Mardi Gras, parades, dixieland blues, zydeco music, and lots of fun, this is what comes to mind when I am cooking New Orleans or Louisiana Cajun creole cooking. Spicy array of vegetables, things like blackened cod, Cajun shrimp, grilled alligator, which I tried at a local restaurant in Edmonton called The Louisiana Purchase, known for their Cajun cuisine. I would have to say that alligator is not on my favorites list. I found it a bit chewy for my liking but none the less it was not terrible, me personally I would give it a 6, would I have it again? I don't know. One of the other dishes I tried was the Jambalaya. I do like the combinations of spices used to create that distinct heat ensamble, and the plethora of ingredients giving you variety in taste, texture, and visual.
Saturday morning, just finished having breakfast out on our usual "cafés d'Edmonton" tour. Our next stop the Strathcona Market, where we came home with an array of beautiful vegetables, colorful peppers, some greens for us, sweetgrass for our cats Wonton and Bailey, eggplant, green onions and some organic onion and herb sausages, and chicken thighs from Sunrise Farms. Now having a slow cooker in our kitchen made me think, why not make a great Jambalaya, using the sausages, shrimp, and chicken. Nicoletta is not a fan of chicken so respecting that I cooked it separate and added it to the dishes later. So here we go with our recipe Slow Cooker Cajun Jambalaya.
A beautiful combination of green onion, zucchini, carrots, peppers, kidney beans, tomatoes both pureed and chopped, some of the great tasting onion and herb sausages, and shrimp. The vegetables all nicely sauteed in some extra virgin olive oil and Creol spice, sausages all caramelized and pre-cooked, kidney beans soaking, and into the slow cooker they go, pouring the tomato puree and veggie broth. The Cajun Creol seasoning I made myself combining onion powder, garlic powder, dried oregano, dried basil, dried thyme, brown sugar, fresh cracked black pepper, white pepper, cayene pepper for the heat, Spanish paprika, and a dash and a bit of Hy's seasoning salt sans msg. The colors are amazing in this jambalaya well suited for the fall season that has come, and the comfort and zing of this jambalaya will soothe those cooler temperatures that are making their way in this fall season.
The chicken marinated in the Cajun spice, some tomatoes, salsa, peppers, onions, garlic, mayo then into the oven cooked till crispy on the skin and juicy in the flesh. Rice in, shrimp one of the last ingredients to go in as it was already cooked and did not want to over cook them, I hate when they are rubbery and chewy, like it when they are still tender and juicy. This smells wonderful. Rice starchy with all that flavor infused into it, the sausages, shrimp, spicy but not that tongue burning spice that leaves you not being able to taste anything due to numb taste buds, the kidney beans cooked just right with a nice density and bite. This Jambalaya is a symphony of flavor, great for those cooler days and if you had a cold, the spices of this dish would knock it out of the ball park.
I am in heaven, cooked for over 7 hours the jambalaya is intense, flavors so well balanced, each taking you to different levels of tasting, and that chicken placed on top, skin crispy, insides juicy oozing with magnificent spice and marinade. What a dish, the great thing is that you prepare it in the morning and when supper time comes it is ready to go easy as that. When you come home that restaurant smell that lingers into your senses love that! leaving you famished and impatient for supper time.
I hope you enjoy this slow cooker Cajun jambalaya. Love to hear your feedback!
Listening to BuckWheat Zydeco "Hey Ma Petite Fille", nothing like some zydeco music to brighten your day, and put a little jump in you step, infusing some fun in the kitchen. When I was quite young I had to learn the accordion, and I thought, this is not cool want a drum set and become a rock drummer, that would get some attention not this big box of a thing strapped to my body, well if I would have known about zydeco maybe things would have been different between the accordion and me, lol, actually still have it, and yes a drum set too.
- 4 links of onion and herb sausage (or a flavor of your choosing)
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 16 pre-cooked shrimp
- 4 organic chicken thighs
- 2 tablespoons of medium salsa
- 1 teaspoon of fresh rosemary chopped
- 1 teaspoon fresh oregano chopped
- 2 leaves of fresh basil chopped
- 1 tablespoon mayo
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 clove garlic minced
- ¾ cups yellow onion chopped finely
- 2 stalks green onion chopped
- 2 small banana red peppers diced
- 2 small yellow banana peppers diced.
- 2 small orange banana peppers diced
- 2 small Roma tomatoes diced
- 1 small zucchini diced
- 1 carrot diced
- ½ cup of fresh or frozen peas
- ½ cup of San Marzano canned tomatoes pureed
- 1 cup of dried kidney beans
- 1 cup of long basmati rice or any long grain rice
- 1 cup of vegetable broth
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley chopped
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
- 1 teaspoon white pepper
- 1 teaspoon cayene pepper
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon Hy's seasoning salt
- For the Creole seasoning: Combine all the ingredients for the seasoning mixing well and place in a shaker container.
- For the Jambalaya: Place dried beans in a large bowl and cover well with water and set aside let soak for about an hour and a half.
- Start off by cooking the sausages in a fry pan with a splash of olive oil, cook through.
- Take sausages out of the pan and on to a cutting board cutting them thinly and on a diagonal, set aside.
- In the same pan drizzle some more olive oil and saute minced garlic, onions, carrots, peppers, zucchini, cooking them for about 10 minutes, then add peas and cook an additional 3 minutes, sprinkle a couple of tablespoons of the Creole seasoning, while the vegetables are cooking.
- Take vegetables out of pan and into a slow cooker pot.
- Add tomato puree, vegetable stock, sausages, and fresh parsley.
- Drain beans and place them in the slow cooker.
- Mix well and turn slow cooker to low setting and place cover on, total cooking time 7 hours.
- For the Chicken: In an oven dish place chicken thighs in. Drizzle both side with olive oil.
- Sprinkle with a table spoon of the Creol seasoning on both sides.
- Spread salsa over chicken on coating well. Sprinkle basil oregano and rosemary over chicken.
- Place in two whole cloves of garlic.
- Place in oven covered at 375° F for 40 minutes, uncover for the last 20 minutes of cooking.
- Place rice in slow cooker about 35 minutes before serving.
- Place shrimp in about 15 minutes before serving.
Just a note on the cooking time. The total cooking time is 7 hours. The rice would go in around the 6 hour and 25 minute mark, and the shrimp around the 6 hour and 45 minute mark.
The chicken I would put in the pre- heated oven at around the 6 hour 20 minute mark.
- Serving Size: 6 servings