It’s always a challenge to cook healthy especially for families that have so much going on. When we face this challenge, often we turn to our crock pot. One of our favorite recipes is for jambalaya. Originating in Louisiana, it is a combination of cuisines from many different countries.
Jambalaya is rich with flavor and a very versatile dish. Our recipe uses a vegetable mixture of onion, bell pepper and celery. This is often referred to as the “holy trinity” mixture that forms the basis for many Cajun dishes. It’s easy to substitute or add other vegetables to suit individual tastes.
Of course, we source our vegetables and fresh herbs from the Old Town Newhall farmers market. Tomatoes are big in this dish and we have wonderful vine ripened tomatoes year-round direct from Camarillo. Using high quality fresh farm-direct produce makes a difference.
Spice is huge in this dish. The Newhall Farmers Market has you covered as well. Village Organic Herbals brings the best teas and dried herbs and spices from around the world to our market. We use their Cajun seasoning mixture and smoked cayenne pepper to give this dish a kick. Spice levels can be adjusted for individual tastes.
Finally, the star of the dish is the meat and seafood. Sausage is always used in jambalaya along with a mixture of chicken or shrimp. Our recipe uses just shrimp but this can be modified to your tastes.
The Newhall Farmers market carries the best seafood in Southern California. But for meat, we turn to vendor Harvest Gathering Farm. They carry a wide array of locally raised beef, chicken, pork and lamb. All the meat is pasture raised. Sausage selections vary from week to week but thankfully any sausage will work for this dish.
We start this dish in the morning, leaving it in the crock pot all day. After a long day, we toss the shrimp in the crock pot and wait 30 minutes. While the shrimp cooks we make rice or pasta to go with the jambalaya. Alternatively, a good crusty baguette from market vendor Little’s Loaves and Boole’s is a great accompaniment.
1 cup chicken broth
1 onion, diced
3 stalks celery, diced
1 green pepper, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound sausage, sliced
4 cups fresh diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon dried oregano
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons creole seasoning
1-2 teaspoons smoked cayenne pepper
1.5 pounds shrimp, shell on
Salt and Pepper to taste
Add all ingredients (except shrimp) to crock pot. Stir well. Cover and cook on low at least 4 hours and up to 9 hours. Add shrimp to crock pot 30 minutes prior to serving. We recommend leaving shells on the shrimp as it helps protect the shrimp when cooking and adds flavor. You can run a knife into the shrimp and de-vein it prior to cooking while leaving shells on.
Pour the cooked jambalaya over rice or pasta. A nice green salad also goes well with this.
The Old Town Newhall Farmers Market is a certified Farmers market bringing Santa Clarita true farm direct produce and the finest food products available in Santa Clarita. It operates year-round, every Saturday from 8:30am until 1:00pm. It is inside the parking lot of the Old Town Newhall Library at 24500 Main Street in Newhall.
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