If you’re craving jambalaya but don’t want to spend hours in the kitchen, this recipe is for you. It’s also for those with little ones with uber-sensitive taste buds. Although I love my spicy food, it’s just not practical for me to cook that way most of the time with two kiddos at home. Sometimes I’ll spice up my serving with red pepper flakes to get a little kick. This Quick From Scratch Jambalaya is full of flavor, fast to throw together and good for you too.
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I’ve altered this recipe to include easy to acquire, common ingredients. Andouille sausage is the authentic choice for jambalaya, but not always available in every grocery store. Trust me though, you can still create a mouth-watering, satisfying dish the whole family will love with this quick and easy recipe. Let’s get started.
The big stars of any jambalaya are the proteins. As I mentioned above, I’m substituting 14 ounces Polska kielbasa for the andouille. Slice the kielbasa in half length-wise and then in quarter inch slices. Polska kielbasa is readily available in almost any area. If you’d like to make a special trip for the andouille, please do so. Make sure to taste the sausage before serving it to little ones however, sometimes andouille can be on the spicier side. For this recipe, I purchased peeled, deveined and tail removed cooked shrimp to speed up the process. You will need about 12 ounces large shrimp. Two bone-in chicken thighs added more than enough chicken to the recipe and, by using dark meat you eliminate the chances of serving dry chicken in your jambalaya.
On to the supporting cast. You will need: one onion, one rib celery, one sweet bell pepper (I used orange, color doesn’t matter), six cloves garlic, two teaspoons olive oil, one and a half cups long-grain white rice, one teaspoon salt, an eighth teaspoon dried thyme, one 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes, one cup bottled clam juice, one and a half cups chicken broth, two bay leaves, and two teaspoons dried parsley.
To save time, I trimmed and peeled the onion, celery, pepper and garlic cloves respectfully, and threw them all into my food processor. Besides saving time, I have found that kids will eat more veggies when they are too small for them to know they’re eating them! Don’t get me wrong, thankfully our girls love veggies, but not ALL veggies. By pureeing them I eliminate the nagging at dinner time to eat your peppers, onions, yada yada.
Last summer, we had all our tomatoes come ripe at once! We couldn’t eat them all before they went bad so I chopped them up, measured them into 14.5 ounce portions and froze them in zip-top bags. It’s been wonderful to not have to buy diced tomatoes all winter and when I open the bag of tomatoes, it smells like summer! So, that explains why my tomatoes may look a little different in the photo above. For this recipe, drain your tomatoes and reserve a quarter cup of the liquid.
I’ve mentioned my love for the Better Than Bouillon products before, and I’ll touch briefly on them once more. I love that I can measure out exactly how much broth I need for a recipe with this product! No more wasted half cartons or cans of broth! For one and a half cups broth, I combined one and a half teaspoons Better Than Bouillon Chicken with one and a half cups water. I also use the beef and vegetable broth bases in other recipes.
Ok, now that I have WAY over-explained the ingredients, let’s make this thing! You will need a large dutch oven or pot with a lid. I used my 9.5 quart Le Creuset dutch oven. I love this thing and am so glad I invested in it years ago. If you’re looking for a dutch oven, Le Creuset is the way to go. Heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the chicken thighs, skin down, and brown for about five minutes. Flip them over and repeat on the other side for three minutes. Remove the chicken to a plate and add the sliced kielbasa to the dutch oven. Brown, stirring occasionally, for about three minutes. Remove the kielbasa to a paper towel lined plate and set aside. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the veggies. Cook and stir for one minute. Add the rice, salt, and thyme, stir to combine. Add the tomatoes with the reserved liquid, clam juice, chicken broth, bay leaves, and kielbasa to the pot and stir. Take the skin off the chicken and and place the chicken skin side down on top of the rice. Bring everything to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Stir again, making sure chicken stays on top and skin side down, and simmer another 10 minutes. Remove the chicken and temp test to 165°F. Use two forks to removed the meat from the bone and shred. Add the chicken back to the pot along with the shrimp and dried parsley. Stir to combine, remove the bay leaves and enjoy!
Here’s some more quick, weeknight dinner inspirations:
Below you will find some of the equipment I found useful while preparing this Quick From Scratch Jambalaya. I only recommend items that I actually own and use.
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