What is Shrimp Jambalaya? It is a one dish vegetable and rice dish comprised of a variety of pork, chicken, or seafood carried in a sauce of tomato or broth. Gumbo is similar, but is typically served over rice and based on a roux, a brown sauce thickened with filé (FEE-lay) or okra. Everyone seems to have a regional family favorite version. The first time I made jambalaya, we were hosting a big parish dinner, and I failed to peel the shrimp. Once we realized the mistake, we all just laughed, picked them from our bowls and peeled them at the table. Mistakes can be funny ice breakers… just roll with them!
Shrimp Jambalaya Recipe
|WHAT YOU NEED||WHAT TO DO||WHY|
||In a 5-quart tri-ply stockpot over medium heat, circulate the butter to coat the base. When it begins to foam (~2 minutes), add ham and brown, turning once with a bamboo spatula (~5 minutes total). Add onion and celery to ham; cook until tender (~2 minutes).||Tri-ply is nonreactive and will not release undesirable flavors during deglazing. Bamboo is gentle on cookware. Cooked onion adds natural sweetness.|
||Add all to the ham; cook until garlic is fragrant (~2 minutes) and rice is coated in butter. It will seem like insufficient rice, but it is correct.||Onion, celery, and green bell pepper are the Holy Trinity of Creole and Cajun cuisines, foundational to many dishes. However, I use red bell peppers to add natural sweetness. “Toasting” rice improves flavor and texture. As the rice cooks, it swells as it absorbs liquids.|
||Add all to pot; gently stir to deglaze the pan. Increase heat to high to bring to a boil; cover (a glass lid works well for monitoring) and promptly reduce heat to hold at a simmer, occasionally stirring until rice is tender (~18 minutes). Meanwhile…||Deglazing uses liquid to
release tasty bits. Simmering (versus boiling) minimizes texture-damaging turbulence.
||If using frozen shrimp, add to a 5-quart bowl; top with water to gently defrost. Transfer to a mesh strainer; vigorously shake to remove excess water. Stir shrimp into jambalaya. Cook, gently stirring, just until they turn pink (2-4 minutes, depending on shrimp size).||Never use precooked shrimp. It is rubbery. If not living on the coast, flash-frozen is an excellent alternative to fresh. Shrimp require close monitoring, as they overcook quickly. If they curl into a tight ball, they are overcooked.|
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