I’ve been following the Eat From Your Pantry challenge, and while we’re not completely giving up grocery shopping this month, I am working to plan more meals based on what’s already in the pantry and freezer. The stretch and creativity is a fun challenge.
I came up with a jambalaya of sorts using items I had on hand. Good thing I kept track of what I added because my husband raved at dinner “this is the best jambalaya you’ve ever made!”
According to Wikipedia, The Dictionary of American Food and Drink offers this creative old wives’ tale about the origin of the word “jambalaya”:
Late one evening a traveling gentleman stopped by a New Orleans inn which had little food remaining from the evening meal. The traveler instructed the cook, “Jean, balayez!” or “Jean, sweep something together!” in the local dialect. The guest pronounced the resulting hodge-podge dish as “Jean balayez.”
This certainly was a hodge podge dish, but we loved it. Tradition jambalaya has seafood in it, but we didn’t have any, so we just used chicken and sausage (actually, I used a package of Little Smokies!).
- 1-2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into chunks
- smoked sausage, cut into bite-size pieces
- 1/2 bag frozen peppers and onions
- lots of minced garlic (didn’t measure…)
- 2 cups chicken or beef broth
- 1 can diced tomatoes
- 1-2 cups instant rice (increase liquid if using more rice)
- 1 tsp. dried thyme
- 1 tsp. dried basil
- 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
- salt and pepper to taste
Saute peppers and onions, chicken, and sausage in a swirl of olive oil until meat is cooked and vegetables are soft and slightly camelized. Add garlic, saute for a few seconds, being careful not to burn. Add rice, broth, tomatoes, and seasonings. Simmer until rice has absorbed the liquids.
You heard the man, folks! This was the best jambalaya I’ve ever made! He complimented me two other times throughout the meal as well, so I guess it was a hit. We served it with garlic toast, salad, and canned mandarin oranges. Filling, flavorful, and a yummy way to use those Little Smokies that have been on sale lately!