There’s nothing quite like a big bowl of jambalaya. It’s a southern comfort food staple. Rich, comforting, super flavorful, and just the right amount of spice. I’ve taken my favorite jambalaya ingredients and techniques and created my own version of the Creole classic. And it’s pretty awesome. Shrimp, bacon, chicken thighs, and andouille sausage? Need I say more?
Besides the taste, another thing I really love about jambalaya is that it’s all made right in one pot! So easy! And while the ingredients list and directions may seem kind of long and daunting, believe me, it’s not difficult at all. It’s just a matter of adding a ton of different ingredients at different times. Nothing complicated about it, I promise! No roux to make or anything.
Like the majority of good southern cooking, this recipe starts off with the “holy trinity”: onions, bell pepper, and celery. The southern mirepoix. It’s important, y’all.
My favorite jambalaya technique is to add two rounds of the holy trinity, instead of just one at the beginning. The first round gets cooked down and caramelized with the bacon, andouille, and chicken thighs, creating a fantastic base with a natural sweetness and rich depth of flavor. The second round is added just before adding the rice. This allows the veggies to remain pretty much intact and recognizable in the final product. This second round adds another layer of flavor to the dish. Two rounds of the holy trinity = more flavor. More flavor = obviously better.
As for the cooking technique, there is nothing really too complicated about it. My biggest tip for this dish is mise en place. Get all of your ingredients out and measure them all before you start. It makes the whole cooking process much more streamlined and enjoyable, especially for this recipe. Plus, it saves time.
This jambalaya recipe makes about 6-8 servings, but can easily be doubled for a crowd. If you’re just cooking for 2, the leftovers are pretty awesome, so I wouldn’t really recommend halving the recipe. My favorite way to eat the leftovers is to put it in a baking dish and heat it up in the oven like a casserole! Yum!
Now, this recipe is not technically paleo because it includes rice. I’d love to give you a good substitute for the rice, like cauliflower rice, but the rice is really what makes jambalaya jambalaya. It’s almost like trying to make risotto without rice. Okay, not quite as extreme, but you get the point. It just doesn’t make much sense. If you want something similar that’s strictly paleo, I highly recommend my gumbo recipe!
Let’s get cooking!
- 1 Tbsp paprika
- 1 Tbsp onion powder
- 1 Tbsp garlic powder
- 1 Tbsp dried oregano
- ½ Tbsp dried thyme
- ½ Tbsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper*
- ½ tsp smoked paprika
- *This spice blend gives you a medium level of spiciness. If you would like a more mild spice level, cut the cayenne pepper in half (or use even less). If you like it hot, increase the amount of cayenne.
- 1 lb (450g) shrimp, peeled
- 12 oz (340g) chicken thighs, chopped
- 5 Tbsp Salt Free Creole Seasoning, divided
- 2 Tbsp (28g) grass-fed butter, ghee, or avocado oil
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped, divided
- 1 green bell pepper, chopped, divided
- 2 stalks celery, chopped, divided
- 9 oz (250g) bacon, diced
- 10 oz (280g) gluten free andouille sausage, sliced
- 6 green onions, sliced, divided
- 6 large cloves garlic, minced
- ¼ cup tomato paste
- 1½ cups basmati rice, uncooked
- 3 cups low sodium chicken stock
- 3 bay leaves
- 3 roma tomatoes, diced
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves
- parsley for garnish
- Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl
- This makes 5½ Tbsp of seasoning.
- Place shrimp and chicken in separate bowls and sprinkle each with 1 Tbsp Salt-Free Creole Seasoning (2 Tbsp total). Mix with a silicon spatula to evenly coat. Set aside.
- Mix the chopped onion, green pepper, and celery together in a large bowl.
- Melt butter or ghee in a large pot over medium-high heat.
- Once the pot is hot, add half of the onion, green pepper, and celery mixture and stir with a flat-headed spoon. Cook the veggies for about 6 minutes or until they have cooked down some and started to brown. Stir occasionally.
- Add the bacon and let it cook down for about 7 minutes, stirring and scraping the bottom occasionally. The bacon will brown and the fat will start to render out.
- Add the sausage and let it cook down for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally and scraping the bottom.
- Add the chicken thighs. Cook for about 5 minutes. Stir and scrape occasionally.
- Add the rest of the onion, green pepper, and celery mixture, as well as green onions (reserve a bit for garnish), garlic, and tomato paste. Cook and stir constantly for 2 minutes.
- Stir in the rice and coat with the fat. Toast the rice for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
- Gradually pour in the chicken stock while stirring and scraping the bottom. Reduce heat to medium-low.
- Add in 3 Tbsp Salt-Free Creole Seasoning, bay leaves, tomatoes, salt, Worcestershire sauce, and thyme. Stir well, cover, and let simmer for 15 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed and rice is tender. Stir and scrape the bottom occasionally (about every 5 minutes) during the simmering process.
- Stir in the shrimp and cook for about 5 minutes or until shrimp are pink and opaque, stirring occasionally.
- Taste test! Season to taste with salt, cayenne pepper, or more Creole seasoning.
- Garnish with parsley and reserved green onion slices.
Did you like the recipe? I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments section!