Jambalaya. What a catchy name. I just love saying it. Jambalaya, jambalaya, jambalaya. Here’s a little history about this amazing dish you’re about to cook. Jambalaya, like its counterpart Gumbo, is a full-flavored dish originating from Louisiana, a Southeastern U.S. state on the Gulf of Mexico. More specifically, Jambalaya is a bold reflection of Spanish and French cultures merged into one. This ‘Rice Cooker Sausage and Seafood Jambalaya’ is termed as “Creole jambalaya” or “Red jambalaya”, which means it is red in colour due to the use of tomatoes. Creole jambalaya originates from “Big Easy” New Orleans.
There is another version of jambalaya – the Cajun version, which does not use tomatoes. Instead, there is a lot of emphasis in smoking and browning the meat, so that this gives a smoky flavour to the rice. Cajun jambalaya originates from rural Louisiana.
I decided to use my hardy rice cooker to make this dish as I want to keep it warm throughout the day. I also really like cooking in my rice cooker as the thermal sensor helps detect absorption of the liquids into the rice, so I don’t have to worry about constantly checking on the rice while it is cooking. Trust me, the flavour and texture of the jambalaya remains the same as when you cook it in a pan/pot.
Before you start cooking, it is very important that you not forget the “Holy Trinity” of Creole jambalaya – 1) Onions, 2) Green Bell Peppers, and 3) Celery. This trio of vegetables is crucial to what makes a good Creole jambalaya. Try not to substitute them with anything else, so as to preserve the original flavours.
FYI, I made a big boo boo by substituting smoked sausage (like Andouille) with basic chicken franks, as I did not have access to smoked sausages. It’s not wrong per se, but it really does make a big difference when you use smoked sausage. You could, however, add some Cajun seasoning to help increase the smoky flavour of your jambalaya.
Give this easy peasy Rice Cooker Sausage and Seafood Jambalaya a try. It’s a bold, flavourful dish that your family will surely enjoy.
This Rice Cooker Sausage and Seafood Jambalaya is a bold, flavorful dish that's a definite crowd-pleaser! This is a Creole-style Jambalaya, which uses base ingredients tomatoes, onions, green bell pepper, and celery.
- 4-6 servings of basmati, brown, or jasmine rice I used 2 small rice bowls and filled them to the brim
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 6 chicken franks sliced thinly (If you can, use Andouille sausage, or any other smoked sausage for a smokier flavour)
- 2 tablespoons ground paprika
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon cajun powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 medium onion diced
- 1 green bell pepper diced
- 2 celery stalks sliced thinly
- 1 cup canned or diced tomatoes
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 1/2 cups chicken stock I used homemade stock - it's entirely up to you
- 1/2 cup seafood medley/mixed seafood thawed
Wash the rice with tap water thrice and drain. Then, set it aside in the rice cooker. Do not turn on the heat yet.
Place 2 tablespoons butter in a medium-heated frying pan. When the butter starts to dissolve, add sausages in and stir till they start to brown.
Stir in paprika, cumin, cayenne, and cajun powder. Then, pour in chopped onions, bell pepper, celery, and tomatoes into the sausage mixture. Continue to stir. Turn the heat down if necessary. Allow the celery and bell peppers to soften a little.
Add bay leaf and salt into the pan and continue to mix everything together gently for another 30 seconds or so.
Now, turn the heat off and take the pan off the heat. Using a spatula, pour the pan mixture gently into the rice cooker pot and mix together with the uncooked rice. Then, pour in your chicken stock.
Make sure the stock is covering the rice mixture. To measure if there is enough liquid to cook the rice, stick your index finger into the liquid and touch the top of the solid mixture gently. The solid-to-liquid should measure slightly less than your distal phalange (i.e. the length of your fingertip to the first crease of your finger). Add more stock or water if necessary.
Turn the rice cooker on. Keep a close watch on your jambalaya at the 15-minute mark, once you turn the rice cooker on. Once the mixture starts to boil, pour in the seafood medley. Allow the mixture to continue cooking till the rice cooker switches itself off.
However, feel free to press down on your rice cooker (switch it on) if the rice has not been completely cooked. Add in more stock or water, then stir the mixture to prevent it from sticking to the base of the rice cooker pot. The great thing about a rice cooker is that you can control how long you want to cook the mixture for, while it serves the purpose of sensing if your liquids have been absorbed by your mixture (using a thermocouple), while keeping your food warm after you turn the heat off.
Just before serving, remove the bayleaf from the jambalaya. Season with salt and pepper.
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