Some of you may be wondering what the heck I’m doing posting a clear-cut cold-weather meal almost halfway through April. Well, if you had some of the nasty weather that the Northeast endured during the final weeks of March and into the beginning of April, you know how much a warm meal on a raw and rainy night was appreciated. This jambalaya was the perfect meal for that night. And maybe what was best about it (aside from it’s deliciousness of course) was that it was an easy meal to put together on a weeknight.
Let’s just say that regardless of the level of familiarity you may have with jambalaya, you’re going to love this dish. I had been looking for a great jambalaya recipe for close to 3 years and since I had never made it before and had only eaten it a couple of times as a kid, I wanted to make sure I chose the perfect one. This was it, thanks to Annie and her love of Cook’s Illustrated. Kyle and I both adored this meal and I’m already looking forward to next fall when the weather will be calling for it again!
Chicken and Shrimp Jambalaya
1 medium onion, trimmed and quartered
1 rib celery, cut into quarters
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and quartered
5 cloves garlic, peeled
2 tsp. vegetable oil
4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
8 oz. andouille sausage, halved lengthwise and cut into ¼-inch chunks (or crumbled, if in delicate casings)
1½ cups long-grain white rice
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. fresh thyme leaves
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes, drained (¼ cup of juice reserved)
1 cup bottled clam juice
1½ cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 bay leaves
1 lb. shrimp (31-40 per lb.), peeled and deveined
2 tbsp. minced fresh parsley
Combine the onion, celery, bell pepper and garlic in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until chopped fine, about six 1-second pulses, scraping down the sides of the bowl once or twice. Be careful not to over-process.
Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the chicken to the pot, skin-side down, and cook until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Using tongs, turn the chicken and cook until golden brown on the opposite side, about 3 minutes longer. Transfer the chicken to a plate and set aside. Lower the heat to medium and add the andouille. Cook, stirring often, until browned, about 3 minutes. Transfer the sausage to a paper towel-lined plate using a slotted spoon, and set aside.
Lower the heat to medium-low and add the chopped vegetables to the pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables have softened, about 4 minutes. Add the rice, salt, thyme and cayenne; cook, stirring constantly, until the rice is coated with the fat, about 1 minute. Add the diced tomatoes, reserved tomato juice, clam juice, chicken broth, bay leaves and cooked sausage to the pot. Stir to combine. Remove the skin from the chicken pieces and place the chicken on the rice so that the side the skin was just removed from is now facing down. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and let simmer for 15 minutes. Stir once, keeping the chicken in the same general position, and continue to simmer until the chicken is no longer pink inside, about 10 minutes more. Transfer the chicken to a clean plate or cutting board and set aside. Scatter the shrimp over the rice, cover, and continue to cook until the rice is fully tender and the shrimp are opaque and cooked through, about 5 minutes more.
While the shrimp are cooking, shred the chicken into thin strands. Once the shrimp are finished cooking, discard the bay leaves, stir in the chicken and parsley, and serve immediately.