooking in general, and especially with stews, one should never feel shackled to a recipe. You can adjust most things while you’re cooking. In this particular recipe, for instance, if it’s coming out too wet, you can just add more rice, and if it’s coming out too dry, add more liquids.

Good idea. I can do the 2:1 first, and then add more stock if it’s looking too dry.

I picked up 18 good-sized wild-caught shrimp/prawns.

Definitely go with the tomatoes. Creole beats Cajun any day of the week, and twice on Sundays.

Respecting OP’s wishes and not responding to heresy.

Lookin’ fo’ a whuppin’, him.


or however you say that in French.

‘"JIHAD! In French!

Right. So here’s what I did: I mixed up some of Lagasse’s Creole seasoning. (I made a double batch according to the recipe in the link in the OP. I ground the pepper, instead of using pre-ground.) I diced a couple of of chicken thighs, sprinkled them with a shy tablespoon of Creole seasoning, and tossed them to coat. While roomie was cleaning the shrimp, I chopped up a large green bell pepper, about six stalks of celery (equal amount to the pepper), a yellow onion (about twice the amount of either of the other two), sliced two andouille sausages, and minced six cloves of garlic. The cleaned shrimp were sprinkled with a shy tablespoon of the Creole seasoning, tossed, and set aside.

Into my large cooking pot went about two tablespoons of olive oil, which was heated to shimmering. The chicken and the sausages went in to brown. When it was done I removed the meat from the pot and added the bell pepper, celery, and onion. Since there were a lot of veg, I let it cook for seven minutes, then added the garlic for another two minutes. Next into the pot were a can of diced tomatoes (Sorry, Purists!), three bay leaves, a cup of rice (all I have is basmati), three cups chicken stock, and the chicken and sausages. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer, cover, and cook for 15 minutes before adding the shrimp. Cover after adding the shrimp, and I guess it cooked another 15 minutes before we were ready to eat.

It came out really tasty. Roomie wished we had some hush puppies, and she commented the sausage was a bit spicy. But she ate 'til she was full. Fat Tire Ale to drink.

We have two quarts of jambalaya left.

HUSH PUPPIES! That’s what I should have with my next Jambalaya night!

Well, I’m too late for this thread,but here’s my recipe link.

Here’s a hush puppy thread from 2009. Maybe I’ll make some hush puppies today. I’ll get the buttermilk out of the freezer. (Roomie said once she likes to drink the stuff. ick So that will be a way to dispose of the rest.)

One more thing about the jambalaya: I should have cut the shrimp in half. They were huge.