Jambalaya

We all have our own comfort food.  Whether its mash potatoes, pasta, or fast food, sometimes you just need a meal to make our day a little better.  Jambalaya is ours.

The past week was challenging for our family.  Max has hydronephrosis.  He was diagnosed in the womb.  At our 20 week ultrasound, the technician uttered a phrase you don’t want to hear–“abnormal scan.” Ar this time, the hydronephrosis was present in both of his kidneys,  Of course, we had never heard of hydronephrosis.  Basically, it meant that Max’s kidneys weren’t developing properly.  We were told that 50% of the time, this type of hydronephrosis resolves itself.  So a second ultrasound was scheduled for my 28 weeks of pregnancy.

At our second ultrasound, there was good and bad news.  Max’s right kidney had resolved itself. It was developing just fine.  But his left kidney hadn’t.  It was twice the size of the right. It didn’t appear to be working at all.  So we went to a specialist. We were told that once Max was a month old, Max would go back for testing to determine the severity of the issue and how to resolve it.  If the left kidney was partially working, then it would be worth saving.  Otherwise, we would assess whether it would make sense to remove the kidney altogether.  For the rest of my pregnancy, there was nothing more to do.  Just wait for Max show to up.

Then right on time, our Maxwell was born, happy and wide eyed. We made the one month appointment for Max’s kidney.

Just a couple hours old.

And then last week, the one month appointment arrived. Unfortunately, we didn’t get the news we were hoping for. Max’s left kidney hasn’t improved.  It is twice the size of what it should be and does not appear to work.  Because of this, the doctor recommends surgery to remove the kidney when Max is 5 or 6 months old.   The idea of my baby being put under anesthesia makes my heart ache.  I can’t imagine handing my baby to a doctor for surgery.  It just hurts.  So when we came home from the appointment, our family needed some comfort food.  We needed to eat this jambalaya.

This recipe for jambalaya is quick and easy.  There is low prep work.  Just dice a couple of veggies, toss them in a pan, and let it simmer.  You can alter the recipe so it can be as spicy or mild as you’d like.  So when your heart is aching, you can eat a home cooked meal without too much complication.  Plus, the assortment of vegetables makes the meal relatively healthy.

So after Max’s kidney appointment we ate this jambalaya as a family.  And while it didn’t make the fact that Max has hydrondphrosis go away, it made us all feel a little bit better, even if it was just for the night.

Ingredients

  • Olive oil
  • 2 ribs celery, chopped
  • 1 white or yellow onion, diced
  • 3 bell peppers–assortment of red, yellow,  and orange, cored and diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, bite-sized pieces
  • 1  andouille sausage, sliced into rounds
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 (14 ounces) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked white or brown rice
  • 1 tablespoon Creole seasoning (less or more depending on spice level wanted)
  • 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning (less or more depending on spice level wanted)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 pound shrimp

Directions

Heat olive oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add celery, onion, bell peppers, and garlic and saute until the vegetables are soft.

Add the chicken and cook until the chicken is no longer pink and mostly cooked.  Toss in sausage and combine.

Add the chicken stock, tomatoes, rice, Cajun and Creole spice, bay leaf, thyme, and cayenne. Stir to combine. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for about 30-40 minutes, or until the rice is cooked. Stir occasionally or the rice may burn on the bottom of the pan.

We had some leeks in the fridge so I tossed them in as well.

Once the rice is cooked, add in the shrimp. Once the shrimp is cooked, remove from heat and serve.  Then enjoy.

Modified from Gimme Some Oven

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