Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Jambalaya With a Orzo Twist

Jambalaya originated in the Caribbean Islands. The Spanish culture mixed with the native foods and created what we know as Jambalaya. Jambalaya is traditionally made in three parts, with meats and vegetables, and is completed by adding stock and rice. It is also a close cousin to the saffron colored paella found in Spanish culture.  My twist on this classic recipe is to add tomatoes and Orzo Pasta to chicken stock.  This makes it more like a hearty Jambalaya soup.  Enjoy!

Servings: 4 - 6 depending on the portion sizes.

Cook time about 25 minutes


From the pantry
 Making my spice blend

  • 2 tsp Kosher Salt
  • 2 tsp MRS Dash Garlic & Herb seasoning
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp jerk seasoning
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes

Combine all ingredients together and blend well.  You may also use a coffee grinder to blend your spices.
 I love making my own spice blend, make sure your spice rack is up to date with fresh spices and make your own blend.  Store in an airtight container and use for your favorite dishes.
Jambalaya Ingredients

  • 1  1/2 cups of Orzo Pasta
  • 1 pound medium white shrimp peeled and deveined
  • 1 pound boneless/skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1" pieces
  • 1 cup red, yellow, green and orange bell peppers, diced
  • 1 package Johnsonville Andouille smoked sausage, cut into 1/2" slices
  • 5 garlic cloves, diced
  • 1 cup white onions, diced
  • 1 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 4 tbsp special spice blend, (divided - 2 tbsp each for chicken and shrimp)
  • Olive Oil or Vegetable Oil for sautéing  
 Step 1

Place chicken in a clean bowl and add spice seasoning over chicken and gently toss until the chicken is coated well.  Then in a separate bowl, do the same thing with the shrimp. Cook orzo pasta according to package instructions.  But cook "al dente" because you will finish cooking pasta when it is added to the jambalaya mixture.

Step 2

 In a large skillet, add about 2 tbsp olive oil.  Start with chicken first, place in pan and add part of the onions, garlic and peppers and sauté until it is about half done.  Then remove chicken and set aside.  Add more oil if required, then add the balance of onions, garlic, peppers and shrimp. Sauté until shrimp is nice a pink, but do not over cook.

Step 3

Now add to the skillet, tomatoes and chicken broth and combine with shrimp.  Stir gently and add chicken back to the skillet. Continue to cook until chicken, shrimp and vegetables are tender.  Let simmer for about 3 - 5 minutes.  Then add orzo pasta to mixture and combine well and let simmer for about 5 minutes. 

  Serve your Jambalaya
  Place in serving bowls and garnish with fresh chopped parsley.

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