I taught this recipe at a webinar entitled “Healthy Eating for Busy People.” This topic is always a potential set-up because what I consider to be a “quick & easy” recipe may seem laborious and time-consuming to another person. I assure you, however, that even a novice cook with an Instant Pot and a sharp paring knife can throw this meal together with minimal effort, which is why it’s perfect for those weeknights when you’re tired and fed-up and all you want to do is curl up on your couch — ideally after downing a bowl of deeply nourishing comfort food (such as this meal).
As I explained at the webinar, this recipe makes use of several time-saving hacks I have developed over the years:
- It is a one-pot meal, which means you don’t have to juggle a skillet and one or two separate pots (while supervising your kids’ homework and unloading the dishwasher). One-pot meals also mean minimal clean-up — great news for the human dish-washer in your home.
- It’s cooked under pressure, which can be 3-4 times faster than cooking the same meal in a stove-top casserole. Pressure cooking also preserves nutrients better than other cooking methods, and intensifies the flavors of anything you cook in it. You don’t need an Instant Pot — even an old-fashioned stove-top pressure cooker will work, though what I like about the IP is that you can wander off and bathe your kids, make a call, or do whatever else you need to do on busy weeknights while the pot cooks your dinner, requiring zero supervision. (Very helpfully, it will even turn itself off automatically if it senses that the food is beginning to stick to the bottom, preventing serious burning. Alas, conventional pressure cookers do not do that, as I have learned the hard way.)
- This dish comprises lots of ready-to-use ingredients that require very little prep (and that you can always keep a basic stock of in your freezer, fridge, and pantry), such as cooked, smoked chicken sausage, peeled shrimp, and store-bought chicken bone broth. The only prep I do is chopping onions, garlic, peppers, and celery, though if you’re really starved for time, you can even buy these ready-prepped, fresh, or frozen.
- You can prep while you cook; I generally don’t like posting separate “prep time” and “cooking time” estimates in my recipes because I usually do both at the same time. For instance, here, I chop the onion, jalapeno, and celery while the andouille slices are cooking. Once I have added the onions, celery & jalapeno to the andouille — and while these are sauteeing together — I chop the peppers and garlic. Once I have added these, I add seasonings, measure out the chicken bone broth and add it along with the rice; etc. In total, you can expect to spend about 15 minutes chopping and sauteeing ingredients until you are ready to lock the lid; at that point, you can twiddle your thumbs until the cooking time (another 15 minutes total) is up. And if you are a slow chopper, ask a family member to help you prep the ingredients to speed things up.
One more thought: many “meals in minutes” recipes you see on the internet or in cooking magazines are based around refined carbs like pasta, bread, or pizza and contain little in the way of protein or vegetables since these tend to take longer to cook. With this recipe, I hope to show that you can make a perfectly balanced, deeply nutritious meal in roughly the same time. One serving of this speedy jambalaya supplies 30-ish grams of high-quality protein, a wide range of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory vegetables, herbs & spices, healthy fats, and low-glycemic, prebiotic parboiled rice (and not much of it, either, making this a lowish-carb rice dish). What’s not to like?
- Instant Pot or pressure cooker (6 or 8 quart) If you don't have an IP or pressure cooker, you can prepare this dish in a regular pot. Start (as described) by sauteeing all the ingredients on the stovetop over medium-high heat, and then bake, covered, in the oven at 350℉ for 30 minutes; add shrimp and return to oven for another 5-6 minutes until pink.
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 12 oz chicken andouille like Bilinski's (organic, no casing, pork-free) or Sprouts' "Butcher Shop" (pork casing, not organic) chicken andouille
- 1 yellow onion diced
- 2 stalks celery diced
- 1 medium jalapeno seeded (wear rubber gloves) and finely diced
- 1 tsp Creole seasoning I use Tony Cachere's
- 1 tbsp garlic minced; approx. 5 medium cloves
- 3 medium bell peppers any color, but try to include at least one green pepper; seeded and diced
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme or 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tsp smoked paprika powder
- ⅔ cup Ben's Original parboiled rice make sure it says "Original" on the package
- ⅔ cup chicken bone broth
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 lb medium shrimp peeled; if frozen, defrost, rinse and drain well before using
- ½ cup parsley chopped
- a squeeze of fresh lemon juice
- splash of fish sauce optional; Thai or Vietnamese; my favorite brand is Red Boat
- Warm the Instant Pot on SAUTE, HIGH, and add the olive oil. Saute the sausages (whole) until they are browned all around (4-5 minutes). While this is happening, chop the onion, celery, and jalapeno. Once the sausages are browned on all sides, transfer them to a plate with kitchen tongs.
- Add the chopped onion, celery, and jalapeno to the remaining cooking fat in the pot and stir to combine. Scatter with Creole seasoning. Saute until the onions are translucent (5-6 minutes), stirring regularly, while you chop the peppers and peel & mince the garlic.
- Add the chopped peppers and garlic to the pot, and stir to combine. Saute these for 2-3 minutes while adding bay leaves, thyme, and smoked paprika powder. Stir to combine.
- Add the rice, chicken bone broth, and Creole seasoning to the pot and stir to combine. Top with tomato paste BUT DON'T STIR (tomato paste burns easily in the Instant Pot). Lock the lid and program to cook on HIGH PRESSURE for 5 minutes. In the meantime, cut the cooled sausages into 1/3-inch slices.
- Once the cooking time is up, let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes, then release the remaining pressure by shifting the pressure valve to VENTING. (Cover the valve with a towel to prevent steam from going all over the place.)
- Stir the sliced sausages and raw shrimp into the hot stew and cook on SAUTE, HIGH for 2 minutes, or until they are cooked through, depending on the shrimps' size (don't overcook or they will turn rubbery). Other seafood such as scallops, squid, or mussels (frozen or fresh) also works well here.
- Season to taste with salt or fish sauce (if using), pepper, and a generous squeeze of lemon juice. Stir in most of the chopped parsley and sprinkle the remaining 1-2 tbsp on top.
- Serve immediately. (This gets even better after a night in the fridge, so why not double up and make some leftovers?). Freezes well.
- Feel free to substitute chicken sausage with pork sausage, though bear in mind that it's likely to provide less protein and more fat.
- Instead of shrimp, feel free to use other seafood like scallops, squid, or mussels, fresh or frozen.