This Amazing Recipe for Slow Cooker Jambalaya is one of my most favorite dishes ever. Not only is it super easy but it's SO full of robust flavor! Two kinds of sausage, chicken, and shrimp are all cooked together to create this spicy Creole treat. Now, in true Chicken Fried Kitchen fashion lets take a look at the origins of true Jambalaya.
Where did Jambalaya Originate From?
While there are definite influences of very similar rice dishes from West Africa, Spain, and France, there are two versions of how Jambalaya came to be.
The first being that West African slaves introduced the dish to New Orleans. The similarities between today's Jambalaya and the popular West African dish of Jollof are certainly present. However, it seems as though they may have actually been created around the same time. For a truly in depth article around this, I highly recommend reading '400 Years After the Slave Trade Began, Tracing the Roots of Jambalaya to Jollof' by Kayla Stewart.
The second is that Jambalaya got its start in the original sector of the New Orlean's French Quarter. The Spanish, attempting to make Paella didn't have access to saffron and instead used what was readily available. This lead to using tomatoes in place of saffron.
In 1878, Jambalaya made its first cookbook appearance under the name "Jam Bolaya" in a book titled Gulf City Cookbook in Mobile Alabama.
I must say, I appreciate whomever brought their cuisine to New Orleans, because it's truly one of my favorite meals.
What does the word Jambalaya mean?
According to the Oxford Dictionary, Jambalaya comes from the Provençal word Jamabalaia which means a mishmash and also meaning a pilaf of rice.
While there are a couple other meanings it seems as though that is more than likely the correct one. The others are briefly covered on wikipedia if you'd like to check those out.
What is Jambalaya made of?
There are two kinds of Jambalaya, Cajun and Creole. This recipe for slow cooker Jambalaya would be considered Creole due to its use of tomatoes.
The main ingredients are typically chicken, sausage, and the holy trinity, which consists of green bell pepper, celery, and onion. Jambalaya is made without tomatoes in Southern Louisiana, making it the Cajun version.
Despite the regional differences, it doesn't get a different name.
It's always, Jambalaya.
In addition, it's not uncommon for this Louisiana classic to also include shrimp or crawfish. In this particular recipe I'm using shrimp. I don't think the use of crawfish would serve any purpose as it would get lost in the other ingredients.
Lastly, rice is a major ingredient as well. Any kind of white rice could really work but I tend to lean toward Basmati or Jasmine for pretty much all of my recipes.
What is the difference between Jambalaya and Gumbo?
While using many of the same ingredients in regard to the proteins and rice there is a significant difference between Jambalaya and Gumbo.
The rice, being the first differentiator.
Rice is cooked separately when making gumbo and then served either as a bed or in a bowl on top of the gumbo.
On the other hand, the rice is added to the pot while cooking Jambalaya.
Lastly, the base of any great Gumbo is its roux which isn't present in Jamablaya at all.
Overall, the flavor profiles are very different despite the use of the same ingredients.
There's at least a week out of every year that I go on a Creole/Cajun kick and I'll typically make both of these dishes to eat together.
It becomes like a Louisiana style buffet up in here! I know, I know...AWESOME IDEA!
Can Jambalaya be frozen?
Absolutely! Jambalaya freezes very well.
If for some crazy reason you and your family don't finish the whole batch in a few days, you can easily freeze it.
I simply stuff a bag, smush it down flat, vacuum seal, and freeze it for up to 2 years. Hint: It never makes it that far!
Let's Get to Cookin!
First, start by slicing, dicing, and chopping the holy trinity and adding it to a mixing bowl. As I mentioned above, this is Onion, Celery, and Green Bell Pepper.
I like to dice the onion and bell pepper fairly small, then slice the celery stalks.
Next, pour a can of Rotel, tomato paste, and seasonings into to the bowl of trinity. Stir everything together ensuring all veggies are fully covered.
Now, slice up the smoked sausage and lay the chicken breasts in the bottom of the slow cooker.
Top the chicken breasts with the tomato and trinity mixture, then the sausage.
Place the lid on the slow cooker and set it to 8 hours on low or 4 on high.
Halfway through the cook remove the chicken breasts and shred them using forks or shredding claws, whichever you prefer.
Add the chicken back to the slow cooker and slice open a pound of boudin sausage, setting aside the filling and discarding the casing.
Now, fold the boudin filling into the Jambalaya, cover and continue cooking.
At this point you can begin cooking the rice. I make the rice separately in a rice cooker. When the rice is done, simply mix it in with everything else.
Lastly, with 30 minutes left of your cook, add the shrimp to the slow cooker gently mixing it into the Jambalaya.
Cover and cook for the last half hour.
Your Jambalaya is ready to serve!
Garnish with a bit of sliced green onion, serve with a bottle of hot sauce and ENJOY!
Amazing Recipe for Slow Cooker Jambalaya
- 1 lb Chicken Breast
- 1 lb Smoked Sausage
- 1 lb Boudin Sausage
- 1 lb Large uncooked, peeled and deveined tail-off Shrimp
- 10 Oz Can Hot Rotel with Chiles
- 6 Oz Can Tomato Paste
- 14 Oz Chicken Broth
- 1 Yellow Onion, Diced
- 1 Green Bell Pepper, Diced
- 3 Celery Sticks, Sliced
- 5 teaspoon Minced Garlic
- 2 teaspoon Dried Parsley
- 1 teaspoon Dried Basil
- 1 teaspoon Dried Oregano
- 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
- 1 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
- 1 tablespoon Hot Sauce
- 1 Cup Cooked White Rice
- In a mixing bowl, combine the tomatoes, tomato paste, chicken broth and seasonings along with the diced vegetables.
- Place the chicken breasts in the bottom of the slow cooker and pour the tomato mixture over the top.
- Slice the smoked sausage and place this over the tomato mixture and the chicken.
- Cover the slow cooker and set to 8 hours on low or 4 on high.
- Halfway through the cook remove the chicken breasts and shred them using forks or shredding claws. Mix the shredded chicken back into the slow cooker.
- Immediately after adding the shredded chicken, Slice open 1 lb of Boudin Sausage (discard casing) and add the filling to the slow cooker stirring until well combined.
- Cook one cup of rice in a rice cooker and fold into the Jambalaya mixture.
- With 30-minutes of cook time remaining, Add thawed, peeled and deveined tail-off shrimp to the Jambalaya, gently stirring the shrimp into the mixture.
- Allow the rest of the cooking time, serve garnished with sliced green onions and a bottle of your favorite cajun hot sauce.
suzanne casa says
Great creole flavor. Easy to make. Makes enough for a crowd.
suzanne casa says
Great creole flavor. Easy to make. Makes enough for a crowd. I recommend.
Hi Suzanne! Thank you so much. I'm glad you enjoyed it!