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Dad's Jambalaya

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Enjoy the smoky, spicy flavors of freshly prepared jambalaya that has evolved through several generations.

Dad's Jambalaya

  • Yield: 12 servings
  • Prep Time: 1 hr
  • Cooking Time: 1 hr 45 min


  • 1 large Spanish yellow onion, diced
  • 1 rib of celery, cleaned & large diced
  • 1 large red bell pepper, large diced
  • 2 lbs. headless peeled and divined shrimp cut in half (16-20)
  • 2 lbs. smoked andouille sausage
  • 1.5 cups rice
  • 1 cup cream of celery soup
  • 1 cup cream of chicken soup
  • 1 cup French onion soup
  • 2 cups water
  • Salt and pepper to taste, when completed
  • 1 bunch of bias cut scallion (garnish)
  • Tabasco sauce (garnish)


  1. Combine all ingredients in a serving vessel – I use a Le Creuset 8-quart casserole dish.
  2. Cook in a preheated oven at 350°F for 30 to 90 minutes, the key is to make sure the rice is fully cooked. I personally the love crispy edges, so I leave it in an extra 10 to 15 minutes.
  3. When you take the dish out of the oven, it is impossible to eat right away – be careful not to burn yourself.
  4. Stir the jambalaya, while giving the dish a little salt and pepper. The reason you don't season the dish to start is twofold – you don't want the rice to dry out too much, and you don't want to reduce it too much and have it end up salty. I never scrape the edges in this process, as this is the best part and you do not want to mix in the “gold”.

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In our house, there were only two things that could keep you warm during a cold winter night: a fireplace and the smoky, spicy flavors of freshly prepared jambalaya. One of the first memories I have of eating as a kid is burning my lips on hot jambalaya rice. I can remember my dad calling out to warn me it was hot, and of course, being a typical kid, I went right for it.

My dad’s jambalaya recipe has a “cult following” within our family circle, and it has always been a real treat for everyone to enjoy a dish that’s been passed down for generations – he only makes it on special occasions. In anticipation of every holiday and birthday growing up, I would consistently jump at the chance to help him prepare jambalaya, eager to learn why the dish was unique.

Being in the kitchen with my dad has always been special and a true representation of a “labor of love,” as we would work together and stay true to the process he learned from his grandmother as a child. Even though all ingredients were eventually combined, I vividly remember that we would keep each separated in containers, simply because it was a tradition. It was always fun to peel shrimp in an “assembly line” where my dad would butterfly the shrimp, and I would clean them and cut them in half. We have always used fresh shrimp; frozen shrimp leak too much water and become dry and rubbery.

It was a joy to learn cooking tips rich in tradition, many of which I apply to my everyday life as a chef at Chicago Cut Steakhouse. I am excited to share a delicious and comforting recipe that has evolved in our family through several generations, in the hopes it can become a tradition for yours.


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