Slow Cooker Jambalaya

Talk about a recipe that has been carefully curated. I created this recipe that combines the most delicious features of Creole and Cajun jambalaya into one succulent stew that also happens to be the easiest jambalaya to prepare in the entire world.

Slow Cooker Jambalaya

What’s Creole about my Slow Cooker Jambalaya is the red tomato broth. What’s Cajun about it is the use of Cajun spices. Either way, it took me years to put together this blend of several favorite jambalaya recipes to finally concoct what I can verifiably call the easiest, most delicious jambalaya on planet Earth. I will never let this recipe get away from me, even if I have etch it into stone.

I love slow cooked everything, especially this complex-sounding but gloriously easy to make version of jambalaya — especially for entertaining. That’s because although it sounds super-difficult to make to your guests, it’s not. In fact, Slow Cooker Jambalaya is actually fast, super-easy to throw together, for-sure-delicious to just about everyone, and certain to draw even my most introverted friends out of the house and around the hearth for a feast of spicy seafood, sausage, and chicken flavors that gets everyone in a mood to talk, socialize, indulge, and have a lot of fun.

Slow Cooker Jambalaya is Beyond Perfect for Entertaining

Dishes like jambalaya that look so celebratory are the best choices for entertaining friends because they include succulent ingredients like shrimp (and crab or langostines, which look so nice to top the stew, if you want to add some) that are a rare treat in tight times, so everyone gathers around to really savor this sublime stew, one meant to be shared with friends and family.

Even more enjoyable is that the work is so minimal. You can sit back and really enjoy your guests instead of hustling about the kitchen. That’s because you literally throw all the ingredients for Slow Cooker Jambalaya right into your slow cooker and set it to 7 and a half hours, then toss in the shrimp for 30 minutes, and you are done, done, done! Really! You can go and lie down or watch a good movie till your guests or family arrive for dinner and enjoy the aromas of your fine meal cooking–without having to stand and slave over a hot stove.

Slow Cooker Jambalaya is a great way, then, to treat your family and friends to something extremely special without a lot of prep, clean up, or have-to-dos, because there are rarely leftovers of jambalaya, I’ve found.

I serve it with crusty loaves of bread or thin, baked crackers with a biting cheese to contrast against that tomato broth and succulent flavors of chicken, sweet, spicy sausage, and seafood.

Why Slow-Cooked Creole Jambalaya is the Only Way to Go

The slow cooker, for me, is the only way to go with jambalaya because jambalaya is unique in that its gentle assortment of meats and seafood require little heat to cook them but the spices and hardier vegetables like peppers, celery, and onion take more time to draw out their flavors. So sous vide or slow cookery is ideal.

All this means your slow cooker tends to your delicious stew for you while you get to sit back and really play the host, knowing your slow cooker has got this covered. It’s gentle bubbling is exactly what you need to really draw out and blend together your cornucopia of Cajun flavors here with that very necessary low heat that draws out the flavors of the seafood, chicken, spices, and aromatics.

Authentic Creole Jambalaya

Do you know how to tell Creole from Cajun jambalaya? By the red or brown broth and the presence or lack thereof of tomatoes. Cajun jambalaya has a brown broth base with no tomatoes while Creole jambalaya utilizes tomatoes to create a tomato broth that is out of the world, powered by aromatics like green bell pepper, celery, onion, and, of course, the main stars — the andouille sausage, chicken, and tender shrimp.

I love a tomato-based soup myself, whether it’s vegetable soup, paella, or jambalaya. But I love the Cajun spices of Cajun jambalaya. So I combined the best of both worlds here, and what you end up with is a spicy, zesty, sausage, chicken, and seafood stew that warms you from your toes to your eyebrows with sheerly ambrosial deliciousness. One bowl of this is never enough. You’ll gobble down the first one, savor the second one, and contemplate a third one while undoing your belt to make room for more.

It’s THAT GOOD.

And if you love my Slow Cooker Jambalaya, you’ll really love my Shrimp Gumbo Recipe and especially my new Lazy Lobster Casserole with Buttery Ritz Topping — also a great dish for entertaining guests.

Splurge on San Marzano for Jambalaya

A jambalaya is a cultivated stew that deserves a few special ingredients in order to really create delicious flavor. With any dish where tomato or a base made from tomato (soups, stews, and sauces, stuffed tomatoes, etcetera, is one of the critical flavor ingredients, you must use a flavorful tomato to get maximum flavor. Just as you need good grapes for a fine wine, you’ll want to use a high quality tomato for your Creole jambalaya.

This means allowing yourself the indulgence of some slightly more expensive but oh-so-worth it San Marzano tomatoes (which can be found in your grocer’s canned vegetable aisle). I usually just buy their whole tomatoes and reduce them to a sauce or base. if you’re in a hurry, though, and wanted to make, say, a spaghetti sauce with chunks of tomato, you could combine both their sauce and whole tomatoes and reduce down only slightly. Same with this jambalaya base.

There really is no substitute for their quality except fresh red, ripe, on the vine tomatoes or heirloom tomatoes grown organically and with love, as San Marzano tomatoes are. If you find you need more tomato juice or broth, simply rinse the can to add more or have on hand a backup can of San Marzano tomato sauce, just in case.

Ingredients

  • 1 28 ounce can diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1 lb. skinless boneless chicken breast halves, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 lb. andouille sausage, sliced
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 large green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp dried parsley
  • 2 tsp Cajun seasoning
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 lb. frozen cooked shrimp without tails
Slow Cooker Jambalaya

How to Make Slow Cooker Jambalaya

Step 1: Prepare the ingredients by chopping and measuring everything out.

Slow Cooker Jambalaya

Step 2: In the slow cooker, combine the diced tomatoes with juice, cubed chicken, sliced sausage, chopped onion, green bell pepper, celery, and chicken broth.

Slow Cooker Jambalaya

Step 3: Season the mixture with oregano, parsley, Cajun seasoning, cayenne pepper, and thyme.

Slow Cooker Jambalaya

Step 4: Cover the slow cooker and set it to cook on Low for 7 to 8 hours, or on High for 3 to 4 hours.

Slow Cooker Jambalaya

Step 5: About 30 minutes before the end of cooking time, stir in the frozen cooked shrimp.

Slow Cooker Jambalaya

Step 6: Serve the jambalaya hot over cooked rice for a complete meal.

Slow Cooker Jambalaya

FAQs & Tips

How to Make Ahead and Store?

Jambalaya is extremely storage and freezer friendly, as long as you store it within two hours after serving. Otherwise, you risk spoilage and food-borne illness. Store jambalaya in a tightly sealed container. Even with grains and shrimp in it is a dish that freezes extremely well, and you can enjoy refrigerated leftovers up to four days and freeze other leftovers for as long as four months. Simply slow heat or microwave in a glass dish or pot and you’ve got a jambalaya that tastes just as good as the first serving did.

Tip

Jambalaya is a spicy, busy dish full of complementing and contrasting flavors–so simple chardonnays and sauv blancs pair well with this. And beer! In Louisiana, kids typically drink milk with jambalaya, perhaps to cool the palate after all that spicy deliciousness!

Trick

You don’t have to use shrimp. Au contraire! Langostines, prawns, crayfish, crawdads, you can get as inventive as you want with the seafood. Make a seafood jambalaya extraordinaire with crab, shrimp, and lobster if you fancy!

Tip

Creole cooks get really serious about their meat additions to jambalaya. They use andouille sausage, chicken thighs, and Tasso ham as well. So you can get as inventive as you want with your meats and seafood additions–experiment. You can’t go wrong much with this dish and proteins. Some chefs even use squid.

Tip

Remember Chef Anne Burrell’s motto “Brown food tastes good?” Chefs know brown bits are the flavor secret to virtually every good dish you can make (except white sauces). The brown bits are where the rich brown stock in Cajun jambalaya comes from. But brown bits from meat always make food taste good. So if you want to add an added dimension of flavor to this more Creole-based jambalaya,you could fry your sausage and brown the chicken first in an iron skillet. I’d begin with the sausage, then add in the quicker cooking diced chicken when its almost done.

Slow Cooker Jambalaya

Serving Suggestions

I love to serve this with a simple sauv blanc and my Blue Cheese and Onion Flatbread–the perfect accompaniment, I think, for the flavors of this jambalaya. Afterward, I continue to inspire this warmed- from-within feeling by bewitching my guests with some German Mulled White Wine and, for dessert, some Coconut Cupcakes.

Slow Cooker Jambalaya
Slow Cooker Jambalaya

Slow Cooker Jambalaya

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Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 20 minutes
Course dinner
Cuisine Southern
Servings 12
Calories 214 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 can 28 ounce can diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1 pound skinless boneless chicken breast halves, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 pound andouille sausage sliced
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 1 large green bell pepper chopped
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons dried parsley
  • 2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 pound frozen cooked shrimp without tails

Instructions
 

  • Prepare the ingredients by chopping and measuring everything out.
    Slow Cooker Jambalaya
  • In the slow cooker, combine the diced tomatoes with juice, cubed chicken, sliced sausage, chopped onion, green bell pepper, celery, and chicken broth.
    Slow Cooker Jambalaya
  • Season the mixture with oregano, parsley, Cajun seasoning, cayenne pepper, and thyme.
    Slow Cooker Jambalaya
  • Cover the slow cooker and set it to cook on Low for 7 to 8 hours, or on High for 3 to 4 hours.
    Slow Cooker Jambalaya
  • About 30 minutes before the end of cooking time, stir in the frozen cooked shrimp.
    Slow Cooker Jambalaya
  • Serve the jambalaya hot over cooked rice for a complete meal.
    Slow Cooker Jambalaya

Nutrition

Calories: 214kcalCarbohydrates: 4gProtein: 23gFat: 12gSaturated Fat: 4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 118mgSodium: 526mgPotassium: 505mgFiber: 1gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 383IUVitamin C: 13mgCalcium: 55mgIron: 1mg
Keyword chicken, jambalaya, sausage, shrimp, slow cooker jambalaya
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Slow Cooker Jambalaya

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