With the cold weather firmly planting its flag across most of America, I figured it was time to spice up my family’s life with some jambalaya last weekend. Overall, I am not a huge fan of Cajun flavors and jambalaya is high up on the list of things are very hit or miss with me.

If I see it on a menu, I avoid it. Okra and I don’t get along, the flavor is down there on the list with black licorice and allspice. So making my own is a high priority if I am going to eat it.

If you are like me and bend the traditional recipes to fit your own pallet, high five. Why suffer through eating something you made because it’s how it is supposed to be?

Andouille sausage? No thanks. Give me some nice smoked kielbasa over that any day.

Tough chicken pieces just in the way of the sausage and shrimp? Axed.

Really it just comes down to what you like. If anything, recipes are guides to help you along in the direction you want to go, but need a smaller road map to get you there. But I have been preaching that for years, so what else is new?

In any case, I thoroughly enjoyed this Cajun jambalaya and hope you do too!


Cajun jambalaya

1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1 onion, chopped

1 green bell pepper, chopped

1 tablespoon paprika

1 tablespoon oregano

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1 package smoked kielbasa sausage, sliced

8-20 cloves marinated garlic (I got mine from an olive bar. Mild flavor. If using fresh use 2-3 cloves minced)

1 can tomato sauce

4 cups beef stock

1 1/2 cups short grain white rice

1 lb. medium shrimp, peeled and deveined


1. In a large pot over medium heat, heat oil. Add onion and bell peppers, season with salt and pepper. Cook until soft, about 5 minutes.

2. Stir in andouille sausage, garlic, oregano, paprika, cayenne pepper and tomato sauce and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute more.

3. Add beef broth and rice. Reduce heat to medium low, cover with a tight fitting lid, and cook until the rice is tender and the liquid is almost absorbed, about 20 minutes.

4. Add shrimp and cook until pink, 3 to 5 minutes.

5. Enjoy!