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The precise origin of jambalaya is not known, but it resulted from the contributions of several ethnic groups in and around New Orleans hundreds of years ago. Jambalaya has similarities to Spain’s paella, which is a rice dish brought to the Americas by Spanish colonists. As saffron is native to Southern Europe and the chief spice in paella, it was difficult to find in the New World. As a result, tomatoes were used instead to create what is now known as Creole jambalaya.
African, Caribbean, and French cooking styles and ingredients can be found in the various jambalaya recipes. The mix of cultures resulted in creating a versatile and tasty dish that has been the favorite of many in the deep South for centuries.
Creole Jambalaya vs. Cajun Jambalaya
There are two main kinds of jambalaya, Creole and Cajun. The difference can be found in their ingredients, primarily tomatoes. Creole jambalaya is more favored in New Orleans and the surrounding suburbs, while Cajun jambalaya is more popular in the rural areas of Louisiana.
Creole jambalaya, also called red jambalaya, features tomatoes. This dish is prepared with the vegetable trinity (bell pepper, celery, and onion) and meat. The meat often selected is smoked sausage (typically andouille) and chicken. After the vegetable trinity and meat are cooked, rice, stock, and tomatoes are thrown into the pot. The mix is brought to a boil, covered with a lid, and cooked until the rice absorbs the stock. The dish will have a reddish color because of the tomatoes.
Cajun jambalaya is different because it does not include tomatoes and is typically brown. The color comes from meat being first browned and caramelized in the pot by itself. The vegetable trinity is then cooked, then followed by stock and rice. After the addition of the stock, bits of browned meat are dissolved into the broth, resulting in the dish being brown. Cajun jambalaya will usually have a smokier and stronger flavor than Creole jambalaya because of the browning process.
The Crab Shack serves Cajun standouts like Chicken Jambalaya, Blackened Salmon served with Cajun rice, Steamed Crawfish, and Cajun Boils.
Lovers of fat, juicy crab and amazing seafood don’t have to drive to Baltimore, Ocean City, Hooper’s Island, or Annapolis anymore. Stay close to home and enjoy wonderful deliciousness all year around at around at the two locations below!
Our Crofton branch can accommodate a large party group, so if you are interested in reserving tables, please call (443) 302-2680.