INSTANT POT CHICKEN & SAUSAGE JAMBALAYA

Not too long after I got my Instant Pot, I continued working to find different recipes that I could try in it. Jambalaya happened to be one of the things that came to mind after my trip to New Orleans back in September of last year. I’ve been tweaking this recipe for a little while now, and after incorporating the latest adjustments when I cooked it last week, I think it’s finally where I want it to be.

A hearty helping of this jambalaya will be packed with savory and umami flavors, with meats, vegetables, spices, and chicken broth all combining together.

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Instant Pot Chicken & Sausage Jambalaya
Makes 6 servings

12 oz. Andouille sausages, cut into 1/4″ slices
1 boneless chicken breast (~ 1/2 – 2/3 lbs.), cut into 1/2″ – 3/4″ pieces
1 lb. bacon
1 cup yellow onions, chopped
1 cup green peppers, chopped
1/2 cup scallions, cut into 1/4″ slices
3/4 cup celery, cut into 1/4″ pieces
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp Cajun seasoning
1 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1-1/2 cups long grain rice
14.5 oz. can of diced tomatoes
1-1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
~ 4-1/2 tbsp olive oil, additional as needed

Special Kitchen Items:
Instant Pot

Prep Work:

  • To help organize yourself during the cooking process, put your vegetables into two groups:
    1. Yellow onions, green peppers, celery, garlic
    2. Scallions
  • The container of scallions you can return to the fridge, as we’ll be adding that in at the very end.
  • Combine your Cajun seasoning, basil, thyme, sugar, and salt into one container and set aside.

Cooking:

  • To make large amounts of bacon, I’ve been a fan of baking it instead of using the stovetop. (Here’s an article I read through to get the technique.) I’ll include the oven method steps within this recipe, but if you’re going with the stove, you just need to have cooked bacon by the time that the jambalaya is done cooking in the Instant Pot.
  • Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Take a cookie sheet and lay down some aluminum foil on the surface. Arrange the entire package’s worth of bacon in the pan.
  • Bake the bacon for 18 – 22 minutes, varying the time based on how crispy you want the bacon to be. For me, I wanted the bacon to provide both the flavor as well as a bit of texture from the crunch, so I left it in the oven longer to crisp up.
  • Once the bacon is finished baking, transfer over to a paper towel-lined plate or cooling rack.
  • Turn your Instant Pot to the Sauté setting on “normal” level and put 2 tablespoons of oil into the pot. Wait until the display reads “HOT” before putting in the sausage slices.
  • Since the bottom of the Instant Pot isn’t nonstick, drop in a little bit more oil to make sure the sausage slices don’t cling to the surface (no more than a 1/2 tablespoon). Stir the sausage around to make sure the added oil can distribute.
  • Cook the sausage slices until they are browned on both sides, about 6 – 7 minutes. Stir every minute to prevent them from sticking to the bottom. To help regulate the heat level, I would periodically cycle between the “less” and “normal” setting. Make sure that the sausage is fully cooked before removing them out of the Instant Pot and over to a paper towel-lined plate.
  • Add in another 2 tablespoons of oil into the Instant Pot before placing your chicken pieces inside. Cook the chicken for about 2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds to make sure the pieces don’t stick.
  • Switch the Sauté setting to “less” before adding in the container of yellow onions, green peppers, celery, and garlic. Mix together to combine, and then add in your seasoning container along with the sugar and long-grain rice. Stir all that up as well.
  • Drop in the chicken broth, mix it one more time, and then add in the diced tomatoes.
  • (Very important: don’t stir the tomatoes into everything, just set them right on top. I learned the hard way that with the tomatoes being too thick, it prevents the Instant Pot from getting up to pressure before tripping the “BURN” sensor failsafe.)
  • Secure the lid of the Instant Pot, set your valve to “sealing,” and engage the Manual High Pressure mode for 5 minutes. We can now use the time while the jambalaya is cooking to finish prepping the bacon.
  • Take the bacon and cut the strips into 1/2″ pieces. I’m a fan of using the kitchen scissors over a container, since that saves me from needing to use up another knife and cutting board.
  • Once the Instant Pot has finished pressure cooking, allow for natural pressure release for 5 minutes before turning the valve to quick release the remaining pressure.
  • Carefully open up the lid and fluff up the rice with a fork. Add in the Andouille sausage, lightly mix together, and then return the lid back on for another 3 minutes.
  • Once that time has passed, open up the Instant Pot again and put in your bacon and scallions before lightly stirring everything together to combine.

Serving:

  • Plate or bowl, either one works out well. I ended up doing a quick garlic bread with a sourdough baguette I picked up from the market to serve on the side with the jambalaya.

Capitalizing on the “holy trinity” of onions, bell peppers, and celery, this jambalaya also loops in the smoky flavors from the Andouille sausage and bacon. I also enjoyed the slight bite of the fresh scallions added into the mix, along with the crunch from the crispy bacon pieces.

Using the Instant Pot, however, there is a fine line of overdoing the pressure cook, resulting in mushy rice and vegetables. Adjust your Manual High Pressure cooking time to achieve just the right balance for your taste, and you’ll be all set with this hearty Creole classic.

Categories: Recipes

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