Are you bored of eating the same damn thing? Grilled chicken breast? Pasta? Salad? Sometimes I feel like I’m eating the same three meals over and over. I’ve always cooked a lot but since covid I’ve been cooking A LOT and frankly, I’m getting tired!
In pre-covid times when I was living in Los Angeles I could just zip out to the grocery store or farmers’ market and get inspiration for my next meal. Now, everything has to be a bit more calculated. I don’t have the time or energy to make elaborate dinners every night but my mouth would disagree. I’M A HUNGRY WOMAN. I’m not one of those people who “forgets to eat”. I go to bed thinking about breakfast and wake up thinking about dinner.
A few weeks ago I went to Bloor Meat Market in toronto and picked up some delicious smoked turkey sausages. They were pre-cooked so you could slice them and serve them as-is on a charcuterie board or pan fry them if you wanted. They reminded me of an elevated version of kielbasa. My polish father loves the old k-boss so I picked him up 4 smoked turkey sausages for his birthday. And they say dads are hard to buy for!
A week later I find myself starring in the freezer, waiting for inspiration to strike. The sausages were on top of a bag of frozen, uncooked shrimp. EUREKA! Jambalaya it is!
I don’t think I’ve had jambalaya since I was in New Orleans, almost 3 years ago. What I created wasn’t quite as good or authentic as what they were slingin’ in the big easy, but it was flavourful and succulent and I didn’t have to get on a plane to get it!
Enough yapping, let’s make this damn thing.
-2 smoked sausages
-1 bag of frozen shrimp or 16-20 raw shrimp (medium sized)
-1 cup long grain white rice
-1.5 cups crushed tomatoes (I used pissata)
-1 onion, diced
-2 peppers (whatever colour) diced
-3 celery stalks, diced
-3-4 cups chicken stock
-3 caves garlic, finely chopped
-fresh lemon juice
1 tsp each:
- In a large heavy bottom pot or dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium. Add sliced sausage and brown. About 3-4 min.
- remove sausage and set aside. Add another splash of oil and dump in the onion, celery, peppers and garlic. Sauté for 5-7 minutes.
- Add tomatoes, 3 cups broth, rice and spices. Stir and bring to low boil.
- Put the lid on and turn down the heat to low. For about 30 minutes. Stir every 7ish minutes to make sure the rice doesn’t stick to the bottom and burn, adding more chicken broth if needed.
- Taste the rice and make sure it’s not longer hard. Adjust seasoning if need be. Add the sausage and let warm through.
- You can add the raw shrimp in when you add the sausage back in OR you can pan fry the shrimp separately. I like to do this because then I can make sure the shrimp don’t overcook and I can place them on top to make the dish look pretty. They should only take about 2 min per side. I dusted a bit of old bay seasoning on mine.
- Serve the jambalaya topped with shrimp, parsley and a squeeze of fresh lemon. Make sure to put hot sauce on the table if anyone wants to amp up the spice!
Isn’t it lovely? Other than a bunch of chopping, this is a pretty simple one pot dish. I love using smoked turkey sausage because it feels lighter, but you could use a smoked sausage of your choice. You could add chicken to this as well or even veggie sausage if you wanted to make it vegan or vegetarian. Just use veggie broth inside of chicken! Okra is also a pretty classic ingredient jambalaya and you can find it frozen all year round. To be honest, I kind of just dumped the spices in but I think it worked out to about 1 tsp each. Be free with your cooking! Spices = flavour and flavour is your friend. If you have a pre-made cajun spice on hand, dump some of that in instead! The squeeze of lemon at the end adds brightness to the dish and the parsley adds a pop of colour and freshness.
I served these with corn bread muffins that I made using a cornbread mix. Bob Redmill makes a great one where you just add water and an egg! Super easy if you don’t feel like making them from scratch.
I had leftovers the next day so decided to toss a sunny side egg on top and call it brunch. DELICIOUS. If you want a hearty, easy meal packed with flavour, lean protein and veggies, make this tonight!
Now go eat this and shut up!