Two secret ingredients make this Wiscons-Style Jambalaya worthy of the Dairy State. This complete meal is ready in 30 minutes and uses just one pot!
Although I currently live in Los Angeles, I was born and raised in Wisconsin. This time of year, when all my friends and family back home (“Back East,” as they say way out here) post pictures of flannel-wearing, apple-picking fun, I get a little nostalgic for crisp, fall air and early-morning frost. I’ll be heading back there soon enough for a visit, but in the meantime, I decided to put an America’s Dairyland twist on an old Creole favorite: Wisconsin-Style Jambalaya. It’s full of flavors and ready to go in about 30 minutes!
Must Add Cheese
In Wisconsin, we tend to go around adding cheese to everything. Chicken? Throw some cheese on it! Potatoes? Cover them in cheese! Broccoli? More cheese, please! Rather than taking the obvious route of simply covering the Jambalaya in shredded cheese, I opted for the subtler addition of cheese-filled sausage: CheddarWurst®. If you’ve never had it, it tastes a lot like Polish sausage but has cheese oozing from the inside. To keep the cheese from oozing everywhere, I heat the links whole and when they are warmed, I remove them, slice them, and add them back to the pot. CheddarWurst® is typically sold in a pack of links (hot dog or bratwurst-sized links, not breakfast sausage links).
Must Add Beer
People in Wisconsin also love their beer. After all, Milwaukee is full of German immigrants. Schlitz beer was started here – “The beer that made Milwaukee famous.” So let’s add a cold one to the pot! Cook your rice in beer to keep things interesting and flavorful. If you don’t keep beer on hand you can find singles in many grocery stores (Note: It will probably be an oversized can).
Chicken and Shrimp
A few more notes on the ingredients: You can use whatever type of cooked chicken you like. Leftover rotisserie chicken is an easy option or try my simple method for skillet poached chicken. I used dark meat here because my husband and I prefer it, but chicken breast is probably a more traditional choice. For the shrimp, I always choose raw shrimp over pre-cooked. I find the pre-cooked shrimp gets rubbery if it is overcooked while the raw shrimp cooks in minutes and is juicy and succulent. I found raw shrimp that was peeled and deveined so it was no hard work to use it, but feel free to substitute cooked shrimp if that is your preference.
Spice to Taste!
I do not eat super-spicy food and this recipe reflects that with only a 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper. Add more to taste and serve with Tabasco as well to spice things up. But, if you usually shy away from spicy food, you will probably be able to enjoy this Wisconsin-Style Jambalaya without any problems!
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Yield: 8 servings
- 3 T. olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
- 3 stalks celery, finely chopped
- 1 large red bell pepper, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 ½ c. chicken broth
- 1 (12 ounces) can lager or beer
- 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes and juice
- 2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
- 1 ½ cups long-grain white rice
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper (or more to taste)
- 1 tsp. dried thyme or 1 T. fresh thyme
- 4 bay leaves
- 2 c. cooked boneless, skinless chicken
- ½ lb. medium raw shrimp, thawed and tails removed
- 1 – 14oz. Hillshire Farm CheddarWurst®
- Tabasco sauce, for serving (optional)
- Heat olive oil in a large stock pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onion, celery, and red pepper and cook until softened, 5-7 minutes.
- Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add broth, beer, diced tomatoes with juice, Worcestershire sauce, rice, 1 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. black pepper, cayenne pepper, thyme, and bay leaves. Stir to combine and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes. Add chicken, shrimp, and CheddarWurst®. Cover and simmer 5 to 10 minutes longer, until chicken, shrimp, and sausage are heated through and rice is softened.
- Remove CheddarWurst® and slice; return to pot. Remove and discard bay leaves. Serve with Tabasco sauce.