FEB. 14, 2016 UPDATE: This recipe won the Readers’ Choice “Mardi Gras & Jambalaya” Award. Yahoo! Now that’s all the more reason for you to make it!
Laissez les bons temps rouler!
Let’s practice our Cajun French, our Louisianaise if you will, even if it doesn’t exactly kowtow to traditional rules of French grammar.
Because we’re going to Let the Good Times Roll, no matter what language we say it in. So say it with me: “less-say lay bohn tomh roo-lay.” Roll that r, start the party, make merry, and let the good times roll!
Why are we rolling with the good times? It’s the season of Carnival in New Orleans, in full swing with parades and revelry during the past several weeks. It all leads up to Mardi Gras — the final day of feasting and fun on Fat Tuesday which this year is Feb. 9. It is always on the last day before Ash Wednesday, when Lent begins.
And any Mardi Gras feast worth its green, purple and gold strings of beads will include the signature dish jambalaya, a New Orleans tradition. A meal in itself, jambalaya traditionally starts by sautéing a “holy trinity” of vegetables (celery, green bell peppers and onions), browning a variety of meats and/or seafood (chicken, sausages, pork, crayfish, shrimp), and adding seasonings, broth and rice for a final cook. When the rice is done, the jambalaya is ready.
It you’re thinking “paella,” you’re not far off track, because jambalaya had its origins in rice-based dishes in the Mediterranean countries of Spain and France, and it’s often thought of as New Orleans’ own version of paella with evolutionary influences from French, Spanish, Caribbean and African cuisines.
It’s party food — humble, fun and filling — and is endlessly adaptable to what you have on hand or would like to include.
Did someone say “adaptable”? That’s music to my ears. You don’t have to ask me twice to tweak something. Tweaking is my middle name! (No, not twerking…get your mind out of the gutter in the French Quarter.) So when Zatarain’s, the premiere New Orleans-based food brand, asked Sunday Supper tastemakers to put their own spin on jambalaya, I was ALL IN!
Zatarain’s, which started in Uptown New Orleans 125 years ago, is known for a variety of authentic seasonings and rice mixes — Spanish Rice, Yellow Rice, Red Beans and Rice, Caribbean Rice Mix, and of course, Jambalaya Mix, which comes in original, reduced sodium, or mild versions.
I grabbed the reduced sodium version (25% less sodium than the original), and thinking of how much I like fruit with my rice dishes, I decided to do a quasi-Hawaiian spin on it with pineapple and other tropical fruit. The seasoned rice mix allows you to get dinner on the table in about 30 minutes, so even those of us living outside of Louisiana can feel a part of the party on Tuesday.
Laissez les bons temps rouler! The party starts here!
Today our Sunday Supper tastemakers have taken up a challenge from Zatarain’s to present a collection of 20 creative, inspired versions of jambalaya for Mardi Gras. We know you’re busy, so we’ve tried to make it easy on you by starting with fast-cooking seasoned rice mixes, and authentic Creole seasoning blends. Take a look at our ideas, and maybe you’ll even want to create your own personalized jambalaya recipe! There are even more recipes on the Jambalaya Pinterest Board, so browse around for something spicy.
This week’s Sunday Supper recipes
Appetizers and Soup
- Chicken Jambalaya Soup from That Skinny Chick Can Bake
- Jambalaya Cajun Shrimp Bites from Daily Dish Recipes
- Skillet Jambalaya Dip from Life Tastes Good
- Tex Mex Jambalaya Taco Cups from Flavor Mosaic
- Chicken and Sausage Jamburritos from Cosmopolitan Cornbread
- Chicken and Shrimp Quinoa Jambalaya from Peanut Butter and Peppers
- Crock Pot Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya from Serena Bakes Simply from Scratch
- Crock Pot Creole Jambalaya from Flour On My Face
- Easy Jambalaya Stuffed Peppers from Renee’s Kitchen Adventures
- Hawaiian Jambalaya from Shockingly Delicious
- Jambalaya Lettuce Wraps from Magnolia Days
- Jambalaya Pasta with Crawfish and Sausage from Bobbi’s Kozi Kitchen
- Jambalaya Salad Bowl from Grumpy’s Honeybunch
- Jambalaya Stuffed Baked Potatoes from Fearless Dining
- Jambalaya with Shrimp and Crispy Wings from Feeding Big
- Portuguese Style Jambalaya from Family Foodie
- Spicy Chicken Jambalaya with Sausages and Green Beans from Panning the Globe
- Turkey Sausage and Shrimp Jambalaya from Cooking Chat
- Vegetarian Jambalaya Stuffed Red Peppers Casserole from The Wimpy Vegetarian
- Zatarain’s Roasted Chicken with Jambalaya Stuffing from Recipes Food and Cooking
- Plus Versatile Jambalaya Recipes plus Seafood Jambalaya Frittata from Sunday Supper Movement
Have you signed the #SundaySupper pledge to eat together as a family? Do it right here!
Join us around the family table for #SundaySupper
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Disclosure: All writing, photography and opinions are my own. This post is sponsored by McCormick in conjunction with a social media campaign through Sunday Supper LLC. Please join me in following and connecting with Zatarain’s on social media: website / Twitter / Facebook / Pinterest / Instagram. All writing, photography and opinions are my own, and thank you for supporting brands that I love.