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Jambalaya with Shrimp, Chicken and Ham

Jambalaya with Shrimp, Chicken and Ham
The derivation of the word jambalaya is said to come from Spanish, French and African cultures. All three lay claim to the origins of this quintessential Creole concoction that combines chicken and seafood with rice and assorted seasonings. Use crawfish in place of the shrimp if you can find them. This recipe can easily be doubled to serve a crowd.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 3 Tbs. olive oil
  • 12 large shrimp, about 10 oz. total, peeled and deveined
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, each 4 to 6 oz., cut into
      large pieces
  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 jalapeño chili, minced
  • 2 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 1 cup long-grain rice
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 6 oz. smoked ham, cut into cubes
  • 1 tsp. sweet paprika
  • 1 Tbs. chopped fresh thyme
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper, or more, to taste

Directions:

In a large fry pan over medium-high heat, melt the butter with 1 Tbs. of the olive oil. Add the shrimp and cook until opaque, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and set aside.

Add the chicken to the pan and sauté until browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer to the plate with the shrimp.

In the same pan over medium-high heat, warm the remaining 2 Tbs. olive oil. Add the onion, bell pepper and celery, and sauté until softened but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and jalapeño and cook for 1 minute.

Oven method: Preheat an oven to 350°F. Transfer the onion mixture to a large Dutch oven. Stir in the tomatoes, rice, broth and a pinch of salt. Cover, transfer to the oven and cook until the rice is tender, about 45 minutes. Add the shrimp, chicken, ham, paprika, thyme and cayenne. Stir well, cover and let stand until warmed through, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and black pepper.

Slow-cooker method: Transfer the onion mixture to a slow cooker. Stir in the tomatoes, rice, broth and a pinch of salt. Cover and cook on low according to the manufacturer's instructions until the rice is tender, about 3 hours. Add the shrimp, chicken, ham, paprika, thyme and cayenne. Stir well, cover, turn off the cooker and let stand until warmed through, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and black pepper.

Spoon the jambalaya into warmed bowls and serve immediately. Serves 4 to 6.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Slow Cooking, by Melanie Barnard, Charles Pierce & Dennis Kelly (Oxmoor House, 2008).