Sausage, Bacon, and Shrimp Jambalaya

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Sausage, Bacon, and Shrimp Jambalaya

Improper jambalaya has been a quick-dinner and last-minute-lunch staple in our little apartment for the past few months. Nothing more than a pot of rice boiled with shrimp, bell peppers, and Cajun seasoning, it’s the perfect thirty-minute meal for the times when no one feels like cooking. Sometimes, though, it’s nice to have the real thing. My family has deep roots in the deeper South–my mother having been born and raised in Alabama and my father in Tennessee–and the rich flavors of Cajun cuisine from southwest Louisiana are something of a comfort. While most of the food I typically prepare takes inspiration from the Asian continent, perhaps in an attempt to establish my own culinary identity away from typical down-home cooking, there’s something magical about exploring your roots through the lens of a hobby you truly love.

Although classic jambalaya is not a dish we consistently ate as a family, the spirit of the meal brings up memories of eating breakfast for dinner and dancing around the basement adorned in purple, gold, and green as we watched the Mardi Gras parade on television. Of running through the front yard of my grandparents’ home in Huntsville, Alabama with my cousins, trying to catch fireflies and butterflies with plastic children’s nets from Harbor Freight, and those afternoons which inevitably devolved into us hurling shelled pecans from their tree at one another. Of long car rides through the Smoky Mountains spent playing Pokemon with my brother on our Nintendo Gameboys or trying to keep up a Yu-Gi-Oh game in spite of the bumpy roads, completely unaware that these moments would be some of my most enduring memories.

Sausage, Bacon, and Shrimp Jambalaya

Quick and dirty jambalaya aside, I decided to take the free time afforded by my few days between finals and the holidays to cook a few things that I’d been meaning to for quite some time. One of those, of course, being something much closer to a traditional jambalaya. Contrary to popular belief, tomatoes are not typically included in the Cajun version of the dish–aptly named “brown jambalaya” for the excessive fond that builds up as a result of deeply browning smoked meats in the bottom of the pot or pan–and the spices are richer and more multi-dimensional than strictly “hot”. In this particular recipe, I substituted bacon for the more traditional chicken because I love the depth of flavor it brings to the dish… and because I forgot to thaw a bag of thighs.

This recipe makes six servings.

Ingredients:

  • 15-20 shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2-4 Andouille sausage links
  • 4-6 slices bacon, thick-cut
  • 3-4 stalks celery
  • 2 bell peppers
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 yellow squash
  • 1/2 yellow onion
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked rice
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tbsp jalapenos, diced
  • 1 tbsp garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp light oil
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp parsley
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp white pepper
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 tsp rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp mustard powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

Directions:

  1. Finely chop celery stalks, bell peppers, zucchini, yellow squash, onion, and jalapenos. Combine with minced garlic and set aside.
  2. In a large high-walled skillet or pot, add light oil and heat on medium high. When oil has begun to sizzle, add sausage links and bacon, frying until crisp and golden brown, about 5-7 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.
  3. Add shrimp one at a time to the still-hot pan, dabbing off extra oil with a paper towel as necessary (Note: do not try to scrape off those delicious browned bits from the bottom of the pan!). Fry for 2-3 minutes each, flipping halfway through. When fully cooked, remove and set aside.
  4. Add vegetable mixture and all spices (paprika, parsley, basil, oregano, chili powder, cumin, black pepper, thyme, rosemary, onion powder, red pepper flakes, garlic powder, mustard powder, salt, and cayenne) to the still hot pan, scraping the bottom of the pan to release some of the fond as liquid is released from the vegetables. (Note: You are essentially deglazing the pan with the moisture from the vegetables, capturing all of that flavor.)
  5. Stir-fry for 5-7 minutes or until most of the fond has been released from the bottom of the pan, then add chicken brown and Worcestershire sauce. Bring to a simmer and then reduce heat to medium-low. Return bacon and sausage to the pan, and add uncooked rice, mixing to combine. (Note: Make sure that the uncooked rice is completely submerged in liquid by about 1/2 inch.)
  6. Cover pan and let simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure that there is no burning on the bottom.
  7. When finished cooking, fluff rice and add lemon juice and shrimp, mixing to combine. Serve topped with red pepper flakes, cilantro, additional lemon juice, or chopped green onions.

This recipe reheats beautifully in the microwave, shrimp and all. We’ve actually been eating the leftovers for the past few days! Kept in an air-tight container in the fridge, it should last for up to a week–but you’ll likely each it all long before then!

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Sausage, Bacon, and Shrimp Jambalaya

Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time55 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 361kcal

Ingredients

  • 15-20 shrimp peeled and deveined
  • 2-4 Andouille sausage links
  • 4-6 slices bacon thick-cut
  • 3-4 celery stalks
  • 2 bell peppers
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 yellow squash
  • 1/2 yellow onion
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked rice
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tbsp jalapenos diced
  • 1 tbsp garlic minced
  • 1 tbsp light oil
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp parsley
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp white pepper
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 tsp rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp mustard powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

Instructions

  • Finely chop celery stalks, bell peppers, zucchini, yellow squash, onion, and jalapenos. Combine with minced garlic and set aside.
  • In a large high-walled skillet or pot, add light oil and heat on medium high. When oil has begun to sizzle, add sausage links and bacon, frying until crisp and golden brown, about 5-7 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.
  • Add shrimp one at a time to the still-hot pan, dabbing off extra oil with a paper towel as necessary*. Fry for 2-3 minutes each, flipping halfway through. When fully cooked, remove and set aside.
  • Add vegetable mixture and all spices (paprika, parsley, basil, oregano, chili powder, cumin, black pepper, thyme, rosemary, onion powder, red pepper flakes, garlic powder, mustard powder, salt, and cayenne) to the still hot pan, scraping the bottom of the pan to release some of the fond as liquid is released from the vegetables**.
  • Stir-fry for 5-7 minutes or until most of the fond has been released from the bottom of the pan, then add chicken brown and Worcestershire sauce. Bring to a simmer and then reduce heat to medium-low. Return bacon and sausage to the pan, and add uncooked rice, mixing to combine***.
  • Cover pan and let simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure that there is no burning on the bottom.
  • When finished cooking, fluff rice and add lemon juice and shrimp, mixing to combine. Serve topped with red pepper flakes, cilantro, additional lemon juice, or chopped green onions.

Notes

  • *Do not try to scrape off those delicious browned bits from the bottom of the pan!
  • **You are essentially deglazing the pan with the moisture from the vegetables, capturing all of that flavor.
  • ***Make sure that the uncooked rice is completely submerged in liquid by about 1/2 inch.
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