saucy brown rice jambalaya

Saucy Brown Rice Jambalaya

This recipe makes a saucy thick-stew style of Jambalaya.  Louisiana purists will, of course, disagree with this rendition but it’s still delicious.  If using long grain white rice, the cooking time will be shortened considerably (only about 20 to 25 minutes instead of 45 minutes to an hour) – brown rice takes longer to cook.  Taste as you go for seasonings and doneness of the rice.

Serves 6

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, cored, seeded and chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 3 gloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken thighs, trimmed and cut into bite size pieces
  • ½ lb. smoked sausage, cut into ½ inch thick rounds
  • ½ lb. medium shrimp, peeled and deveined (optional)
  • 1 ¾ cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 can (28 oz.) San Marzano or San Marzano style tomatoes with juice (crushed by hand in a big bowl)
  • 1 can (8 oz.) tomato sauce
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (more to taste, but be careful – some cayenne brands are hotter than other cayenne brands)
  • 3 pinches ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • ¾ cup uncooked brown rice (not instant or quick cook)

Heat the oil in a dutch oven size deep pan – 5 quart size.  Sauté the chicken and sausage for 5 to 8 minutes, until brown bits appear on the sausage and in the pan.  Remove the chicken and sausage to a plate – do not drain the pan.  Add the onion, bell pepper and celery to the pan and sauté until onion is translucent – about 10 minutes. Scrape up the flavorful fond (brown bits) in the bottom of the pan with a wooden spatula or spoon as the vegetables cook.  Make some space in the pan by pushing the vegetables aside a bit and sauté the garlic in the open space for about one minute.  I like to add a small bit of olive oil with the garlic to get some sizzle in that spot.  Do not burn the garlic — it cooks quickly.

Add the stock to the pan and continue to scrape up the fond in the bottom of the pan (this adds great depth of flavor).  After about 30 seconds, add the crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, bay leaves, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, black pepper, thyme, oregano and Worcestershire.  Stir.  Add the rice, stir, and bring to a simmer.  Cover the pan and simmer for 45 minutes to one hour, depending on how well done you like the rice.  Also, taste for salt about 30 minutes into the cooking.  Salt may not be needed in  this dish because the sausage is salty, the stock is salty and the tomatoes have salt in them.

If you’re using shrimp, add them only at the end, stir, and cook for five minutes more.  They cook quickly and there’s nothing worse than rubbery over-cooked shrimp or fish.

Garnish each serving with some chopped scallions and serve with
garlic bread.