Seeing as how I live the next state over from Cajun country, it should be no surprise that Cajun and Creole food makes its way to our table from time to time. I sometimes worry that The Husband would sell our firstborn for a pile of freshly boiled and heavily seasoned crawfish. About every 3-4 months, I make a big pot of gumbo and The Husband and I eat on it for days.
Back in August, when I attended the International Food Bloggers Conference in New Orleans, there was a heated debate circulating on what the biggest difference was between Cajun and Creole food. It all came down to tomatoes. In a nutshell, Creole’s are city-folk. Cajun’s are country-folk. The closer you get to the city, the more likely you are to find tomatoes in the cooking. Creole jambalaya, also known as red jambalaya is characterized “the trinity” – celery, peppers, and onions – a combination found in most dishes. The meat is usually chicken and sausage, like andouille or smoked sausage. Next vegetables and tomatoes are added, followed by seafood.
My favorite thing about this dish is that you can make it in your slow cooker. No, it’s not the most traditional way, but it sure is nice to come home from work to a pot of this goodness simmering on your kitchen counter. A little tip about preparing this in a slow cooker – get some Reynold’s Slow Cooker liners. I’m not a high profile blogger yet, so don’t worry – they’re not paying me to say this. I’m serious, these things are the best. The night before, I chop my chicken breasts and put them in a separate container. Then I line a big freezer container with a slow cooker liner, chop all the veg, add my herbs, then put a lid on it and store it in the fridge overnight. The next morning, all I have to do is carefully pull out the liner, place it in the slow cooker, add my remaining ingredients, and set the time.
Hearty Slow Cooker Jambalaya
- 1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
- 1 pound fully cooked andouille sausage links, cubed
- ½ pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
- 1 cup diced onion
- 1 small sweet red pepper, diced
- 1 small green pepper, diced
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1 celery rib with leaves, chopped
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
- 1-1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon Louisiana-style hot sauce
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 pound cooked medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
- Hot cooked rice
- In a 5-qt. slow cooker, combine all the ingredients except the shrimp and rice.
- Cover and cook on low for 6-7 hours or until chicken is cooked through and no longer pink.
- Add shrimp. Cover and cook an additional 15 minutes until shrimp are heated through.
- Remove and discard bay leaves.
- Serve over rice