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Stews, Soups & Chili’s – The Series – Gulf Shrimp Jambalaya

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    Stews, Soups & Chili’s – The Series – Gulf Shrimp Jambalaya

    Although I’ve previously cooked and written about Shrimp Jambalaya, it remains in my pantheon of favorite cooks and gets done in the regular rotation of dishes in my family’s house. What better dish then to have in this series? Along with Etouffee and Gumbo, the three sisters of south Louisiana cooking, they embody the blending of European and indigenous cultural cuisines, flavors and history. They are truly unique American dishes that I encourage everyone to try and enjoy.

    First a little primer for those not familiar with south Louisiana cooking. There are two main schools of thought on how to cook these stews with differing ingredient variations. First, and I would guess the original style, comes from Cajun country. Without getting into a lengthy history lesson, the Cajun people were originally transplants from the French colonies around Nova Scotia in Canada. They were essentially expelled by the British who took over the region and demanded they pledged loyalty to the King. Instead they high tailed it all the way to the rural swamplands of the Louisiana coast which they named Acadia and they thus became known as Acadians.

    After a period of time they learned how to live off the land and the bounty it provided either in the form of wild game, seafood or a variety of plant foods including rice. That and acquiring knowledge from the local indigenous population, Cajun cuisine arose. They brought with them classic French style cuisine and their stews tend to reflect the classic stews of France. Their form of Jambalaya then starts with some form of protein which is cooked until it’s caramelized, then a trinity of vegetables (always the same; onions, peppers and celery) are added, sweated down followed by the addition of stock and rice. Theirs tends to be a darker brown color due to the browned meat coloring of the stock and stew.

    The other primary cuisine of the region can be found closer to and within New Orleans known as Creole cooking. Creoles are a blending of peoples; some Cajun, some European, some blacks and some parts of indigenous natives. New Orleans is a blend of not only those peoples but of their individual cultures. That’s why New Orleans remains a mecca for food due to the fabulous varieties found throughout the city which clearly reflects this culture melting pot of flavors and cuisines.

    The Creole variation on Jambalaya (as well as most of their stews) involves the addition of tomatoes which were an import and not originally native to the region. They start with the trinity of vegetables and cook the meat along with them. Once all of that is incorporated and cooked down, they add the tomatoes, stock and rice. Once cooked it has a redder hue to the finished product and is often referred to as ‘red jambalaya’.

    My Jambalaya tends to be closer to the Creole version. I do like to start by using the Cajun technique of browning my sausage which also supplies the oil that I cook my trinity in. I like the flavor profile that comes from searing the meat first, followed by layering of the remainder. I keep the seasoning fairly straight forward with my choice of using Tony C’s instead of straight salt and pepper, and a few aromatics.

    One last thought before we get into the recipe is the stock. Traditionally stock is made from the protein profile of the meat that’s being used in the stew itself. Either beef or chicken stock is a mainstay but for shrimp I like to go all out and make my own shrimp stock. It changes the dish’s flavor profile versus using say chicken stock or plain water making it a more well-rounded seafood stew. If going through that added step is not something you want to do, then by all means substitute chicken stock in this recipe, it will come out delicious regardless.

    So enough said, let’s make us some Shrimp Jambalaya.

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    Gulf Shrimp Jambalaya

    Course. Lunch or Dinner.
    Cuisine. American – South Louisiana
    Makes. 6 to 8 servings
    Takes. Stew: 60 minutes’ prep and 60 minutes’ cooking time. Stock: 30 minutes’ prep and 2-3 hours simmering.

    Ingredients – Stock (optional)

    3-pounds medium 18-25 count shrimp, preferably with head on.
    1-carrot roughly chopped
    1-onion quartered
    2-stalks celery roughly chopped
    1-thyme bundle (2-3 leafy sticks)
    2-bay leaves
    1-teaspoon ground black pepper

    Ingredients – Stew

    3-pounds peeled deveined shrimp from above
    1-pound andouille sausage, cut into rounds (other pork sausage if you can’t source)
    2-bell peppers diced
    3-celery ribs diced
    1-large white onion diced (reserve a quarter cup for garnish)
    3-4- green onion diced (divide in half for cooking and garnishing)
    1-can diced roasted tomatoes (28-ounce)

    2-tablespoons of Tony Chacheres seasoning (or Kosher salt & black pepper)
    3-4 cloves garlic minced
    1-teaspoon cayenne pepper (or more if you want it spicier)
    1-teasoon crushed red pepper flakes
    1-thyme bundle (2-3 leafy sticks)
    2-bay leaves
    2-cups long grained rice
    4-cups of shrimp stock (or stock of your choice)

    For Garnish:

    Reserved chopped white and green onions
    Chopped Parsley

    Directions – For the Stock (Optional)

    Remove the heads from the shrimp and place them in a pot. Remove the shells and de-vein the shrimp. Place the shells in the pot along with all the vegetables, seasoning and aromatics. Place the cleaned shrimp into a bowl with a few ice cubes and place into the refrigerator.

    Fill the pot with about half a gallon of water (8 cups). Bring to a boil then simmer between 2-3 hours. If a lot of scum forms on top you can skim it off but I generally just stir every 30 minutes or so and it dissolves.

    Once cooked down, strain off all the solids capturing your stock in another sauce pan. Return to a back burner on your cooktop and keep heated on low heat. Discard the strained solids. You will need half this batch for the stew and half I place into containers and freeze for another time.

    Directions - Stew

    Place your cut sausage pieces into a large enameled Dutch oven over medium high heat. Brown the sausage extracting its oil. If need be add a little cooking oil to help the process and add to the browning. Once browned add to the sausage the trinity of celery, peppers and onion. Sweat this mixture down for a good 7-8 minutes until it is all softened and aromatic. Season with half the Tony C’s (or equivalent salt and pepper) and the pepper flakes.

    Next add the garlic and allow to cook for another 2-3 minutes. Follow that with the whole can of tomatoes and the cayenne seasoning. Once incorporated stir in the rice and mix well.

    Add 4 cups of the reserved shrimp stock, the bay leaves and thyme bundle. Give it a good stir and allow to simmer covered for 25-30 minutes. Check about 10 minutes in and add the remaining Tony C’s to taste.

    In the meantime, remove the shrimp from the fridge and place in a colander. Give them a final rinse and remove any ice pieces. Once drained, give them a good seasoning with Tony C’s. After the rice is cooked and taken on most of the stock, add the shrimp to the stew. Continue cooking until the shrimp turns from a pale brown to bright pink or about 4-5 minutes. Do not overcook the shrimp, it will firm up further due to carry over in the stew. You want them to remain soft and succulent, not tough and rubbery.


    In bowls, garnishing with chopped onions and parsley. Serve with crusty bread or crackers and ice cold beer!!

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    Enjoy a true piece of Louisiana culture, cooking and cuisine as well as a true All American bowl of this delicious stew. As mentioned it is one of my very favorites. Take the time to make the stock, it ups the flavor profile to the next level.

    Until the next time, Troutman is again outta here !!!
    Last edited by Troutman; December 22, 2021, 01:19 PM.

    Lovely! Do you put tomatoes in your gumbo too? Many years I was married to a man of Acadian descent. Tomatoes never went in gumbo, but I think just about anything else could go in the pot. Excellent history and I'm certain it's a fabulous recipe!


    • Troutman
      Troutman commented
      Editing a comment
      Yea I tend to put tomatoes in all my Cajun dishes which really makes them Creole (a little of both I suppose). I even put them in chili. Just love the way tomatoes make the dish.

    • LA Pork Butt
      LA Pork Butt commented
      Editing a comment
      That would be the Creole cooking I grew up with in New Orleans.

    • CandySueQ
      CandySueQ commented
      Editing a comment
      Only dishes I put tomatoes in is shrimp creole and maqueshoo (sp?).

    Looks delicious!
    It has been my experience with head on shrimp that the head is 1/3 -1/4 of the weight. Do you compensate for this?


    • Troutman
      Troutman commented
      Editing a comment
      Yes to the shrimp. I normally only use about 2 - 2-1/4 pounds. I upped it to 3 to compensate for the heads. To be honest the amount of shrimp can be dialed up or down to your liking, it's more of an add on to the stew anyway.

    The write up is very interesting and enlightening but man is that a food something else.
    Oh boy.


      Steve, we have been throughly enjoying all your recipes. Kathy and I just wanted to say thank you for all your efforts. Many a cold night has been warmed by preparing one of your creations.


      • Troutman
        Troutman commented
        Editing a comment
        I'm honored by that Don. I do this to please myself and my family but if others get enjoyment out of it that's heart warming. Thanks for your kind remarks.

      • CaptainMike
        CaptainMike commented
        Editing a comment
        That was a helluva nice thing to say, Don.

      This looks awesome. Can't wait to try it. Also can't wait to get your take on Gumbo, as the only thing I like more than jumbalaya is gumbo. So no pressure or anything...


      • Troutman
        Troutman commented
        Editing a comment
        Thanks for liking this. I’ve done lots of gumbo write ups here so not sure I’ll be doing one here in this series. Here’s one I did a couple years back if interested;


      • Joey877
        Joey877 commented
        Editing a comment
        Outstanding. Thanks, I should have known (or at least suspected) and searched for that.

      Beautiful as usual. When i made the red beans and rice the other day i was actually thinking about making jambalaya instead. My recipe is very close to this one - i usually use chicken stock and i don't use Tony's but whatever cajun stuff i have on hand. They say great minds think alike; not that mine is so great, but seeing that one of my recipes is almost identical ti one of yours makes me proud!!!


      • Troutman
        Troutman commented
        Editing a comment
        Try the shrimp stock, it made a big difference 👍

      This looks fantastic. I'm definitely going to try this version.
      Last edited by 58limited; December 21, 2021, 05:36 PM.


        Excellent write up as usual, thank you.
        I used to make jambalaya all the time but only chicken or pork with sausage.
        If I put shrimp in jambalaya the ingrates would lose they're minds.
        Mines a mish mash of 3 or 4 recipes the major difference being I start with diced bacon in my stock pot, get it reducing then add the rice to get covered in the bacon fat.
        Then it pretty much mirrors your recipe.


          I would pair that with PBR.
          You Done Good,


          • Troutman
            Troutman commented
            Editing a comment
            I have, works well 👍🍺

          Originally posted by smokin fool View Post
          If I put shrimp in jambalaya the ingrates would lose they're minds.
          Oh my gawd, I dang near lost it on that one!!! Hilarious!




            • Troutman
              Troutman commented
              Editing a comment
              Baaaaahhhhhaaa lmao 😂

            Jambalaya is one of my favorites to cook...Thank you for the excellent write up...


              Troutman Thanks for your write up. I'll be doing this next week. I'm making some of Jean-Pierre's chicken stock today, but will make the shrimp stock for this. For a long time I've always marinated the shrimp in my different shrimp dishes and I'll try it that way this time. This is my shrimp marinade, do you think it'll be okay in your dish?

              1/4 cup EVOO
              1 tsp kosher salt
              1 tsp granulated garlic
              1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
              1/2 tsp of cayenne or chipotle pepper

              Mix together and add the shrimp, cover and refrigerate for 1 hour, no more.


              • Troutman
                Troutman commented
                Editing a comment
                If you go back through the ingredients all of those seasonings are already in the stew. I do season the shrimp with Tony C's prior to adding. Not sure what you propose really changes anything. That said, give it a try and report back. Maybe throw a few in unmarinated for a true taste test !!
                Last edited by Troutman; December 22, 2021, 01:18 PM.

              Just showed the GF… (yay, I’m back in SoCal for a couple days. LOL ) Anyway, it’s on the list and we’re both looking forward to making it. Thanks for sharing!



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