Easy Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya is the ultimate Mardi Gras food, and a staple found all along the Gulf Coast, but especially in Southern Louisiana. You won’t believe how easy it is to prepare and it’s perfect for a quick weeknight meal with your family. Easy Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya is also a great make-ahead dish to serve company.
If you are wondering when Mardi Gras is, or what dates it begins and ends, technically Mardi (French for Tuesday) Gras (French for Fat) refers to Shrove or Fat Tuesday which is the day before Ash Wednesday. In reality, Mardi Gras refers to the Carnival celebrations that begin on January 6 (the Epiphany) and end on Fat Tuesday. Because it is tied to Ash Wednesday, which date is aligned with Easter, the date changes every year. For 2017, Fat Tuesday is on February 28. The colors of Mardi Gras are purple, green and gold (yellow), supposedly because of a visit to New Orleans in the late 1800s by Russian Grand Duke Romanoff whose family colors were purple, green and gold. Purple is said to represent justice, green to represent faith, and gold to represent power. Because the celebration is tied to religious dates, Mardi Gras is actually celebrated all over the world, but most notably in New Orleans. Biloxi, Mississippi, Mobile, Alabama, and Pensacola, Florida, cities east of New Orleans also actively celebrate Mardi Gras with krewes, numerous parades, and balls.
Looking for other Mardi Gras themed recipes to serve with this delicious Jambalaya? Check out my post: Ten Classic Mardi Gras Recipes.
Jambalaya was first prepared by early Spanish settlers who were trying to make paella with ingredients that were available in Southern Louisiana. Jambalaya is similar to Gumbo and Étouffée but doesn’t have filé or okra like gumbo, and unlike Étouffée it does include Andouille or smoked sausage. The other main difference is that Jambalaya is cooked with rice and Gumbo and Étouffée are both served over separately prepared rice. Of course, all are delicious in their own right, and all include the “holy trinity” in Cajun or Creole cooking which is celery, bell pepper, and onion.
The ingredients for Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya are olive oil, boneless, skinless chicken thighs, Andouille sausage, onion, celery, bell pepper, garlic, Creole seasoning, dried thyme, dried tarragon, uncooked long-grain rice, chicken broth and two cans of diced fire-roasted tomatoes. (Many cooks also add shrimp right before serving their Jambalaya. If you would like to include shrimp, you will need about a dozen uncooked, peeled and deveined large or extra-large shrimp.)
To make Easy Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya, gather the ingredients and heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, add the chicken and sausage and cook until browned on all sides, which will take about 10 minutes. Be sure to stir frequently to prevent the meat from sticking. When the meat is done, remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Set aside.
Add onion, bell pepper, and celery to the pan drippings and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, Creole seasoning, thyme and tarragon and continue cooking for another 5 minutes. Stir frequently.
Add the uncooked rice and stir until well combined. Cook for 3 minutes.
Add the chicken and sausage back in and then add the chicken broth and tomatoes. Stir well to combine and bring to a boil. Stir again, cover and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook covered for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Serve immediately. Leftovers, if you have them are also delicious the next day!