How to Thicken Jambalaya

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Jambalaya is as traditional in creole cooking as gumbo.
Jambalaya is as traditional in creole cooking as gumbo. (Image: Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

A creole dish with roots in the culinary influences of Spain and France, jambalaya can be enjoyable to prepare and serve. Sometimes, however, your homemade jambalaya can be too thin and produce runny juices. Sometimes this is delicious and doesn't have to be changed, but if you prefer a thicker, more hearty recipe, you can thicken your jambalaya. Knowing how to thicken homemade jambalaya isn't difficult and makes use of standard kitchen materials.

Things You'll Need

  • 2 qts. prepared jambalaya
  • 6-qt. crock pot or stockpot
  • 4 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 8 oz. tomato juice
  • 2-qt. bowl
  • Whisk
  • Large spoon

Add the prepared jambalaya to a stockpot or crock pot. You can do this with either homemade jambalaya that turned out too thin, or use a commercially prepared jambalaya that you want to "doctor up" to improve the flavor and texture. Jambalaya recipes vary drastically, so this happens.

Turn the stove on a low simmering heat.

Pour the tomato juice into a mixing bowl. Any brand or flavor of tomato juice is fine as long as it corresponds with your jambalaya recipe. For instance, some brands of tomato juice have clam juice combined into it. This is good if you're making a sausage and seafood jambalaya that needs thickening.

Whisk in the cornstarch, a thickening agent. Cornstarch mixes with liquids, and once it is heated it gels to thicken liquids into gravies and syrups. It is ordinarily mixed with water or milk to thicken sauces, but for a jambalaya recipe, adding it to tomato juice doesn't sacrifice the color, texture or the taste of the jambalaya.

Pour the whisked, blended tomato juice and cornstarch into the pot of simmering jambalaya. Stir thoroughly with a large wooden or plastic spoon to disperse the thickening ingredients throughout. Do this for several minutes to ensure it is mixed.

Increase the heat to medium-high and continue to stir as the jambalaya thickens. Turn off the heat and remove the pot from the heat immediately. Cover the pot and let it sit for five minutes. The end result will be a thick and hearty jambalaya.

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References

  • "New Orleans Cookbook"; Rima Collin et al.; 1987
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