What comfort food do you crave?
What food cheers your soul after a long day, reminds you of childhood, or transports you back to a beloved place?
Jambalaya always hits the spot for me.
I harken it back to the Cajun restaurant that opened right when I got my first post-university job and my own apartment. I'd never experienced Cajun flavors or textures, but from my very first visit, the restaurant seemed to typify the exuberance I felt in my new-found independence in bona fide adulthood.
On my lunch break from work, I'd cross the street to order gumbo and jambalaya, and on free beignet days, I'd stop for a sweet treat on my way to the office. On summer days after work, my co-workers and I would gather on their lawn for the crawdad feast and gorge ourselves silly on crayfish.
What once had been a foreign cuisine altogether became soul food.
So, every once in a while, the comfort food I crave is jambalaya.
Note: I usually make jambalaya rather than gumbo merely because it's super easy to approximate the proper flavors of jambalaya without any flour-based roux or even a flour substitute (it doesn't need one!). Gumbo, on the other hand, relies more heavily on a thickener of some sort. Despite my deep, deep love of gumbo, jambalaya thus more easily fits into a traditional or real food diet.
As you prepare this recipe for your family and friends, I hope it will provide you with the same joy that it has provided me for many years!
Easy Jambalaya In The Crock Pot
- 2 pounds pastured chicken, cut up
- 1 coil andouille sausage, cooked, or any smoked sausage (about 1 pound)
- 3 to 4 cups canned or stewed tomatoes
- 3 cups chicken stock
- 1 large green pepper, diced
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 celery stalks, diced
- 4 cloves of garlic, coarsely chopped
- 3 tablespoons Cajun seasoning (see how to make Cajun seasoning here)
- 1 tablespoon dried parsley
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- a few dashes hot sauce (optional)
- 2 cups uncooked rice, any variety (red, brown, basmati, etc.)*
- 1 cup chopped okra
- 1 to 2 pounds raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
Serves 6 to 8.
Add all ingredients except rice, okra, and shrimp to slow cooker or Crock Pot. Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours or on high for 4 to 5 hours. If cooking on high, add the rice 2 hours before serving and the okra and shrimp 45 minutes before serving. If cooking on low, add the rice 3 hours before serving and the okra and shrimp 1 hour before serving.
If it's not possible to add the rice (say, you'll be away for the day), you may use precooked rice and just stir it together when you serve. (In that case, reduce the chicken stock by half and use only 1-1/2 cups.)
*For Paleo or grain-free version, use cauliflower rice instead. Simply place cauliflower florets from 1 medium cauliflower in a food processor and pulse until the consistency of rice. Stir this cauliflower rice in at the same time as okra and shrimp. And make sure to use only 1-1/2 cups of chicken stock at the beginning since cauliflower doesn't soak up liquid in the same way that rice does.
Enjoy! Have you ever made jambalaya in the Crock Pot?
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