Dinner/ Recipes

Cookin’ Creole

Dinner last night started out like dinner most nights. I flipped open the bible* and absentmindedly flipped the weathered, worn pages until I came across this.


Instantly, nostalgic memories of eating forkfuls of spicy, fragrant jambalaya at my sorority sister’s house in Mandeville, Louisiana flooded back to me. I was nineteen, and we went there for a weekend to visit her family and go to a football game at LSU. The jambalaya that her dad made us was thick and full of Cajun sausage and spice. I haven’t had anything quite like it since.


So, after a quick email (subject line: HELP) to my best friend who went to law school in New Orleans, I had a couple recipes to work with. I messed around with a little of this, a little of that and this is what I came up with.


Spicy Jambalaya

serves 3-4

3/4 lb andouille sausage

1 tbsp canola oil

1.5 tbsp flour

1 large onion, chopped

1 tbsp minced fresh parsley

1 stalk celery, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

3/4 cup long grain brown rice

1.5 cups water

1 16-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice

1 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp cayenne

Heat oil in a dutch oven over medium high heat. Brown sausage and then remove and set aside.

Add the flour to the oil and make a dark roux by cooking the flour over medium high heat until golden in color, stirring continuously with a rubber spatula. Add the chopped onions, celery and parsley to the roux and toss well to coat. Cook for about six minutes or until the onions are soft. Add the garlic and cook for thirty seconds more.

Add the water, tomatoes, rice, salt, pepper and cayenne. Stir well and bring up to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for about one hour (no peaking!).

Before serving fluff jambalaya with a fork and add more hot sauce to taste.


*I fondly refer to The Gourmet Cookbook as “the bible” because it is my very favorite cookbook of all time and the one I reach to the most often for pretty much everything. I also have another bible that I reach to daily as well.

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  • crunchy granola gal
    July 29, 2010 at 8:57 am

    oh wowza. your meals are getting better and better! one day, my kitchen will be stocked with le creuset everything. and i mean everything. yep.

  • Becky
    July 29, 2010 at 9:02 am

    Oh, if only I still ate meat! Jambalaya was one of my all-time favourites from my pre-veggie days. Your Jambalaya looks yummy, but if it was my choice, I’d include the traditional shrimp and chicken too! Maybe Almanzo isn’t a shellfish fan though?! (My husband is allergic, so I can empathize.)

    Isn’t it funny how so many cultures have come up with their own variants on similar culinary ideas? Paella, jambalaya, rice & beans, risotto– they are all “fancy rice” dishes of different culinary origins. Love that about cooking.

  • Heather (Heather's Dish)
    July 29, 2010 at 9:13 am

    jambalaya is the best…that and etouffe! the spicier the better, and i love the addition of chicken sausage!

  • Jessica @ How Sweet
    July 29, 2010 at 9:13 am

    My husband loves jumbalaya! I have never had it but I guess I should be nice and make it for him.

  • julie
    July 29, 2010 at 9:16 am

    Hay there,
    I want to LOVE cooking like you do. Any tips, suggestions?


    • jenna
      July 29, 2010 at 4:16 pm

      Honestly, I think the passion to cook is just ingrained in me! I’ve always loved it ever since I was a little girl…I would sit in this large wicker basket at my mom’s feet and she would toss me scraps of carrots while she prepared dinner. Try experimenting more in the kitchen..and cooking for someone you love is always a wonderful thing!

  • KatieTX
    July 29, 2010 at 9:17 am

    You just made me even more excited to go home to New Orleans tomorrow. I am going to get my grandma to make me some jambalya….or shrimp creole…or shrimp etouffe….

  • Summer
    July 29, 2010 at 9:22 am

    Yum! That looks and sounds soooo good. Oh, and please never mentions the name of a cookbook to an addict! LOL Now I will have to get it. πŸ™‚

  • Sara @ myfancytuna.blogspot.com
    July 29, 2010 at 9:27 am

    Holy mother, jambalaya is my absolute favorite dish, no question.

    And I haven’t had it in at least 6 months, because that’s how long the oven at home hasn’t worked.

    You have reawakened my burning desire for a huuuuuge bowl of jambalaya. Neeeeeed it……… πŸ™‚

  • Lauren
    July 29, 2010 at 9:29 am

    Man oh man, I have always wanted to try real jambalaya. But I’m not sure non-meat versions would do it justice! Maybe it’s worth a try with a good veg sausage…. Yours looks pretty fantastic!

  • Michelle in SC
    July 29, 2010 at 9:33 am

    Love the recipe! I can’t believe you’ve been to Mandeville!! I grew up there. Wouldn’t it be funny if I knew your sorority sister! Thanks for the recipe, I love new jambalya recipes to try!

    • jenna
      July 29, 2010 at 9:41 am

      her name is Elizabeth Bowie..that would be funny if y’all knew each other!

  • Angharad
    July 29, 2010 at 9:38 am

    Yeah. I want this in my mouth right about now. This looks so perfect and for some reason your mentioning New Orleans makes it seem a perfectly acceptable summertime dish despite the other half of my brain yelling “autumn!” at me.

  • Mary @ What's Cookin' with Mary
    July 29, 2010 at 9:41 am

    What a fantastic looking dinner Jenna! Nice work πŸ˜‰

  • stephanie@Avocado Nation
    July 29, 2010 at 9:41 am

    That looks delicious. My BF and I went to New Orleans last year and I remember how amazing and flavorful the jambalaya was. I love sausage!

  • Sarah for Real
    July 29, 2010 at 9:46 am

    I see the pen on your “bible” there… Do you write in your cookbooks? I can never work up the nerve to do that, though I totally need to.

    • Jenny D.
      July 29, 2010 at 12:00 pm

      I don’t know about Jenna but I LOVE to write in my cookbooks! It’s so nice to add suggestions and write out whether or not I liked the dish. It especially helps on those occasions when I look back to notes like “Good, but not worth the effort!”

      • jenna
        July 29, 2010 at 4:17 pm

        I write in all my cookbooks…I date the recipes and write little notes to myself about what I liked and what I didn’t like!

  • Heather @ The Single Dish
    July 29, 2010 at 9:46 am

    Looks delish! Just put this recipe in my “to make” file. Thanks!

  • Katherine @ Left Coast Contessa
    July 29, 2010 at 9:49 am

    Mmm that looks so good. Three cheers for all the epic cooking you’ve been doing. I have to admit, reading your blog gave me a random biscuit craving yesterday.

  • Scargosun
    July 29, 2010 at 9:49 am

    My bibles
    Old Testament = Julia Child Mastering the Art…
    New Testament = The Silver Spoon

  • Kacy
    July 29, 2010 at 9:50 am

    I just had a chicken and sausage jambalaya at a Cajun place here in OKC and it was phenomenal. I can’t stop thinking about it. So glad to have a recipe now!

  • Tracey @ I'm Not Superhuman
    July 29, 2010 at 9:50 am

    I was like, Oh look, Jenna’s making manna. πŸ™‚

  • Christie {Honoring Health}
    July 29, 2010 at 9:55 am

    That looks delicious! My husband would love it, he loves anything with sausage and I love spicy.

  • Jil @ Peace, Love & Munchies
    July 29, 2010 at 10:03 am

    Love it! My dad makes a killer jambalaya…although I’ve never had one actually made by someone from Louisiana…so I can’t compare, but it *is* delicious! I’ll have to make this for him!

  • Megan
    July 29, 2010 at 10:09 am

    I really need to invest in that cookbook.. I wish I had more time to cook, but working till 7 I literally run out of time! Anyway your dinner looks so good!

  • Cynthia (It All Changes)
    July 29, 2010 at 10:10 am

    I was ages 5-7 when I lived in Louisiana (or as I still call it Lou-si-ana) and could never get enough of this stuff with okra and everything. I’ve never had it better than down near the bayous. Oh good memories.

  • Marilou @ Mostly Healthy
    July 29, 2010 at 10:22 am

    I adooooore jambalaya! The spicier the better!

  • Marilou @ Mostly Healthy
    July 29, 2010 at 10:22 am

    I adooooore jambalaya! The spicier the better!

  • sarah k @ the pajama chef
    July 29, 2010 at 10:50 am

    looks delish! i’d love to try it soon. my husband loves jambalaya!

  • Katherine
    July 29, 2010 at 11:21 am

    Hey Jenna, should the sausage be added before or after the hour of simmering? I’m new to jambalaya and keen to try it out!

    • jenna
      July 29, 2010 at 4:18 pm

      I’m SO SORRY! I’m a horrible recipe writer. Yes, you add the sausage back in right after you add the rice so it all simmers together.

  • MMiller
    July 29, 2010 at 11:33 am

    Looks wonderful…my only thought was that it was missing the seafood! I will have to make this for my husband!

  • Kaelie
    July 29, 2010 at 11:52 am

    Aaaaand, I’m making this. Probably tonight. Yum.

    Praise God that you have an opportunity to mention Him frequently in this blog. SO cool, Jenna! He’s using you to bless!

  • Kaelie
    July 29, 2010 at 11:54 am

    Praise God. I so appreciate your comments, {within the delicious recipes & pics,} on the Lord. Your honest spirit is refreshing and hilarious, too. :] He’s using you to bless!

  • Kaelie
    July 29, 2010 at 11:55 am

    {Oopsies! I didn’t know the first comment posted…}

  • ashleigh
    July 29, 2010 at 12:18 pm

    I have never had jambalaya before! This looks delish. Everytime I read your blog I get more excited for the book!

  • Courtney (Delightful Devours)
    July 29, 2010 at 12:25 pm

    Hey that is fantastic! Thanks, my husband will love this one!

  • Sarah S.
    July 29, 2010 at 12:36 pm

    I had a friend freshman year whose dad would send her homemade crawfish Γ©toufΓ©e from Louisiana when it was in season, and we looooooooved it! One of the most delicious things I’ve ever eaten, hands down! This looks amazing too–I’ll have to try it!

  • The Wife of a Dairyman
    July 29, 2010 at 12:37 pm

    I haven’t eaten lunch yet and that dish looks delicious and now I’m craving it!

  • Jaclyn
    July 29, 2010 at 12:38 pm

    This has nothing to do with this post, but I just wanted to say that your happiness and contentment is palpable in your posts these days – seriously! You are enjoying your life and taking advantage of all its opportunities. (and I find it refreshing that you’re not one of the oodles hyping things like “protein ice cream” and all of the other “food” crazes that will come & go.) You’re cooking and enjoying real, honest food – something that’s in no danger of fading away ;).

  • April @ Crazy Fabulous Life
    July 29, 2010 at 12:41 pm

    Mmm, that looks so yummy!

  • marie @ marie would
    July 29, 2010 at 1:05 pm

    dood, i am so making this. also, funny story: when i was in eighth grade we were selling jambalaya at the school’s cultural fair and my group spent a long booty time making this huge, elaborate, beautiful, perfectionist sign advertising the jambalaya on butcher paper for our booth. but at the last minute, we added okra to the mixture, making it gumbo, and our CRAZY and outlandish social studies teacher with his scraggly writing took to our beautiful sign and wrote over our girly ‘jambalaya’ with ‘IT’S GUMBO NOW!’ in like, expo white board pen in red and we were all dumbstruck. my experience with jambalaya.

  • Rea
    July 29, 2010 at 1:10 pm

    Has anyone ever tried to make a vegetarian jambalaya? Using seitan instead of sausage? Just curious!

  • Abby
    July 29, 2010 at 1:17 pm

    Oh wow, that looks delish!! I always get afraid of jambalaya and the LONG ingredient list… I think I just need to get over that!! HA! How was it??:) Did it remind you of the jambalaya that your friends dad made for you??:)

  • Kristin (Cook, Bake and Nibble)
    July 29, 2010 at 1:23 pm

    That looks amazing! I love jambalaya!


  • Sara
    July 29, 2010 at 1:40 pm

    Why don’t you post all your eats for the day? I just see dinner.

  • Kelly @ Healthy Living With Kelly
    July 29, 2010 at 2:05 pm

    Oh holy yum! This looks amazing!!!

  • Stephanie
    July 29, 2010 at 2:29 pm

    I am interested in getting that cookbook, but I am a vegetarian and worried there will be a lot of meals I can’t make! Would you recommend it to a vegetarian? Is it possible to substitute the meat for something else in most of the recipes?

    • Rea
      July 29, 2010 at 2:43 pm

      Try seitan!! Or even soy sausage – that works well. They sell it in “crumbles,” so it could even mimic sausage.

      • Stephanie
        July 29, 2010 at 11:31 pm

        I enjoy field roast (supposed to be a sub for sausage) for meat replacements, but it doesn’t always work in dishes – it just doesn’t have that spice or kick. I just haven’t found a good vegetarian sausage that compares to real sausage. I’d love to find out more about seitan though. I don’t know how to utilize it!

  • Lisa (bakebikeblog)
    July 29, 2010 at 2:32 pm

    ooooh tasty! I really like the look of this!

  • Franziska (www.justalittlechocolate.com
    July 29, 2010 at 2:50 pm

    I have the get the Gourmet cookbook or “bible”. I used to get Gourmet magazine for years until they went under πŸ™ and love, love their recipes. They had a feature in the magazine for quick gourmet meals in 15, 20 and 25 minutes and many are very healthy.

  • Lauren R
    July 29, 2010 at 3:08 pm

    That looks delicious! Jambalaya is my absolute favorite dish as one side of my family is from Louisiana. The key is to use the trinity: celery, green pepper, and onion. Also, a lot of oregano is good to add too.

  • Chelsea (Chelsea's Chew and Run Fun)
    July 29, 2010 at 3:10 pm

    This looks like the perfect hearty male-friendly dish. I love the amount of spiciness that went into it!

  • Staceyhttp://stacey-healthylife.blogspot.com/
    July 29, 2010 at 3:22 pm

    Sounds like another really good meal. Almanzo sure is getting spoiled.

  • Rachael
    July 29, 2010 at 3:51 pm

    I love the Le Creuset pot – orange would definitely be my choice!
    My family has roots in Louisiana, and jambalaya is the food I associate with Christmas more than anything else – we had it every year on Christmas Eve, a tradition I’m looking forward to carrying on. Great recipe!

  • jill
    July 30, 2010 at 6:24 am

    This one was a winner. I had to go into 4 stores to find the darn cajun style andouille, but I found it! It was absolutely delicious and pretty easy to make. I also made buttermilk biscuits in an iron clad skillet and they were delicious, I can’t wait till you post the biscuit recipe you’ve been working on.

  • linda
    January 20, 2011 at 3:47 pm

    Jenna – I am making this for dinner this evening. I will report back how family likes it. I love jambalaya – but would only make it on a weekend , because of the time commitment. That is what attracted me – great food – less prep time. While I don’t mind spending time cooking when I have it available – during the week, I always get home late (or at least it seems that way) and don’t have much time to prepare dinner. Something I learned a long time ago – the amount of time it takes to eat a meal is in no relationship to the amount of time it took to prepare the meal. Soooooo the less time to prepare a Great meal – the better.

  • linda
    January 20, 2011 at 5:05 pm

    WOWZA – the family loved it – it was simple – quick – tasted great. It scores a 10. I will be making it again. THANKS

    FYI – I have tried the s’more brownies – another 10 and last weekend I made the buffalo chicken dip – something that I clearly would not normally make – but it was the Packer game! It has a GREAT success and has been requested for this weekends Bears – Packers game.

    My tummy thanks you!

    • jenna
      January 20, 2011 at 6:05 pm

      AWESOME! So glad πŸ™‚

  • Kaitlin
    April 3, 2011 at 5:50 pm

    I made this tonight and it turned out wonderfully. I used andouille chicken sausages, but otherwise, i followed the recipe exactly. Served alongside a kale salad drizzled with lemon, honey, & olive oil, this was a fantastic Sunday dinner.

  • jane
    October 24, 2011 at 9:12 am

    i made this and it was way way way way way too hot!

  • Cal
    January 18, 2012 at 4:50 pm

    Hi Jenna,

    Making this for dinner tonight. Do you add the rice in uncooked, or do you have to cook it first? This is my first time making jambalaya.


    • jenna
      January 18, 2012 at 5:57 pm

      Cook the rice first πŸ™‚

  • Katie
    August 6, 2013 at 6:45 pm

    Mandeville shoutout! My husband is from there and we were married in Covington πŸ™‚ So far he has loved all of the Cajun style food you have posted so I am excited to try this as well. Thanks!