Jambalaya is one of those great dishes that involves throwing a lot of things into a pot and letting the magic happen on its own while you eagerly wait. With this recipe you won’t have to wait long before ladling the brothy, slightly spicy blend of seafood and sauce into bowls.
Creole jambalaya originates from the French Quarter of New Orleans, in the original European sector. It was an attempt by the Spanish to make paella in the New World, where saffron was not readily available due to import costs. Tomatoes became the substitute for saffron. As time went on, French influence became strong in New Orleans, and spices from the Caribbean changed this New World paella into a unique dish. In modern Louisiana, the dish has evolved along a variety of different lines. Creole jambalaya, or red jambalaya as it is called by Cajuns, is found primarily in and around New Orleans, where it is simply known as ‘jambalaya’. Creole jambalaya includes tomatoes, whereas Cajun jambalaya does not.
Random fact: In 1968, Louisiana Governor John J. McKeithen proclaimed Gonzales, Louisiana, the Jambalaya Capital of the World. Every Spring, the annual Jambalaya Festival is held in Gonzales.
1/2 pound ground spicy Italian sausage
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 Anaheim pepper, finely chopped or cut into strips
2 garlic cloves finely chopped
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp dried marjoram
1/2 tsp dried tarragon leaves
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 pound shrimp, shells and tails off
2 scallions, finely chopped
Cook sausage in a large, deep pot. As it browns, add a little more oil to the pan and then sauté yellow onion and peppers until onion becomes soft. Add garlic and spices, then tomatoes and chicken broth. Bring to a simmer with the lid on for 10 minutes. Add the shrimp and simmer until cooked through, about five minutes. Garnish with scallions.