big, easy jambalaya

4 to 6    |   
Prep Time:
15 minutes    |   
Cook Time:
45 minutes

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big, easy jambalaya

Jambalaya gets its name from the tasso ham traditionally used in it (the French word for ham is jambon), but I like mine with spicy andouille sausage instead. You can pretty much throw in anything you want, as long as you include the “holy trinity” of celery, onion, and bell pepper as the flavor base. Use another smoked sausage if you can’t find andouille, or if you’re not a pork person, use spicy turkey or chicken sausage instead. Or substitute smoked paprika for the regular paprika and leave the sausage out. Include the seafood or don’t. Traditional jambalaya is made with long-grain rice, but I like mine with short-grain bomba or arborio rice, too. Use whatever you have on hand. It’s meant to be a jumble of things, not one specific recipe. Jumble-aya.


3 tablespoons olive oil or vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
1 green or red or yellow or orange bell pepper, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
kosher salt
8 ounces andouille, Spanish chorizo, linguiça, kielbasa or other smoked sausage
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup white rice
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1-1/2 teaspoons regular or smoked paprika
1 large red tomato, seeded and chopped, or 1 cup drained chopped canned tomatoes, or 1/4 cup tomato paste
1 bay leaf, if you have it
1-3/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth or water
1/2 pound cooked bay shrimp or other small shrimp (optional)
Tabasco sauce


Heat the oil in a wide, deep pan and add the onion, pepper, celery, and a generous pinch of salt. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 5 minutes.

While the vegetables cook, slice the sausage into thin rounds (about 1/4-inch thick). Add sausage to  pan and let cook until everything starts to sizzle and the sausage browns slightly, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in garlic until softened then add rice, thyme, paprika, tomatoes or tomato paste, bay leaf, and broth or water. Let come to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover, and cook until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender, about 20 minutes. If using shrimp, 5 minutes before rice is done, stir them in.

When jambalaya is cooked, turn off heat and let sit, covered, for about 10 minutes to settle flavors. Remove bay leaf and serve in bowls, offering Tabasco at the table for those who want it spicier.