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Cajun Jambalaya

Photo of a pot of Jambalaya

This jambalaya recipe is heavily influenced by John Besh's recipe, with some changes.


  1. Combine the Cajun Seasoning ingredients and set aside.
  2. Heat a large dutch oven over high heat until it's hot, then reduce to medium. (I strongly prefer enamel coated cast iron, like Le Creuset or similar, but use what you have.)
  3. Add the bacon, both sausages, and lard to the pot. Break up the un-cased sausage with a wooden spoon. While the bacon and sausage is rendering, lightly salt and pepper the chicken thighs, then add to the pot once most of the bacon fat is rendered. Brown for about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the onions and caramelize (about 15 minutes), then add the bell peppers, garlic, and celery. Cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Add the rice, 3 Tbsp of the Cajun Seasoning (less if you want to cut down on the heat/spice), and Bay Leaves, and cook, stirring frequently, for 2-3 minutes. Optionally add the hot sauce, if using.
  6. Increase the heat to high then add the chicken stock and tomatoes. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
  7. While the pot is simmering, lightly salt and pepper the shrimp. At the end of the 15 minutes simmer, remove the lid and add the shrimp. Fold the shrimp into the mix. Turn off the heat, cover, and let sit for another 10 minutes.
  8. After the final 10 minutes, remove the lid, fluff, and serve.


  • 2 1/2 Tbsp Smoked Paprika (I like to use bourbon smoked paprika)
  • 1 Tbsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 Tbsp Kosher Salt
  • 1 Tbsp Celery Salt
  • 2 Tbsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 Tbsp Black Pepper
  • 1 Tbsp Onion Powder
  • 1 Tbsp Cayenne Pepper
  • 1 Tbsp Dried Oregano
  • 1 Tbsp Dried Thyme

Main Ingredients

  • 1/2 Lb Bacon, diced
  • 1 1/2 Lbs Andouille Sausage, diced
  • 1 Lb Pork Sausage, casings removed (I use spicy Italian sausage)
  • 3 Tbsp Lard
  • 4 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Thighs, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 Large Yellow Onion, diced
  • 2 Large Bell Peppers, seeded and diced (I use one red, one green for color)
  • 3 Celery Stalks, diced
  • 3 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 2 Cups Converted (Parboiled) Rice (Note: converted rice has been par-boiled so it cooks faster without over-cooking the rest of your ingredients. Uncle Ben's sells converted/parboiled rice, just look for the word "converted" or "parboiled" on the box)
  • 3 Dried Bay Leaves
  • 2 Cups Canned Crushed Tomatoes
  • 2 Cups Chicken Stock
  • 1 1/2 Lbs medium shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails removed
  • 3 Tbsp Cajun Seasoning (see below for recipe)
  • (optional) 1 tsp hot sauce (Crystal, Tobasco, etc.)

Cajun Seasoning

This will make more than enough for the recipe, so you'll have some left over. Store it in an empty spice jar and use it on fish, chicken, etc.