Don't you just love all the deep rich flavors of Louisiana-style cooking?
What about a healthier, lower carb version? Oh, yeah! Here it is...
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I'm jumping up and down, with my hand in the air saying, "Yes, Yes, Yes"! I especially love Cajun Jambalaya and I REALLY love it when it's made with cauliflower rice! This Cajun Jambalaya recipe is guaranteed to be a crowd pleaser and you'll never miss the rice!
My Inspiration for creating this awesome recipe for Cajun Jambalaya
Recently, Jeff and I went on a 12-day motorcycle trip, traveling the back roads and visiting some cool little towns. All along our route, Jeff was searching out Jambalaya. Unfortunately, the closest we came to getting it was at this incredible restaurant, Grub Brothers, in the small waterfront town of Washington, NC. The chef was in the process of making the Jambalaya and we were happy to wait! We had a few beers, ordered Possum in the Trash appetizer. I know... what the heck is that? It's a fun way to describe BBQ nachos and boy were they good! Jeff and I devoured them and we were so full, we couldn't possibly eat the Jambalaya. So, sadly, we skipped it this trip... but we'll be back!
I highly recommend stopping in there if you are near Washington, NC. You can find them on Facebook at Grub Brothers Eatery. The staff and owner were super friendly and it quickly became our most favorite stop of the trip.
When we got home, Jeff still wanted a Jambalaya fix and I wanted to jump back on the healthy eating band wagon, so this recipe for Cajun Jambalaya was born. It's quick and easy and oh-so delicious!
Did you know there are different kinds of Jambalaya? Honestly, I didn't realize this until I started searching around on the internet. Turns out there are two main types of Jambalaya; Cajun and Creole.
Cajun Jambalaya: traditionally is made by cooking the meat (usually chicken & sausage) first, then a few vegetables, followed by the rice and the stock. This style of jambalaya is found in the rural swamp lands of Louisiana and I bet you can find alligator and other game instead of chicken in many of them!
Creole Jambalaya: you typically cook the vegetables (onions, celery, green pepper) first, followed by the meat, then rice & stock. Creole Jambalaya also usually contains tomatoes. This style of Jambalya, often referred to as "red jambalaya" and can be found in the French Quarter and areas surrounding New Orleans.
Then there is my version
Yes, I called it Cajun Jambalaya. But, is it really? I had to laugh a little when researching jambalaya AFTER I made the recipe! Probably should have done that sooner, then you'd see a recipe that more closely follows along with the cajun jambalaya technique. I could tweak it, but this recipe turned out so good, I just couldn't change it.
So, now you have my version. Flavor: Cajun. Technique: original. Don't worry, it's all good! This recipe is super easy to make and the flavors will blow your mind.
It all starts with a Roux
What? A roux? Isn't that for Gumbo? Yes, a dark roux is the key to making authentic and flavor-packed gumbo. We are going to make a brown roux as the magic in this dish; it allows us to use cauliflower rice without ending up with a soupy jambalaya. Perfect!
What exactly is a Roux?
Learning to make a great Roux (pronounced "roo") is key to many wonderful dishes, so let's spend a few minutes on what it is, different types, and how to make it.
Roux is a combination of equal parts flour and fat. Butter is most commonly used, but you can also use vegetable oil, lard, or any type of animal fat. There are 3 types of Roux; white, blond, & brown. I should mention a 4th type of roux, the dark roux (used in gumbo). The reason this may not be considered a true roux is because once it gets to this very dark stage, it is no longer a thickening agent, so is it really a roux? I'll look into that for you!
Three Types of Roux:
White: This is the base for many wonderful sauces; like a béschamel or white sauce like this recipe from The Kitchn. White roux starts out the same, equal parts fat and flour. Add your fat to a skillet and allow it to melt, add the flour and wisk constantly. You have to be very careful that you do not burn the roux. If you see dark specks, it is burnt and you will have to start over or your sauce will taste unpleasant. White Roux is only cooked 2-5 minutes so it keeps it's white/beige color.
By cooking the roux 2-5 minutes, you cook out the flour taste which is super important or your sauce will taste like a sack of flour. Ask me how I know! Yep, been there & done that! When the flour/butter mixture starts to bubble and become fragrant, you are done. Remove from heat and congrats on making a white roux!
Blond: This roux starts off exactly the same way as a white roux, it just cooks longer and develops a darker more flavorful thickener. After you have a white roux, turn down the heat and continue to cook for an additional 5 minutes, whisking constantly to avoid burning. You will end up with a golden roux that is perfect for making stock-based soups and creamy chicken or pork dishes.
Brown: You are probably starting to see where this is going. Yep, a brown roux starts off as a white roux, becomes a blond roux and once you take it a step further and continue cooking, you guessed it... you have made a brown roux. It will take about 5 more minutes on low heat and you really need to watch it so it doesn't burn. Brown roux works great to make a flavorful beef gravy from pan drippings and, of course, it's used a lot in Louisiana-style cooking. While my recipe doesn't exactly call for a roux, because we add the flour to our sautéd veggies, it's close enough for me! You okay with that? I might be breaking a cooking law; but this Cajun Jambalaya is so darn good, I'm okay with that!
Okay, so it's not technically a roux
I may be cheating a bit by saying this recipe calls for a roux. I mean it does, and it doesn't. If you don't want to break the roux law, make a brown roux first. Remove it from the pan. Saute the veggies in some butter add the roux back in and pick up the recipe from there. Then this recipe definitely starts with a roux.
I think I'll keep living on the edge; teetering between lawful and unlawful food rules tends to keep life interesting. I'm okay with my shortcut and I bet you will be too. Don't worry, you can still impress your friends and tell them the secret to your Cajun Jambalaya is the roux. It will be our little secret.
Because I'm using cauliflower instead of rice, I knew I wanted my Jambalaya to start with a brown roux. I didn't want to use regular flour, so I decided to use coconut flour instead and it worked great! You can certainly use regular flour in place of coconut flour, but you will need to increase the all-purpose flour to 4 Tbsp.
Pro Tip: Coconut flour extremely absorbent, so be sure to use plenty of liquid when cooking or baking with it.
By combining the vegetables, cajun seasoning, and the roux I was able to create a great depth of flavor in a very short period of time and absorb all the juices that the veggies release.
Traditionally, the rice and stock are added in and the jambalaya thickens as the rice absorbs the liquid. I knew cauliflower rice would not absorb the liquid and it would actually give off some as it cooked, so the roux was there to help us out. It worked perfectly!
Cajun Spice Blend
I have to be honest here; I almost didn't post this recipe because the Cajun Spice Blend I made was so incredibly good that I thought I might keep it a secret, in case I wanted to bottle it and sell it. Then, I thought; this Cajun Jambalaya is just too good not to share with my friends and so, here it is: the best Cajun Spice Blend EVER!
- ½ Tbsp Smoked Paprika
- 1 tsp sea salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- ⅛ tsp cayenne pepper
- ⅛ tsp red pepper flakes
- ⅛ tsp ground thyme
- ⅛ tsp roasted corriander
- ½ tsp garlic powder
Mix all ingredients together. You will end up with about 1 ½ Tbsp of rub, just enough for this Cajun Jambalaya recipe. You can always make more by doubling or tripling the amounts and store the rub in a zip lock baggie until ready to use. I'm thinking Cajun Corn on the cob! Oh my, I must try this.
No worries if you don't have all the spices needed to make this rub, you can always substitute your favorite Cajun seasoning instead... but, I promise you will not regret making this spice blend!
What you will need for Cajun Jambalaya
- salted butter
- Vidalia or sweet onion
- green pepper
- Cajun rub
- coconut flour (may substitute all purpose flour)
- chicken stock
- chicken breast
- Andouille sausage
- green onions
Dice onion, celery, green pepper and carrot. Add 2 Tbsp of salted butter to an oven safe skillet, I really love my All-Clad skillet (affiliate link). Turn on medium heat. Melt butter and add in veggies (except the green onions) & 1 Tbsp of Cajun rub. Saute over medium heat for about 5-7 minutes or until veggies are softened, stirring frequently to prevent the veggies from burning. Adjust heat as needed.
Mince your garlic (here is a video on how to mince garlic) or use a garlic press (affiliate link). Add in 4 Tbsp salted butter and 3 Tbsp of Coconut Flour, stir to combine over medium heat. If you want to use regular flour, increase amount to 4 Tbsp. When the flour is incorporated into melted butter, add your minced garlic. Continue to cook for about 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add in Chicken Stock and stir.
Preheat oven to 400° F. Dice up chicken into large chunk size pieces and cover with ½ Tbsp of Cajun rub. Add to skillet with veggie mixture and chicken stock. Simmer over medium heat until the chicken is cooked through, about 7-10 minutes.
Slice Andouille Sausage on the diagonal into about ½ inch slices. Make cauliflower rice using a food processor or grater. Cut florets off of the cauliflower and process until they are rice size. When using a food processor to make cauliflower rice, use the pulse feature until you reach the desired size of "rice," otherwise you may over process the cauliflower. I like to use a manual food processor like this one, it allows me to control the size of the "rice" perfectly. A manual food processor is also great to take on the go and it's super easy to clean. Add Andouille and cauliflower rice to skillet; stir to combine.
Cut green onions. Reserve the green tops for garnish and add the white bottoms to the skillet. Stir to combine. Place in 400°F oven for 30 minutes. Remove from oven, garnish with chopped green onions tops and serve. Enjoy!
- 6 Tbsp butter, salted divided
- 1 Cup Vidalia or sweet onion chopped
- 1 carrot diced
- ½ cup green pepper, diced 1 small pepper
- 11/2 Tbsp Cajun rub see recipe below
- 3 Tbsp coconut Flour Use 4 Tbsp if using all purpose flour
- ½ Tbsp minced garlic about 4 cloves
- 1 ½ Cups chicken stock
- 1 lb skinless, boneless chicken breast
- 16 oz Andouille Sausage
- 1 bunch green onions both tops and bottoms
- 3 ½ cups cauliflower rice
- Combine all spices together in small bowl for the Cajun rub
- Dice sweet onion, celery, green pepper and carrot. Add 2 Tbsp of salted butter to an oven safe skillet and turn on medium heat.
- Melt butter and add in veggies (except green onion) & 1 Tbsp of Cajun rub. Saute over medium heat for about 5-7 minutes or until veggies are softened, stirring frequently to prevent the veggies from burning. Adjust heat as needed.
- Mince garlic. Add in 4 Tbsp salted butter and 3 Tbsp of Coconut Flour, stir to combine over medium heat. When the flour is incorporated into melted butter, add your minced garlic. Continue to cook for about 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add in Chicken Stock and stir. Continue to simmer.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Dice up chicken into large chunk size pieces and cover with ½ Tbsp of Cajun rub. Add to skillet with veggie mixture. Simmer over medium heat until the chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes.
- Slice Andouille Sausage on the diagonal into about one inch slices. Add to skillet.
- Cut green onions. Reserve the tops for garnish and add the white bottoms to the skillet. Add cauliflower rice to skillet and stir. Place in preheated oven and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven, garnish with green onions and serve. Enjoy!
Looking for more recipes like this easy, healthy, & flavorful one?
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