Jambalaya has so many components that preparing it may seem like a massive undertaking, but the recipe that comes with Uncle Ben’s converted rice makes it look so easy: just combine all the ingredients together on the stove top and simmer until done. Though I’ve gotten some great ideas from the backs of boxes, cans, and other packaged foods, I’ve learned to view such recipes with a skeptical eye. For instance, I had a couple doubts about the Uncle Ben’s recipe. It calls for a single chicken breast and an entire pound of sausage; I thought that was too much sausage and not enough chicken. I also didn’t think that simmering the onions and celery for 30 minutes would be enough to make them tender. Well, I was wrong about one of these things and right about the other.
The first time I tried making this jambalaya, I used two chicken breasts and cut the amount of sausage in half. As I was eating, I kept wishing there was less chicken and more sausage, so it seems Uncle Ben’s ratio of chicken to sausage was right on. However, the celery and onions turned out crunchy as expected; to prevent this outcome, saute the vegetables before everything is mixed together and simmered. The recipe below includes the changes I’ve made to this back-of-the-box recipe.
If you think it’s sacrilege to make a jambalaya without the Holy Trinity, then use just one stalk of celery and add a bell pepper, diced. Uncle Ben’s suggests Cajun or andouille sausage; I sometimes use kielbasa. If you want a little more heat, substitute cayenne pepper or Cajun seasoning for the paprika.
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 3 stalks celery, sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 pound sausage, sliced
- 1 1/2 cups converted rice
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1 cup beef broth
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1 chicken breast, diced
- In a large skillet, heat the vegetable oil. Add the onions and celery, and saute until the onions are tender and translucent, about 10 minutes.
- Add the garlic, sausage, rice, chicken and beef broths, Worcestershire sauce, bay leaf, ground black pepper, and paprika. Stir to combine and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for 20 minutes.
- Add the diced chicken, re-cover, and continue simmering for another 10 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and the liquid is absorbed. Remove bay leaf before serving.
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