Mardi Gras recipe: Cajun jambalaya

A delicious, spicy rice casserole filled with chicken, sausage, and shrimp for Mardi Gras. Add a splash of Tabasco if you like things extra hot.

A Palatable Pastime
Celebrate Mardi Gras with a spicy Cajun jambalya.

I have been making jambalaya for a number of years now and it has become a regular staple in our home, especially in early spring, around the time of Mardi Gras. It is a spicy dish and can be made either as a casserole with the rice mixed  in, or as a meaty sauce spooned over cooked rice. Either way it is really delicious and makes a wonderful one-dish meal for your family.

And although I list chicken breast, andouille sausage, and shrimp as the prime ingredients, you can easily feel free to use whatever strikes your fancy or what you may have on hand. Thus, chicken can be exchanged with turkey or duck. Besides andouille, many types of sausage will suffice, including all types of smoked sausage.

In fact, I even used a bit of bison smoked sausage with jalapeno flavor in this one just as a change of pace (and it’s what I had on hand). The shrimp don’t necessarily need to be large. You can use any color of bell pepper – I use a mixture, saving extra pieces to use in tossed salad. Poblano peppers would be excellent in this as well, giving it a bit of a nice little bite. So as you can see, this casserole is very user friendly and adaptable.

I do hope you enjoy, and have a fabulous time before Fat Tuesday and if you observe, I hope you have a very Holy Lenten season.

Cajun Jambalya
Serves 8

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1  lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs; may use turkey or duck, cut into bite-sized pieces

8 ounces andouille sausage or other smoked sausage, cut into 1/4-inch slices

1 large onion, chopped

2 celery ribs, diced

1/2 green bell pepper, diced

1/2 red bell pepper, diced

1 teaspoon dried thyme or 1 tablespoon fresh

1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

1/4 teaspoon sweet paprika

1 teaspoon Cajun spice (such as Tony Chacheres or Emeril’s Essence)

Salt and black pepper or substitute

2 ounces dry white wine (optional)

1-1/2 cups uncooked long grain rice

1 (14 ounce) can tomatoes, chopped,with juice

2 cups chicken broth or 2 cups stock

4-8 ounces shrimp, shelled and prepped

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

3 green onions, finely chopped

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. In a large pan or Dutch oven, brown chicken pieces in the olive oil; add the andouille, onion, celery, bell pepper, thyme, oregano, paprika, Cajun spice, salt, and pepper to the pan, cooking and stirring for about 5 minutes until onions are tender; add wine to pan and stir until it evaporates.

3. Add rice, tomatoes with juice, and broth; bring to a boil.

4. Place mixture in a baking dish or oven-proof casserole (I used a lasagna pan); cover (can use foil) and bake at 350 degrees F. for 45 minutes or until rice and chicken are done and tender.

5. Stir in shrimp, parsley, and green onions; cover and cook 5-8 minutes longer or until shrimp curl and turn bright pink (if the shrimp are already pink/precooked, the extra cooking is unnecessary – just stir them in).

Kitchen tip: If rice is a bit wet, drape a clean dish towel over the casserole dish and let it sit for about 10 minutes. The towel will absorb some of the steam, and when you come back and fluff it with a fork, you may find it to be more fluffy and palatable. I do this every time with rice. If you cook rice in a saucepan, just take the pan away from the heat source and put a folded clean towel on top between the lid and the pan. I promise you will like your rice much better!

I like serving this casserole with a splash of Tabasco or other Louisiana hot sauce – everyone has their favorite brand.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to

QR Code to Mardi Gras recipe: Cajun jambalaya
Read this article in
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today