This recipe has been in my family for over 40 years. I have changed some things from my Mom's version. Her's called for a lot of dried ingredients that I now choose to use fresh for. I won a contest with this a few years ago. It does take some time and work, but it is sooooo worth it! Don't let all those steps down there scare ya! 9 - 15 are just my tips!!!
1Boil and debone chicken, reserving all broth. I strain my broth and set aside. Sometimes I cook the chicken the day before and put broth in fridge. This way, I can skim off all of the extra fat.
2Cut sausage into small circles and cut up ham into small pieces. In a large skillet, brown sausage and ham. Cook for a while until most of the grease is cooked out. Remove meat from skillet. Add just enough chicken broth to cover bottom of skillet and stir, getting the brown drippings from the skillet stirred in (deglaze the pan, as my husband says). Add onion and bellpeppers. Saute until tender and add garlic at the end.
3Stir in flour. I never measure the flour, just stir in small smounts until liquid is absorbed. I usually transfer this mixture into a large stock pot at this time.
4Add remaining chicken broth and bring back up to temperature... hot, not necessarily boiling. You want a lot of juice, so you can add water or canned chicken broth as needed. I use the canned broth first and then a little water if needed.
5Add tomatoes (juice included), parsley, salt, pepper, bay leaf(s), thyme and cayenne. Bring to a boil.
6Add chicken, sausage and ham. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for about an hour... stirring occassionally.
7Add shrimp about 10 minutes before serving.
8Serve in a bowl over cooked white rice so you can get a lot of the juice. We eat regular saltine crackers with it. The crackers seem to be the right flavor combination for this.
9MY TIPS: I never measure anything. I just put as much of what I like into it. I love the sausage and the shrimp the best, so I usually add more of those.
10This makes alot, especially when you increase the ingredients, so I usually cook it in a large stock pot.
11I add a can of rotel, mostly for that little bit of spice. We love it a little spicy, so I add more cayenne. Most of the time I add 2 bay leaves.
12This recipe originally called for adding the rice raw and letting it cook with the jambalya.. DON'T!!!! That will make it thick and the juice is really good, so just pour in OVER the rice.
13Do yourself a favor and buy medium shrimp already peeled and deveined. I buy the frozen, cooked ones with the tails on. Thaw them and all you have to do is remove the tails which doesn't take long.
14You can wait until close to the end to add the chicken, but I think it will shred no matter when you add it.
15This always tastes better the next day, when the spices have set in overnight. You can freeze it if you want. I usually take some out BEFORE addng the shrimp to freeze if I know I have more than I need. Then for a quick meal, all I have to do is add some shrimp and cook some rice.