I've been on a Cajun food kick lately and tonight I am making jambalaya. It's easy and healthy to boot. I live in North Texas so Cajun food is not unknown here. Since I live so far out in the country though there aren't any restaurants for at least an hour, so of course I've been teaching myself how to cook Cajun!
I personally believe Jambalaya is one of the easiest Cajun dishes to make. The main secret to Cajun cuisine is the trinity of vegetables- celery, onion and bell pepper. I personally get irritated by all these people who create Cajun dishes but leave out one of the three veggies, usually celery. The veggies are also cooked until they are completely soft and create their own sauce from the juices.
In jambalaya the most common meats used are Andouille sausage, shrimp and chicken, although any good Kielbasa type sausage is also acceptable. I use a German sausage from Fischer's Meat Market in Muenster, Texas. I don't often add chicken and shrimp, although if I have leftovers from another meal I would certainly add them.
1 package of kielbasa type sausage (diced)
1 large white onion (or 2 med, 3 small) (diced)
1 green bell pepper (diced)
3-4 celery ribs (diced)
2-3 garlic cloves (minced)
1 - 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
1-2 Tbs butter
1/2 tsp thyme
1 c water
1 c rice
1 tsp chicken base (or 1 chicken bouillon cube)
In a Dutch oven, brown sausage in olive oil. Once browned add butter and veggies, season with salt and pepper, and cook until veggies are completely soft and significant amount of broth has developed in pan (adding a little salt helps draw out the water in the veggies). I like browning the meat first because the broth from the veggies helps deglaze the pan and give it more flavor.
Add thyme, a couple dashes of Tabasco (to your liking), water, base, and tomatoes. Simmer for a few minutes to help incorporate the flavors, then add the rice. Cover and cook 20 minutes until rice is cooked and water is absorbed. Cool for about 10-15 minutes and serve!