Long grain white rice (Recipe: chicken and shrimp jambalaya)
Who will be the next Chef de Riz?
If you love rice, and you love to cook, and you get yourself to Crowley, Louisiana, in October, you could be crowned Chef de Riz at the 73rd Annual International Rice Festival.
To earn the title, you'll have to wow the judges with a dish that includes at least one cup of cooked rice, and the rice of choice in South Louisiana is long grain white rice.
As popular as rice is in the American South, its origins and the legends surrounding it go back more than 3,500 years to India and the Niger River delta in Africa. China, India and Indonesia remain the world's primary producers.
The modern production method, removing the bran and germ layers of brown rice until all that remains is the inner white kernel, results in a highly-polished rice that cooks quickly; it also strips the rice of many nutrients, so many companies, especially in the United States, sell enriched white rice.
There are two types of starch in rice: amylose and amylopectin. Amylose is a long, straight starch molecule that does not coagulate during cooking, so long grain rice, which contains more amylose, cooks fluffy with separate grains. It has slender kernels, four or five times longer than they are wide, that expand in both length and width when cooked.
When you bring rice home from the market, transfer it from its bag to an airtight container, to prevent any little stowaways from moving in. Remember to cut the label from the bag or box, along with the cooking instructions, and keep them in the jar. Stored in this way, rice will keep for a year or more.
In the kitchen, long grain white rice is like all-purpose flour; if you're missing the particular rice called for in a recipe, you can substitute long grain, whether you're making Ecuadorian chicken fried rice or arroz con pollo, layered rice pilaf with dried fruits, rice pudding, coconut-ginger rice, or "fried" rice in your slow cooker.
Come to think of it, any of these dishes would make a great entry in the Chef de Riz competition. How about it?
Chicken and shrimp jambalaya
My family's absolute favorite, this one-pot dish needs no embellishment. Not for vegetarians, and not for diets, either. It's a once-in-a-while, oh-so-comforting treat. Serves 6.
3 Tbsp butter
1/2 lb hot smoked sausage (andouille, spicy chicken, or beef hot links), sliced into 1/4-inch rounds
2 onions, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
3 stalks celery, diced
2 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch pieces
4-6 cloves garlic, minced
1 handful dried oregano (approx 1-1/2 Tbsp)
1/2 handful dried thyme leaf (approx 3/4 Tbsp)
4 large dried bay leaves
1 Tbsp fresh ground black pepper
Hot sauce, to taste (from 4 drops to 4 oz. I use a mix of Tabasco and something stronger.)
8 oz canned tomato sauce
1 lb chopped or diced canned tomatoes
2 cups chicken stock (homemade or low-sodium store-bought), or water
2 cups long grain white rice
1 lb peeled, deveined large shrimp (or a few more, to taste), 26-30 size
Preheat oven to 350°F.
In a 6-quart or 8-quart stock pot, melt butter over low-medium heat. Add sausage, and cook, stirring occasionally, until quite brown and sticking to the bottom of the pot, up to 10 minutes. Add onion, green pepper and celery, and cook, stirring, 5 minutes or until onion is translucent.
Turn heat to high, and add chicken. Stir frequently, 2-3 minutes, until chicken is “seized” (no longer pink on the outside). Reduce heat to low, stir in garlic, oregano, thyme, bay leaves and black pepper, and stir 1-2 minutes. Add hot sauce, and cook for 1 minute. Add tomato sauce and tomatoes. Stir to combine, cover, and reduce heat to low. Cook 8-10 minutes, stirring once.
Uncover, add chicken stock, and bring to the boil. Turn off heat, and stir in the rice. Cover the pot and bake for 50 minutes. Stir shrimp into the rice, cover, and continue to bake for 10 minutes. Turn the oven off, and let the pot sit in it for at least 5 minutes before serving.
More recipes in The Perfect Pantry:
Paella a la Valenciana
Chicken paella with slow-roasted tomatoes
Farfalle with spinach and sausage
Arlo's Saskatchewan chicken jambalaya
Nasi goreng (Indonesian fried rice)
Disclosure: The Perfect Pantry earns a few pennies on purchases made through the Amazon.com links in this post. Thank you for supporting this site when you start your shopping here.
I vote for this jambalaya! Wowee it looks fabulous! And that list of ingredients has my mouth watering! You win!
I'm going to save this one for January :)
Your jambalaya looks great!
I just had gumbo last night which I think is a close cousin... though we used short grain rice.
Yum...I love some Louisiana-style cooking. Give me a jambalaya, gumbo, red beans and rice, and I am the happiest person you'll meet. This looks wonderful. Might just have to make it soon!
This recipe is hands down my favorite! I serve it at huge gatherings or for a winter one-dish meal. Milton, it is great for winter, but you will be sorry you did not taste it sooner! Lydia is so generous to share her golden recipes. (Shared with me years ago!) We are fortunate recipients!
Rice has been getting a bad rap ever since the whole carb-free thing came along.
I have recently re-visited it and like all varieties! quicker than potatoes and more versatile than pasta - it is my starch of choice lately. (besides I can't be trusted around pasta I will just eat and eat and eat...:)
Mouth watering stuff, and also very easy to prepare. Why wait till January, why not now?
You always make me so hungry!
Oh my, does this ever sound wonderful. You must promise to make this at my house when you come to visit!
That is one droolworthy jambalaya! It sounds fantastic too. I've never had the "magic touch" with rice dishes, but I'll have to give this one a try. My family would love it!
I adore rice and always have at least 5 different kinds in my pantry.
I grew up in rural southeastern Arkansas. I had a great uncle right up the road who was a rice farmer. Every Christmas he gave us a fifty-pound bag of long grain rice. I grew up eating and cooking rice where other parts of the country used potatoes. When I got married I hadn't a clue how to cook a potato. When I got married, the first time I put rice down as a side dish, my husband looked blankly at it, equally clueless as to how to eat it except as a vehicle for butter and sugar. I have learned how to cook potatoes and he has learned to eat rice without butter and sugar.
Mmmmm... I love me some jambalaya! Is there any food from New Orleans that isn't wonderful?
Everyone: I'm so glad you're enjoying this recipe. It is one of the dishes I turn to again and again, and each time it's as wonderful as the first time I made it, more than 15 years ago.
Julia, gumbo is indeed a cousin. But as it's often made with okra, which I don't love, I usually go the jambalaya route.
Candy, thanks for the endorsement -- we have shared many wonderful jambalayas together. And you're right (Mangerati, too) about not waiting -- hot and spicy food helps to cool you down in the hot weather!
Kalyn, I'd love to make it for you (with you!) when I come to SLC.
Janet, sounds like you have the makings of a perfect marriage!
Susan, the food of New Orleans really speaks to me. I love the spice combinations.
one of my all time favorites
This dish sounds amazing, I'm bookmarking it right now! All the combination of flavors is making my mouth water!
That jambalaya looks really good! I have been wanting to try making jambalaya for a while.
OH MY, that looks good! The sound you hear is me tossing my old jambalaya recipe in the trash! The Ecuadorian rice looks mighty tempting too. I couldn't get the link to work for the ginger-coconut rice, but that sounds delicious. Thanks, Lydia!
Ted, I'm always glad that you like this!
Jason, Kevin: this is a never-fail great recipe. Give it a try.
Judy, the broken link is now fixed, thanks, and I hope you enjoy all of the recipes -- especially mine, which is a real keeper.
Jambalaya! Now this southern girl totally approves of your chicken and shrimp combo with rice. Very nice - flavors are reminiscent of my chicken and shrimp gumbo, sans okra.
I have not made jambalaya for years now.... Yours looks delicious! Thanks for sharing your recipe :)
This looks WONDERFUL!!! My mouth is watering!
Haley, thanks for the thumbs-up. I'm not a fan of okra, so I'll take jambalaya over gumbo any day.
Karine, Bridget: This is every bit as good as it looks, so I hope you'll try it.
Lydia - if you want gumbo without the okra, use file powder. It is usually added at the table by the diner. It's basically sassafras powder.
This recipe looks fabulous. I've been on the hunt for a good Jambalaya recipe for ages, thanks for posting this :)
This jambalaya turned out great! Wavered a little from the recipe as I didn't have any chicken and shrimp on hand, just sausages. :) It was delicious! Somehow it became drier than regular jambalaya... But I had scaled the recipe down so, it could've been a result of that. Thanks for sharing the recipe.
Absolutely wonderful. The first thing guests said when they walked in is; wow, dinner smells great. I've never eaten jambalaya before so I was a little nervous serving this to the 'guinea pigs' I followed the recipe to a T and it turned out beyond good. One guest with deep roots in LA had four helpings!!! My only regret is that I served it out of the pot which made getting the right amount/combination of ingredients onto the plate a little difficult. I had started out with a 5.5 qt le crueset but by the time i was adding tomatoes i had to switch to one of those lobster pots because i was running out of space. An easy recipe that makes an incredible plate of food. Thank you so much for sharing this.
I'm excited to try this recipe. Looks delish! I was wondering if this is done on the stovetop how long to cook this? Same time as in the oven - 50 minutes, put shrimp in, then 10 min more?
Jean, what you really need to do is cook the rice, so on the stovetop it won't take as long, maybe half the time. BUT you'll have to keep an eye on it to keep the rice from sticking, which doesn't happen when it's cooked gently in the oven.