Chicken and Shrimp Jambalaya with Pork and Alligator Sausage

I’d better be straight with you, right off the bat. I have no idea if this recipe qualifies as “authentic” jambalaya. Heck, I’m not even sure if I know what authentic jambalaya is. I’ve never wrestled an alligator while an old man in hip waders and a white handlebar mustache looks on in knowing silence. And my experience in New Orleans is limited to eating beignets from Cafe du Monde and hanging off a balcony in the French Quarter, footlong pink plastic Hurricane glass dangling dangerously from my fingers and a plastic gold-plated medallion inscribed with the words “Kiss Me, I’m Cajun” hanging sloppily around my neck.

My understanding of what truly makes a jambalaya a jambalaya, though, is in the rice-cooking technique. Whether you make yours with the completely awesome “Pork and Alligator Smoked Sausage” that your friend Patrick graciously brought all the way back to Maine for you to try after his last trip to The Big Easy, or you use the prepackaged andouille from your local Hannaford, whether you use a cut-up whole chicken or boneless skinless thighs, and whether you add shrimp, crawfish, or nothing at all, a good jambalaya always comes down to the rice.

Unlike other rice dishes, where the grain is cooked separately and then added to the other ingredients before serving, the rice in a jambalaya is cooked right in the liquid that’s created as you cook the other ingredients. Or in our case, a succulent slurry of chicken fat, sausage grease, herbs, spices, and chicken stock. Flavorful? You bet. And if you time it right, you can do it all in one pot.

You’ll be amazed when you take the lid off the Dutch oven, and find that your huge crock of par-cooked ingredients and crunchy grains of rice has turned into a fluffy, spicy, bright red bowl of Cajun-style magic. I have no idea if this is how they do it down South, but I know that it’s delicious.

Chicken and Shrimp Jambalaya with Pork and Alligator Sausage
Serves 8
There's plenty of room for substitutes and approximate measurements in this jambalaya; it all still turns into a big pot of magic, once the uncooked rice cooks in the flavorful sauce. If you can't find pork and alligator smoked sausage, andouille is a fine substitute.
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 20 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 20 min
1040 calories
69 g
398 g
32 g
112 g
8 g
671 g
1043 g
6 g
0 g
19 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Amount Per Serving
Calories 1040
Calories from Fat 285
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 32g
Saturated Fat 8g
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 6g
Monounsaturated Fat 13g
Cholesterol 398mg
Sodium 1043mg
Total Carbohydrates 69g
Dietary Fiber 4g
Sugars 6g
Protein 112g
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
  1. 2-3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  2. 1 3-1/2 pound chicken, cut into 8 pieces
  3. 2 onions, chopped
  4. 2 large celery stalks, chopped
  5. 1 red bell pepper, roughly chopped
  6. 1 jalapeño pepper, chopped
  7. 4 cloves garlic, minced
  8. 2 bay leaves
  9. 2 tablespoons paprika
  10. 1 tablespoon chili powder
  11. ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (or more, to taste)
  12. 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, finely chopped
  13. 1 pound Cajun-style smoked pork and alligator sausage (or substitute andouille sausage), sliced
  14. 3 cups long-grain white rice, uncooked
  15. 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
  16. 1 pound large raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
  17. 3 cups low-sodium chicken stock
  18. 1 bunch flat italian parsley, chopped
  19. 1 bunch scallions, sliced crosswise
  1. Cut chicken breasts in half crosswise. In a very large dutch oven over medium heat, fry chicken in vegetable oil in batches, turning often, until golden brown on all sides. Transfer to paper towels to drain.
  2. In the same pan with the oil and chicken fat, add onions, celery, red bell pepper, jalapeño pepper, garlic, and bay leaves. Cook, stirring often, until onions begin to soften and turn translucent. Add paprika, chili powder, cayenne pepper, and thyme. Stir to combine and cook until spices become fragrant and onions begin to brown.
  3. Add slices sausage, and cook until it just begins to brown. Add uncooked rice and stir, cooking a few minutes more until rice begins to toast. Add tomatoes, chicken stock, and shrimp. Stir well to combine, then add reserved chicken pieces, and stir well again. Bring to a simmer, then cover, reduce heat, and cook until all liquid is absorbed, about 20-30 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in chopped parsley. Serve topped with sliced scallions.

Malcolm Bedell is co-author of the critically acclaimed "Eating in Maine: At Home, On the Town, and On the Road," as well as the junk food blog "Spork & Barrel," and "Brocavore," a blog about food trucks and street food culture. His contributions include Serious Eats, Down East, Eat Rockland, L.A. Weekly, The Guardian, and The Huffington Post and his food truck, "'Wich, Please," was named "Hottest Restaurant in Maine" for 2015 by Eater. Finally, he finds it very silly to be trying to write this in the third person.


  1. It looks nice, I’d suggest adding some cubed smoked ham and salt pork (we call it Lardon in nawlins. Basically the same thing as the old Italian recipes call for. Deglaze with dry white wine to pick back up all the tasty carbon stuck to the bottom of the cast iron dutch oven you should really always use for jambalaya; if you prefer predictable results. And you should really toast your rice around this stage.

    I’d drop the jalapeño and replace it with a good tsp-tbsp Slap Ya Mama. (Or more)

    This is how this dish is made in Tangipahoa Parish anyway. Good eats!

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