As the weather continues to chill and we approach winter my crock pot is working harder to provide warm and nourishing meals for me and my family. What would be better to warm up a chilly Sunday afternoon than a nice hot bowl of jambalaya over rice? This pot started out as a Vegan Jambalaya , but as we got closer to dinner time we decided to add shrimp to the mix. Living near the shore has it’s benefits, even in winter. We were able to go out and buy Atlantic Shrimp that was caught that morning! You can certainly use frozen shrimp for this recipe, but if you have fresh available, go with fresh!
Jambalaya is a Louisiana Creole dish with both French and Spanish origins. It is traditionally made in three parts, with meat and vegetables, and is completed by adding stock and rice. The meats of choice can be sausage, chicken and shrimp or any combination and sometimes all three. Creole cooking like French cooking starts with a mirepoix (meer-PWAH) only instead of the French carrot, onion and celery mix, the Creole mirepoix is celery, peppers, and onions. What I fixed here is more of a “Cajun” jambalaya. I cooked the vegetables and shrimp separately from the rice. In Cajun Jambalaya the rice is added to the meat and vegetables before serving. This is also called “white jambalaya” it is a quick way to shorten cooking time. Some might be inclined to call this an étouffée, but I decided it was jambalaya as I opted to use big chunky veggies.
This jambalaya is a bit of a fridge cleaner, I really made some room in my freezer with this pot. I start by setting my crock pot on high and warming some oil. Next I dice up a fresh sweet onion and two sticks of celery leaves and all and toss that in the oil on the bottom. Then I build the pot with lots of vegetables from my freezer; broccoli, zucchini, yellow squash, Lima Beans, three shades of bell peppers, cauliflower and carrots. Next I toss in the entire contents of a can of dark red kidney beans, fire roasted tomatoes and a jumbo can of crushed tomatoes with oregano and basil. Because I am using canned goods and vegetable broth, I did not add any salt. I left that to the individual at the table. Nobody touched the salt or the pepper at the table so I think it was the right call. This jambalaya is very versatile. It can be served as just a vegetable stew, but add a little heat with some Louisiana Hot sauce and it with take you to New Orleans.
- 1 large Sweet Onion, diced
- 2 sticks celery, finely diced
- 1 T Olive Oil
- 1 can Fire Roasted tomatoes
- 1 can Dark Rd Kidney Beans
- 1 large can Crushed Tomatoes with Basil and Oregano
- 8 oz. Frozen Lima Beans
- 8 oz Frozen Mixed Peppers (red, yellow & green)
- 16 oz Frozen Normandy Blend (Broccoli, Cauliflower, Zucchini, Yellow Squash, & Carrots)
- 1 T Poultry Seasoning (Dried Sage, Rosemary, Nutmeg, Marjoram and Black Pepper)
- 1 tsp Cumin
- 1 T Roast Garlic Powder
- 1 T Herbs de Provence (Dried Oregano, Rosemary, Thyme, Savory, Lavender Flower, Basil, Marjoram, Fennel Seed, Parsley, Tarragon and Bay leaf)
- 2 C Vegetable Broth or Water
- Drizzle oil in the bottom of the crock and set the temp for HIGH
- Dice onion and toss in the oil
- Add all the frozen veggies and top with un-drained canned goods.
- Season generously with Poultry Seasoning, Cumin, Roast Garlic Powder, and Herbs de Provence.
- Stir in seasonings and add broth or water and stir together.
- Seal crock pot and cook on high for 2 hours and then lower to low until you are ready to serve.
- Optional: Serve with Louisiana Hot Sauce
To add shrimp to this meal, start by melting butter in a large saute pan, you want to be able to essentially cook your shrimp all at the same time so they need to all be in contact with the bottom of the pan. Melt your butter and stir in some minced garlic and let that cook a minute, then stir in a couple of healthy spoonfuls on the tomato broth off the jambalaya. Let that come to a bubble, this happens quick. Toss in your shrimp and spread them out.
Shrimp cooks very fast so you will need to stay with it. Give the shrimp a good toss to thoroughly coat them in the sauce and infuse them with flavor. Allow them to cook for about two minutes and then turn each one. The nice thing about working with fresh shrimp are the color cues. The gray side is raw the pink side is cooked. So you turn all the gray sides down and allow it another two minutes or so. Shrimp only requires about five minutes total to cook through, any longer and it will go rubbery on you.
Remove the pan from the heat and assemble your bowls. The finished dish is served with a scoop of brown rice and some jazzy Louisiana Hot Sauce. I use a half cup measuring cup as a rice mold, I just fill it up with my rice and level it off with the spoon, pack it down a bit and then tap it into the bowl and it comes out all perfectly shaped. I used brown rice, but long grain white rice will do the trick too as it is the traditional Creole rice of choice.
- 1 1/2 lb Fresh Shrimp, shelled and deveined
- 1 T Unsalted Butter or Vegan Butter
- 1 T Minced Garlic
- ¼ C Juice off the finished Jambalaya
- Sea Salt & Black Pepper to taste
- Melt butter in a large saute pan and stir in minced garlic and the juice from the jambalaya.
- Once the pan is bubbling toss in your cleaned shrimp and allow them to cook for 2 minutes on both sides.
- Toss your shrimp to make sure they are cooked through and covered in the seasoning sauce.
- Serve immediately!