Looking for a quick one pot dinner to shape up that weeknight meal rut? Check out this recipe for easy one pot jambalaya!
If you’re new to Cajun-Creole food, jambalaya is a simple dish with 3 main components:
Despite how simple jambalaya may be perceived as, it actually has a rich and colorful history; much like the dish itself.
Jambalaya originated in the Southeast part of the U.S., specifically Louisiana.
As legends tell it, the Spanish colonists of this area were unable to cook up their own favorite dish, paella. Paella is
Unfortunately, Louisiana in the 1700’s was not a top producer of the essential saffron that was needed for paella.
This of course led to small substitutions (such as the use of tomatoes), sparking the invention of jambalaya.
This necessity of a meal reminiscent of Spain was the eventual invention of jambalaya after several attempts using the available ingredients at the time.
THE GREAT MELTING POT? …OR JUST A JAMBALAYA BOWL?
But wait there’s more!
Though this dish is often credited to the Spanish/Southern cultures, there are a few more cultures that come into play with this diverse dish.
Rice. Rice cultivation can be attributed to the Senegalese slaves that first brought the knowledge of how to grow and use rice to the New World from West Africa.
Smoked pork sausage. Traditional jambalaya includes a form of smoked pork sausage (often Andouille) or ham. If it were not for the German colonists’ Old World knowledge of sausage making, this would not be such a key ingredient to the New World.
Much of the spices can be attributed to French colonists, as well as even Native American influence. This makes jambalaya quite a culturally inclusive cuisine.
RED JAMBALAYA VS BROWN JAMBALAYA
The variations of jambalaya was not something I knew about till later in my years.
The differences in red vs. brown jambalaya stem from differences in geographical areas that the jambalaya is made.
Red jambalaya could often be found in New Orleans (most notably the French Quarter), whereas brown jambalaya was often found in rural Louisiana areas or Cajun country
Besides differences in locations, the biggest change between these two variations was…..TOMATOES!
As you can guess, red jambalaya includes tomatoes in the ingredient list, unlike brown jambalaya.
Since New Orleans sits right on the gulf ports, it was much easier to have access to these fresh and hard to find ingredients like tomatoes.
Rest assured, both are equally tasty!
Though I have neither Spanish ancestry or Cajun roots, I do enjoy the simplicity of this dish with the complexity of spices and flavors.
The first time I made jambalaya was sometime in my teenage years. I don’t remember what quite sparked my initial interest in making jambalaya, having never grown up with it or even trying it.
But what I do remember was the support my mom always had in whatever new recipes I wanted to try and always making sure we had ingredients on hand for them, and I remember my dad’s excitement and interest in trying something new.
Looking back, it’s that support and encouragement that continues to spark my passion in cooking and other interests in life.
This dish has changed a bit in my rendition of it over the years, with the inclusion of the instant pot. Using the instant pot has helped to cut down on cook time as well as kitchen clean-up with a one pot dinner.
Below is a recipe for One Pot Jambalaya. Feel free to make this your own recipe with your own substitutions or renditions. After all, this dish has been building on substitutions since the 1700’s.
NOTE: this Easy One Pot Jambalaya pairs very well with a slice of homemade bread! Check out the link below to Syd’s Pizza Dough that doubles as a quick homemade bread recipe!
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Easy One Pot Jambalya
- 1 large chicken breast, diced
- 2 pork sausages preferably Andouille
- ½ lb raw, deveined shrimp
- 1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes
- 1 ⅓ cups chicken broth
- 1 stalk of celery, diced
- ½ medium sized onion, diced
- ½ green pepper, diced
- 1 ½ cups white rice
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp ground, black pepper
- ¼ tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp cumin
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 ½ tsp paprika
- ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
- Combine all ingredients together in a slow cooker, except shrimp and rice.
- Set slow cooker on high for 3-4 hours until chicken and sausage are almost cooked through.
- When chicken and sausage are mostly cooked through, add shrimp and rice until rice is soft and all meat is thoroughly cooked.