Nothing warms a chilly winter day more than a meal made in a slow cooker. The smell of this meal cooking during the day will have the kids anticipating the hearty dinner all day long. This jambalaya recipe from Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Slow Cooking: Recipes and Techniques for Delicious Slow-Cooked Meals combines chicken, seafood, and ham with rice. The children I care for have always shared the same meals as the adults and this recipe satisfies the entire family and it’s not too spicy for kids. This recipe can easily be doubled to serve a crowd.
2 Tbs. unsalted butter
3 Tbs. olive oil
12 large shrimp, about 10 oz. total, peeled and deveined
2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, each 4 to 6 oz., cut into
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 jalapeño chili, minced
2 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 cup long-grain rice
2 cups chicken broth
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
6 oz. smoked ham, cut into cubes
1 tsp. sweet paprika
1 Tbs. chopped fresh thyme
Pinch of cayenne pepper, or more, to taste
What to Do:
1. In a large fry pan over medium-high heat, melt the butter with 1 Tbs. of the olive oil. Add the shrimp and cook until opaque, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
2. Add the chicken to the pan and sauté until browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer to the plate with the shrimp.
3. In the same pan over medium-high heat, warm the remaining 2 Tbs. olive oil. Add the onion, bell pepper and celery, and sauté until softened but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and jalapeño and cook for 1 minute.
4. Transfer the onion mixture to a slow cooker. Stir in the tomatoes, rice, broth and a pinch of salt. Cover and cook on low according to the manufacturer’s instructions until the rice is tender, about 3 hours. Add the shrimp, chicken, ham, paprika, thyme and cayenne. Stir well, cover, turn off the cooker and let stand until warmed through, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and black pepper.
5. Spoon the jambalaya into warmed bowls and serve immediately. Serves 4 to 6.