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Halal Cajun/Creole Jambalaya!

Being born and raised in New Orleans, I had a few opportunities to enjoy Jambalaya (only a “few” since nearly all recipes require pork products).

More recently, I learned Jambalaya may have roots in Muslim history, being related to the Spanish dish paella. Paella originates from the 10th century when rice was first cultivated by Muslim settlers in Spain. Jambalaya likely originates as an attempt to make paella by Spanish settlers in Louisiana, and because saffron – a key ingredient in paella – was not available, tomatoes were used as a substitute (you’ll note my recipe is heavy in tomatoes).

The below recipe originally comes from our favorite financial blog – The Simple Dollar. I’ve made a few modifications over the years, combining flavors and techniques from both cajun (fond) and creole (tomatoes) influences.

Jambalaya Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 1 chopped bell pepper
  • 1 chopped celery rib
  • 2 cups vegetable stock or chicken stock 
  • 14 oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 8 oz. can tomato sauce
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground oregano
  • 1/4 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
  • 1 cup uncooked long grain rice
  • 15 ounce can butter beans, rinsed and drained
  • 15 ounce can red beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 tablespoons hot sauce 
  • 1.5 tablespoon (or to taste) Morton’s Kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 1 lb (at least) Chicken/beef sausage. If you’re local halal butcher doesn’t make their own halal sausage, frozen can be used. Most halal shops will at least have frozen Sujuk (middle-eastern) sausage. Shrimp and/or chicken can also be used, or meat can be omitted to make a vegetarian/vegan version.
  • 1 package frozen okra, cooked per package instructions (optional) 

Jambalaya Directions

  1. Heat oil in a small pot over medium heat and brown sausage. In addition to cooking the sausage, the goal is to develop a fond (browned bits and caramelized drippings of meat stuck to the bottom of the pan) to be deglazed later. (see pic below)
  2. Remove sausage from meat. The meat will be added again at the end of the cooking process. (see pic below)
  3. Toast the red pepper and fennel seeds – in the left-over oil/fond for 30 seconds to bring out flavor. (see pic below)
  4. Add onion, bell pepper, and celery and cook for four minutes or until onions start to sweat. (see pic below)
  5. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds. (see pic below)
  6. Add vegetable/chicken stock and deglaze pan (scrape brown bits off the bottom of the pan). Then add salt, black pepper, oregano, can of crushed tomatoes, can of tomato sauce, and hot sauce.
  7. Bring the mix to a boil, then add the rice.
  8. Reduce heat to low and let simmer for 20 minutes until the rice is tender, stirring frequently.
  9. Then, add beans and sausage (and okra) and simmer for another 5 minutes, stirring frequently. (see pic below)
Step 1: brown sausage in oil
Step 2: Remove meat. There should be a great fond that develops.
Step 3: Toast red pepper and fennel seeds
Step 4: add onions, bell peppers, and celery
Step 5: add garlic
Step 9: After adding all other ingredients and letting rice cook, add beans and sausage (and okra if using)
Enjoy with a side of cornbread and extra cooked okra.

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