Everyone has their "comfort food" that they remember from their childhood. Mine was my dad's jamabalaya. His was a very intensive 2 day long version (or all day if he started early enough). Me? I don't have the time nor patience for it. I've made it once, but I just can't do it all the time. It dawned on me recently though that instead of making my own chicken stock, I CAN use premade stuff, and why not just throw it in the crock pot to let it do the work itself? Sounds like a plan to me! I used different veggies than I remember when I was a kid, but there isn't really a set veggie combo that you need to stick to, just whatever strikes your fancy (or is on sale!). Here's my version!
3-4 smallish carrots (or maybe 1-2 large? I used organic "rainbow" carrots in mine for fun)
1 whole green bell pepper
1/2 large onion (or a whole if you're an onion person)
1lb good smoked sausage (I use Fletcher's double smoked)
1/2 - 1 lb chicken breast
2-3 cups chicken stock
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
1 tbsp creole/cajun seasoning (I actually used the Famous Dave's seasoning, close enough, right?)
1 tsp hot sauce
1/2 tsp chili powder
2 tsp minced garlic (dried) or 1 tsp minced garlic (fresh)
2-3 cups uncooked rice
There is no specific size to chop your vegetables. I like mine a bit smaller, so I chopped all of my vegetables to around 1/2" to 1" size. Once rinsed and chopped, throw the veggies into the crock pot. Chop the sausage and chicken next. The sausage I chopped into quarters, then into about 1/2" pieces. Again, it's all a matter of preference. The chicken breast I chopped into about 1" pieces. Toss the meat in the crock pot next, then toss all the ingredients to mix them. Next, add the rest of the ingredients, minus the rice. If you are using regular rice (not the instant kind), you could probably throw it in right away. If you are using instant rice, wait until about an hour before serving (or maybe 2 if you've got it set to low), otherwise you will wind up with a mushy mess. A very tasty, mushy mess.
Unfortunately, this isn't one of those "set it and go" type crock pot dishes if you put the rice in right away. Once that gets put in, it needs to be stirred at least every hour or so to make sure it isn't burning to the bottom. If you throw everything else in though right away, then the instant rice an hour or two before serving, you should be okay.
Cook on high for 3-5 hours, or low for 7-9 hours.
-You could add some baby shrimp towards the end, maybe 15 or 20 minutes before it's ready? Could also add some lump crab meat.
This turned out just like I remember my dad's, and I didn't slave in a hot kitchen for a day or more to make it. My husband had family over when I made this, and they tried it, though skeptical, and decided that it was surprisingly delicious and went back for more. I had far more of it than I probably should have too.. SO worth it though!