My freshman year of college was a hard one. I struggled fitting in, being away from home and figuring out exactly what I wanted to do with my life. There were a lot of tears, and a lot of weekends spent driving or taking the train home. While it was a tough year, I’ll forever be thankful for it because it brought me two of my best friends, Callista and Alyssa. Callista lived across the hall from me and Alyssa was one of three of my roommates that year.
Alyssa and I both look back on our friendship often and will both admit we never thought we’d be friends. Like never. On the surface, we couldn’t have been more different – she was a crazy party-girl and I never went to a single party in high school (my friends and I were homebodies). The funny thing is, we ended up having so much in common and became pretty much inseparable throughout college. We connected on our love for imitating people and talking in goofy accents, our scary-similar taste buds, but most importantly, we bonded over our “long-distance” relationships at the time (both still going strong). I don’t know what I would’ve have done without her and I can’t even begin to explain how much her friendship means to me. Her zest for live is contagious and we always have the best time together.
All right, before I start bursting into tears, let me transition to the real subject of this post: jambalaya. After Alyssa and I would return back from weekends at home, Alyssa would often bring back a leftover batch of her mom’s jambalaya. This stuff was like crack it was so delicious. I don’t know why, but she’d always share it with me (if it were me, I would’ve kept it to myself, but I’m not complaining).
I believe Alyssa’s mom’s rice base was Zatarain’s jambalaya mix (mama Marlew, correct me if I’m wrong) and she’d add delicious jumbo shrimp and Andouille sausage. It was always my favorite Sunday night when Alyssa would bring it back with her. Below is my homemade take on her jambalaya. It’s super easy and only takes two pots to make, which means less dishes to clean. Can I get a hallelujah? If you end up making this jambalaya, don’t forget to tag your photo with #marinamakeseats!!
Two Pot Jambalaya
- 2 1/2 tablespoons of paprika
- 2 teaspoons of cayenne pepper
- 2 tablespoons of oregano
- 1 teaspoon of onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
- 1 teaspoon of salt (more to taste)
- 1 1/2 cups of uncooked brown rice
- 4 1/4 cups of chicken broth, divided
- I can of diced tomatoes, drained
- Half of a 13 oz package of andouille sausage
- 1 chicken breast
- 10-12 shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1 serrano pepper, seeds and ribs removed
- 1/4 cup of diced red pepper
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
Mix (insert seasonings) in a small bowl. Place the chicken and shrimp in a Ziploc bag with two tablespoons of olive oil and two heaping tablespoons of seasoning. Close the bag and squish everything together to ensure the meat and shrimp have enough seasoning. Place in the fridge for 30 minutes to an hour to soak in the flavor.
Next, using a medium saucepan, begin cooking the rice according to the instructions on the bag, substituting water with chicken broth (about 3 1/4 cups). When rice is done cooking, fluff and set aside, leaving the cover on to steam the rice.
Heat a large pan or dutch oven over medium-high heat. Place slices of sausage in the pan and brown on each side (About 3-5 minutes per side). Lower the heat and take the sausage out, setting it aside. Next, cook the seasoned chicken breast until cooked through. When the chicken is almost done cooking, place the seasoned shrimp in the pot and cook for about 1-2 minutes per side, or until the shrimp turns pink (try to avoid overcooking).
Remove the chicken and shrimp from the pan. Chop the chicken into bite-size cubes and set aside.
Add two tablespoons of olive oil, chopped serrano pepper and chopped red bell pepper to the same large pan/dutch oven you used to cook the meat and fish. Cook peppers until they soften a bit, about 6-7 minutes. Add minced garlic, cooking for another minute.
Next, add the drained diced tomatoes, remaining spices and a cup of chicken broth. Bring the liquid to a simmer, and then add the cooked rice, stirring to combine. Remove from the pot from the heat and stir in the chicken, shrimp and sausage.