Jambalaya is like the bastard love child of my two favorite rice dishes, risotto and paella. The creaminess of the rice is similar to that of a well-made risotto, while the shrimp, sausage and chicken combination reminds me of paella. This Creole version of Jambalaya contains tomatoes and hails from New Orleans.
NOTE: Cajun which is characteristic of southwest Louisiana and has no tomatoes, your choice, and neither have summer squash and carrot in them, but mine does because I like it.
Kitchen Cook Time and Prep: This recipe makes enough for 4 double back country servings and takes about 60 minutes to prepare. As a rule I vacuum seal all my back country food in resalable dehydration bags. This allows me to add the proper amount of water a few hours prior to cooking which cuts down on the fuel. Or in the case of the Jambalaya in the picture you can add twice the proper amount of water and have a big bowl of delicious soup. I admit doubling the water was an accident, but damn, it worked!
Tools: You will need a large Dutch oven or stock pot to cook with. In the back country you will need a stove and a pot to boil water. A spoon or spork would be helpful.
Back Country-What to Expect: Expect your taste buds to dance and sing. Talk about a pick me up after a long hike on the trail. Great for lunch or dinner.
Try this recipe out, let me know if you have any questions or comments below, and make sure you share this recipe with your friends that love Creole food and eating well in the back country.
- 2 boneless and skinless chicken thighs, cut into ¼ inch cubes
- 1lb Andouille sausage, covers removed, sliced thin
- 1 onion, finely diced
- 1 small summer squash, diced
- 4 small carrots, chopped
- 1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 habanero or chipotle pepper, whole (so you can remove it before someone unwittingly bits into it)
- 2 tbsp Devil’s Dust
- 1 tbsp smoked paprika
- 2 tbsp. coconut oil
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 12oz home-canned tomatoes, one sliced, one pureed
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 2-4 tbsp. tomato paste
- Salt and pepper
- ½ lb shrimp, shelled, deveined
- In a large Dutch oven melt oil over medium heat. Add onion, green pepper, squash and carrot and sauté 3-5 minutes, until translucent. Add paprika, Devils Dust, and whole dried pepper.
- Add chicken and sausage and cook 5 minutes, or until chicken is no longer pink.
- Add minced garlic, chicken stock and tomato, stir until thoroughly combined.
- Add bay leaf, reduce heat to simmer and cook for 30 minutes to a hour. The longer you simmer, the hotter the Jambalaya.
- Add tomato paste 1 tbsp. at a time. You want it to be thick, like gravy. Makes dehydration easier and you don't overwhelm the dish with tomato flavour.
- I find adding the shrimp to the Jambalaya prior to dehydrating can overwhelm the rest of the flavors. Instead, pre-cook the shrimp in boiling water for 2-3 minutes, or until shrimp turn completely pink. Drain the shrimp and allow to cool to a temperature at which you can handle them. Slice each shrimp into 2 to 4 pieces. Dehydrate shrimp on a separate rack to the Jambalaya but at the same time. Space them out so they don't touch and and add back before vacuum sealing.
Allow to cool to room temperature. Place 1½ cup per serving of mixture on the fruit roll-up trays on your dehydrator. On the meat setting (155 - 165 degrees), dehydrate for 8 hours, or overnight. Once fully dry, break up, add ⅓ - ½ cup of camp rice(instant rice) and dehydrated shrimp and seal into vacuum seal bags and store in freezer until ready to head into the back country.
To rehydrate I add 1½ cup of water a few hours before you intend to eat. Store in a strong resalable bag. I've been using resealable vacuum seal bags and they work perfectly. At meal time it only requires 3-5 minutes of simmer time before it's ready to eat.
Alternatively, bring 1 ¾ cups of water to a boil. Add the dehydrated contents and allow to come to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat, cover and allow rice to absorb the liquid. Serve and enjoy