Creole Jamabalaya recipe from Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen

A great way to celebrate Mardi Gras anywhere, any time is with this easy-to-make shrimp jambalaya. Photo: Ralph Brennan's Jazz Kitchen

ANAHEIM, Calif. March, 2013—This rice dish is one of the oldest in the traditional New Orleans Creole cook’s repertoire. It shares characteristics with Spanish paëllas, but it has even stronger connections with traditional African rice cookery.

In present-day New Orleans homes, jambalaya’s easy preparation makes it pop­ular party fare, especially during Mardi Gras.

At Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen in Downtown Disney, Chef Darrin Finkel serves this dish and many other New Orleans specialties such as gumbo, bbq shrimp & grits and beignets. 

Chef Darrin Finkel and Bruno Duarte

Chef Darrin Finkel and Bruno Duarte, special events manager for Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen in Anaheim, Calif



Serves 6

1 tablespoon unsalted butter (or 2 tablespoons if the pork and sausage are very lean)

4 ounces Andouille sausage,* sliced into 1/4-inch rounds

4 ounces pickled pork** or ham, cut into 1/4-inch cubes

1 medium-size yellow onion, chopped

1 bunch of green onions, chopped, with white and green parts separated

1 medium-size green sweet pepper, chopped

2 cans (10 ounces each) crushed plum tomatoes

1/4 cup canned tomato purée

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 whole bay leaf

1 teaspoon table salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne

1/4 teaspoon dry thyme leaves

4 cups chicken stock

1 tablespoon Louisiana pepper sauce

2 cups long-grain white rice, uncooked

1 pound raw medium shrimp, peeled


1. Over medium-high heat, melt the butter in a heavy, non-reactive 6-quart saucepan or Dutch oven.

2. Add the sausage and pickled pork or ham and cook until all of the fat is rendered out of the meats, about five minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. Add the yellow onions, the white part of the green onions and the sweet peppers.

Cook the vegetables until they are clear, about five minutes, occasionally stirring and scraping the pan bottom clean.

4. Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato purée, garlic, bay leaf, table salt, black pepper, cayenne, and thyme. Cook and stir this base sauce about two minutes.

(If the dish is being prepared ahead, allow the base sauce to cool, then place in a lidded nonreactive container and store it in the refrigerator for up to two days. For the final preparation, heat the base to a boil and proceed with the remainder of the recipe.)

 5. Add the chicken stock and pepper sauce to the base and bring to a boil.

6. Reduce the heat to maintain a strong simmer, and simmer the liquid uncovered until it is reduced by one third, about one hour 15 minutes. Skim any foam or coagulates as they develop on the surface.

7. Return the liquid to a boil and stir in the rice.

8. Reduce the heat to medium, and cook uncovered until the rice is just short of being done (it should still be a little firm in the center), about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

 9. Add the shrimp and cook until the rice is tender and the shrimp turn bright pink, about three minutes. Do not overcook.

10. Stir in the green part of the green onions.


Serving Suggestion: Spoon the warm jambalaya onto a heated serving platter or into a wide, shallow serving bowl.


*Smoked or Polish sausage (kielbasa) may be substituted for the andouille.

**Pickled pork (or “pickled meat,” as it is sometimes called) is a familiar

seasoning meat in the traditional “pot cooking” of the American Deep South.

It is often used to add flavor to greens, beans and other “pot food.” In this

jambalaya recipe, any good-quality ham may be used instead.


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Linda Mensinga

Linda Mensinga was editor of Culinary Trends for 15 years, now a contributing writer. Researching restaurants and hotels, she interviews the best and brightest chefs, not necessarily the most famous, to learn their secrets and recipes. Their talent and dedication never cease to inspire her. 

Mrs. Mensinga is happily food obsessed and fortunate enough to be married to a chef. 

Contact Linda Mensinga


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