Shrimp Jambalaya

I had never heard of Jambalaya, but it looked delicious when I saw Shrim & Crayfish Jambalaya on REMCooks. (Kees had heard of it, because it is the title of a Carpenters song. Go figure.) I decided to try it, and I am glad that I did because it turned out to be absolutely delicious. Thanks Richard, I will definitely make this again.

Jambalaya is a creole version of paella from Louisiana. The recipe I used is mostly Richard’s, with a few changes. For instance, crayfish is not easily available around here so I made it with shrimp only. I like to use the whole animal, and so I made the stock from the heads and shells of the shrimp. This dish is easy to make and has great depth of flavor. I used the low end of the amount of cayenne and white pepper as specified by Richard, and it had just the right level of heat. You should try it. You’ll love it even if you like it only half as much as we did.


For 2 servings

500 grams (1.1 lbs) medium shrimp with heads (or 250 grams (0.55 lb) peeled shrimp)

120 grams (3/4 cup) rice

1 Tbsp olive oil

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper

1/8 tsp white pepper

1/2 tsp black freshly ground pepper

2 Tbsp butter

200 grams (1/2 can) of peeled tomatoes, pureed in the food processor

4 green onions (scallions), thinly sliced

1 onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 green bell pepper, diced

1/2 tsp dried thyme leaves

2 Tbsp minced fresh flat leaf parsley

1 bay leaf

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper


Peel the shrimp, reserving the heads and shells. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and sauté the shrimp heads and shells until they are pink all over.

Add 500 ml (2 cups) of water.

Add the stems from the parsley (optional). Bring to a boil.

Lower the heat and allow to simmer until reduced to 250 ml (1 cup), about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, season the shrimp with 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper, and 1/8 tsp white pepper.

Work the seasoning into the shrimp.

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed.

Strain the shrimp stock once it is done.

Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF.

Heat the butter in a small casserole and add the pureed tomatoes.

Cook over high heat, stirring constantly, until the tomato sauce is thick and starts to ‘break’. This means you can see red butter leaking out as in the picture.

Add the green onion, onion, bell pepper, thyme, garlic, parsley, and bay leaf.

Cook over high heat for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.

Then add the shrimp stock…

…and the rice.

Stir and bring to a boil.

Cover the casserole and put it in the oven at 180ºC/350ºF for 15 minutes.

Take the casserole out of the oven and add the shrimp.

Stir, cover again, and return to the oven for 5 minutes, not more. The shrimp cooks very quickly. If you cook it too long, it will dry out and become tough.

Use a ring mould to plate the jambalaya nicely on a warm plate. Remember to remove the bay leaf.

Sprinkle with parsley for garnish.

Wine pairing

This is great with a nice sauvignon blanc. We enjoyed it with a Sancerre, and squeezed a bit of lemon juice on the jambalaya to brighten up the flavors and make it work with the wine even more.


Two years ago I blogged about a very handy trick: how to let aerate a bottle of wine in less than a minute using a blender. It works like a charm and I still use it often. The best part is the shocked look on people’s faces when they see someone they think is a connoisseur pour expensive wine into a blender 🙂 But it actually works, too.

26 thoughts on “Shrimp Jambalaya

    1. Hi. Happy belated Valentine’s Day to you and Kees.

      Have you ever heard of or had Shrimp Étouffée?

      When I worked in Beaumont, Texas, located near the Louisiana border, I was introduced to Shrimp Étouffée, a Cajun dish. I stood in line at the buffet table and served myself. On my plate I poured a big ladle of the étouffée (that’s the shrimp part of the dish made with roux) and then added a big scoop of white rice on the side. The cook said to me “Honey! Shrimp Étouffée is always served over the rice!” in her heavy accent of Beaumont, Texas. “Oops.” I said.


  1. Great recipe and beautiful presentation with the ring mold. I remember the first time that I tried Jambalaya – it was at a Halloween party in Texas when I was eight years old. The family was from Louisiana, a neighboring state. I have never thought of it as a cousin of paella… come to think of it, there really is nothing night a safron-scented, Valencian paella. Which do you prefer: paella or jambalaya? Lovely flavor combinations here, Stefan.


  2. I just came back from the US and brought back some cajun spices with me. I lived in New Orleans for several years and your recipe is perfect. Your presentation adds a lot to the attractiveness of the dish! You are always so passionate and creative…


  3. Jambalaya is such a a favorite and Ricard’s recipe caught my eye, too. Like you, though, I’d cut the level of spice. He and Baby Lady have a higher tolerance than I. 🙂 Your post has has inspired me to move Richard’s recipe up closer to the top of my “must do” list. It just looks so darn good!


Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.