Think of jambalaya as a distant relative of paella, it usually features a protein and vegetables (sometimes tomatoes, sometimes not), with rice and cooked in one pot. In contrast, gumbo is thinner, more like a soup, and served over rice.  We prefer jambalaya or étouffée’s as a main course, usually featuring crawfish or shrimp, together with game birds.

This dish was inspired by a recipe from Emeril Lagasse which usually features chicken, andouille sausage, shrimp and rice, but we like to kick it up a notch by using wild game.  Jambalya is a style of cooking, not a recipe, so feel free to substitute whatever ingredients you have on hand from quail or pheasant to chicken and shrimp to crawdads or lobster, or any combination of the above, it doesn’t matter, think of it as Louisiana rice goulash.  If you don’t hunt, you can usually source quail at specialty grocers, by special order at your grocer’s meat counter, or at Asian markets.  But, commercially reared quail are usually coturnix, which are smaller and less flavorful than wild bobwhite or scaled quail, as they are usually fed a corn and millet based diet, rather than all the goodness that mother nature has to offer wild quail.

INGREDIENTSquail

  • 1/4 c. olive oil
  • 1 lb. medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • Creole seasoning, recipe follows
  • 1 chicken, cut into 8 pieces or we like to use a couple of quail or a pheasant
  • 1 1/2 lb. andouille sausage, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2 c. chopped onion
  • 1 c. chopped celery
  • 1 c. chopped bell pepper
  • 2 T. minced garlic
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1/4 t. cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/2 T. chopped thyme leaves
  • 1 c. chopped tomatoes
  • 6 c. water
  • 2 c. rice
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 c. chopped green onions
  • 1/2 c. chopped parsley

DIRECTIONS

In a large Dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium high heat. Season shrimp with Creole seasoning and sauté until almost cooked through, about 4 minutes.

Using a slotted spoon, remove shrimp and set aside until later. Season chicken pieces with Creole seasoning. Add remaining olive oil to Dutch oven and when hot, add chicken pieces and sauté until browned on both sides, about 8 minutes. Remove and set aside.

Add sausage and cook until browned. Add onion, celery, bell pepper, garlic, bay leaves, cayenne and thyme and cook until vegetables are wilted, about 6 minutes. Add tomatoes and water and return chicken pieces to pot. Season with salt and pepper and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes. Add rice to pot, stir well and return to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover pot, and cook for 15 minutes. Add shrimp, green onions and parsley to Dutch oven, mixing carefully, and continue to cook, covered, for another 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit 10 minutes before serving.