I received a rice cooker as a birthday gift several weeks ago - a gadget I'd been wanting for a while. Not only will it make cooking rice much easier, but most rice cookers now also double as steamers and can cook a whole range of things. I got my first use out of my new toy this week, making a big pot of jambalaya.
I searched around for recipes, and a few suggested that one could just dump all of the ingredients into the pot, hit "cook," and call it a day. I wasn't quite that brave, so I did some pan cooking to prep the ingredients, but the rice cooker did the great share of the work - and did so admirably. This meal ended up great - rich and meaty and flavorful and spicy. It was a great use for a new gadget and a meal I'll definitely make again.
Here's what I used: medium-grain rice, shrimp, kielbasa sausage (not pictured - oops!), sweet onion, green peppers, garlic, chicken broth, crushed tomatoes, worcestershire sauce, cajun seasoning, salt, and pepper.
You can use just about any protein you like - I used shrimp and kielbasa, but you could use just one or the other. Chicken and andouille sausage are also fairly common in jambalaya and worth considering.
First, chop up the vegetables. I like a fairly large, rough chop on the onion and bell pepper to make sure that they maintain just a bit of crunch in the mixture.
Many jambalaya recipes also involve celery. Kristin and I aren't celery fans, but if you are, feel free to chop some up and add it into the mix.
Saute the onion, bell pepper, and garlic over medium heat until they're just a bit tender and the onions are starting to get translucent. Don't overcook them, as they'll cook a bit more in with the rice.
In the rice cooker, combine the rice, crushed tomatoes, chicken broth, worcestershire sauce, the sauted vegetables, plenty of cajun seasoning, and some salt and pepper. Turn it on to cook and it will let you know when it's done. You may need to add some more liquid and set it back to cook a bit longer after the first time the cooker stops cooking - taste and make sure the texture is to your liking.
While the rice cooker does its magic, give the shrimp and sausage a quick chop, then throw them into a pan together with a dash of seasoning and saute just until the shrimp are evenly pink - don't overcook the shrimp or they'll get tough.
When the rice cooker is finished, stir in the shrimp and sausage, taste to check and adjust the seasoning, and serve up some hot jambalaya!
Recipe: Rice Cooker Jambalaya
Prep Time: 10 Minutes | Cook Time: 1 Hour | Difficulty: Easy | Servings: 10-12
- 3 cups medium grain White Rice
- 1 pound Shrimp
- 1-2 pounds Kielbasa Sausage
- 1 large Sweet Onion
- 2-3 medium Green Bell Peppers
- 2-4 cloves Garlic
- 1 large can (28 oz) Crushed Tomatoes
- 2 cans low-sodium Chicken Broth
- 2 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
- 3 tbsp Cajun Seasoning
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Chop onion and bell pepper into large pieces. Mince garlic. Saute over medium heat until just tender.
- In rice cooker, combine rice, chicken broth, crushed tomatoes, sauteed vegetables, worcestershire sauce, cajun seasoning, salt, and pepper. Set to cook.
- Shell shrimp if necessary. Roughly chop shrimp and sausage. Saute over medium-high heat until shrimp are pink. Do not overcook.
- When rice cooker is finished (check doneness and add liquid if necessary), stir in shrimp and sausage. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary.
- Serve hot.