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Creole-Style Shrimp Jambalaya

Scott Phillips

Servings: 6

A creole-style (red) jambalaya always includes tomatoes. I like using tomato paste instead of canned or fresh tomatoes because it adds deeper flavor and gives the finished dish a rich hue. The shrimp are cooked for a long time, which may seem odd, but this method yields a flavorful jambalaya with tender—never mushy—shrimp. If you can find head-on shrimp, this is the place to use them; just remove and discard the heads at the point in the recipe where you peel and devein the shrimp. Watch the video of how to make this recipe step by step.


  • 6 scallions, thinly sliced (about 1 cup), trimmings reserved
  • 3 medium stalks celery, finely chopped (about 1 cup), trimmings reserved
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup), trimmings reserved
  • 2 lb. large (31 to 35 per lb.) shrimp, preferably wild-caught
  • 2 oz. (4 Tbs.) unsalted butter
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and finely chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1/4 lb. ham, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 3 Tbs. tomato paste
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne
  • 1/8 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/8 tsp. ground allspice
  • Pinch of ground cloves
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 cups long-grain white rice
  • 1 tsp. sweet paprika
  • Hot sauce, preferably Crystal (optional)

Nutritional Information

  • Calories (kcal) : 530
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 100
  • Fat (g): 11
  • Saturated Fat (g): 6
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 1.5
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 3
  • Cholesterol (mg): 255
  • Sodium (mg): 760
  • Carbohydrates (g): 62
  • Fiber (g): 3
  • Protein (g): 41


  • In a 4-quart heavy-duty saucepan, combine the scallion trimmings, celery trimmings, and onion trimmings with 5-1/2 cups of water; bring to a boil over high heat. Add the shrimp, let the water return to a boil, and cook until pink and cooked through, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and let sit for 3 minutes. Strain through a sieve set over a large glass measuring cup, reserving the stock. You will need 4-1/2 cups of stock, so add water if necessary. When cool enough to handle, peel and devein the shrimp. Discard the shells and trimmings.
  • Melt the butter in a 5- to 6-quart enameled cast-iron Dutch oven (or other heavy-duty pot) over medium-high heat. Add the celery, onion, and bell pepper and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 7 minutes. Add the ham and the reserved shrimp and cook, stirring often, until any excess moisture evaporates and the ham and vegetables begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, until a shade darker, about 3 minutes. Stir in the bay leaf, thyme, cayenne, chili powder, allspice, cloves, and 1-1/2 tsp. salt. Stir in the rice. Add the reserved stock and bring to a boil. Cover, lower the heat to maintain a simmer, and cook, undisturbed, just until the rice is tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Check the rice for doneness in several places.
  • Remove the pot from the heat. Sprinkle the paprika over the jambalaya and, using a fork, gently fluff the scallions and paprika into the jambalaya. Cover and let stand for 10 minutes to let the flavors meld. Serve with hot sauce, if you like.
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Reviews (10 reviews)

  • rfelker | 05/28/2017

    A delicious dish! Made it with beautiful large head-on shrimp. The method for making the shrimp stock with the scraps from the vegetables is genius. No need to look elsewhere for a great jambalaya recipe.

  • DWJaff | 03/14/2015

    terrific, easy, and fun!

  • user-2452739 | 01/21/2014

    My preference, when a dish combines rice and vegetables, is to use a rough chop, so that everything is not the same size, which is the problem with this dish. Here, nothing is distinguishable. Also, I found it somewhat dry. If I try it again, I'll use a can of fire-roasted chopped tomatoes, as well as larger pieces of celery, onions and peppers. Which, I guess, makes it a different dish.

  • fireglowrose | 05/12/2013

    Great recipe! Everyone from my 84 yr old mother who can't eat spicy food to a picky daughter loved it!I used chicken thighs/breasts in addition to shrimp and brown rice instead of white.Wonderful flavor. I didn't have a big enough pot so I cooked it in the oven in a heavy roaster and it was perfect.No burnt pot or mushy rice. Definitely a keeper!

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