I don’t know what it’s like where you are, but here in Indiana it is just so.dang.cold every day. Most days the only time I actually feel warm is while I’m blow-drying my hair (on the hottest setting, mind you), so I’ve really been in need of some hearty, warming soups and stews to get me through these last winter months. This one-pot meal was a welcome addition to our menu. With chicken, shrimp and andouille sausage, it reminded me of a deliciously chunky risotto. I think the use of chicken thighs added a ton of flavor to this dish, so though I often try to substitute chicken breasts when possible, I think the thighs are important in this recipe.
This recipe makes good use of the food processor to significantly decrease prep time by pulsing the vegetables, rather than chopping them finely by hand. You can certainly do it by hand if you wish, but I really appreciate any little time-saving step. (Plus, Andrew loves to shout “GO!” before I turn on the food processor.) Different varieties of andouille will have different levels of spiciness, so you may need to adjust your spices accordingly. It seems the version sold at our butcher shop is on the mild side, so I seasoned with a Cajun spice blend just before serving and that did the trick. So settle in, make some spicy jambalaya, and let’s wait out the cold together :)
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.