Meet my new favorite appetizer: fried jambalaya balls. This spicy jambalaya is delicious on its own, but it’s extra special when we shape the cooled rice mixture into balls and fry them up for a fun party treat.
At my house, these are better known as Camille’s Jambalaya Balls. Because it was at Camille’s that I first bit into such a treat.
My dear friend served a version of this appetizer at her holiday party, and to say they were a hit is to sell them short.
“Can I have the recipe?” I asked.
“I can give you a close approximation,” was her reply.
Modeled after arancini, Camille’s jambalaya was a simple mixture of rice and sausage.
I stuffed a little more into my jambalaya, going the traditional route with some diced tomatoes, Andouille, and shrimp.
The perhaps now obvious question that popped into my mind as I stood over the stove frying jambalaya was, “Why?”
“Why am I frying this already tasty food?” “Is this really worth the effort?” “Is anyone really going to want to do this?”
You’ll have to fill me in on that last question, but as for the first two, it’s just kinda fun. 🙂
Today’s recipe is part of a Mardis Gras recipe collaboration I’m participating in with a few blogger friends. I hope you find a few fun things to enjoy!
Hurricane Matthew (A Hurricane Drink Recipe) by Off the Eaten Path
Vieux Carre Cocktail by Feast + West
No Churn Mardi Gras King Cake Ice Cream by The Speckled Palate
Cajun Spicy Tomato Soup by Online Pastry Chef
Jambalaya Balls by Love & Flour
Shrimp Hush Puppies by Stetted
Traditional Polish Pączki by The Crumby Kitchen
King Cake Donut Holes by Cake ‘n Knife
Easy Shrimp Po Boys by Simply Whisked
Easy Jambalaya by The Secret Ingredient Is
Mardi Gras King Cake by Nancie’s Table
Homemade Beignets by Kudos Kitchen by Renee
Pecan Pralines by Stephie Cooks
A note on Cajun seasoning
If you don’t like heat, consider starting with 1 tablespoon of Cajun seasoning and going up from there.
I used Slap Ya Mama brand. Camille gifted the spice to me at the jambalaya balls party after I took a look at the label and haughtily proclaimed, “I can make that”.
It’s just salt, black pepper, red pepper, and garlic. How hard can it be?
Harder than expected. Just buy an 8 ounce jar and save yourself the headache. It’s quite affordable at Wal-Mart; less so at World Market. Rumor has it, you can also find it on the shelves at Target.
Fried Jambalaya Ball Recipe Notes
- This jambalaya recipe is light on the protein. If want to enjoy a pot of jambalaya without the fuss of frying, consider doubling the sausage and shrimp.
- Speaking of protein, this recipe doesn’t include chicken, which is a traditional jambalaya ingredient. Feel free cook a chicken breast or two, chop it into bite-size chunks, and add it to your pot when you add the sausage.
- Everything for jambalaya balls needs to be chopped into small bites. To get the pieces small enough, consider giving them a spin or two in a food processor.
- If again, you just want to eat straight-up jambalaya, you can make larger cuts. For instance, cut your sausage into thin rounds instead of crumbling it into small bites.
- Making jambalaya balls is best done in stages. Cook the jambalaya a day or two ahead, then come back and form the mixture into balls, bread, and fry.
For the jambalaya
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small white or yellow onion, diced
- 1 small green bell pepper, diced
- 2 ribs celery, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 1, 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 1 1/2 cups rice
- 2 tablespoons Cajun seasoning
- 2 links Andouille sausage, cooked and crumbled
- 12 large shrimp, uncooked, peeled, deveined, and chopped
For the breading and frying*
- 1/2 cup flour
- 4 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/2 cup bread crumbs
- canola oil
- Heat the olive oil in a stock pot over medium-high heat.
- Add onion, bell pepper, celery, and garlic and cook for 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are softened.
- Add the diced tomatoes, chicken stock, rice, and Cajun seasoning and stir to combine.
- When the mixture reaches a simmer, reduce heat to medium-low and cover.
- Continue to simmer for 45-60 minutes until the rice is nearly cooked through, stirring occasionally to keep the rice from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
- Add the shrimp and stir to combine. Simmer until the shrimp are cooked and pink, about 3-5 minutes.
- Stir in the cooked Andouille and remove from heat.
- Allow the jambalaya to cool, then refrigerate. Chill at least one hour or up to two days.
- Scoop approximately 2 tablespoons of jambalaya, form it into a ball, and place on a baking sheet. Repeat until all the jambalaya is formed into balls.
- Place the jambalaya in the freezer and chill at least 20 minutes. You don't want the rice to freeze, but you want something sturdy enough to bread.
- Meanwhile, place the flour in one bowl, eggs in another bowl, and bread crumbs in a third bowl. Set them in a line so you have a make-shift breading assembly line.
- When the jambalaya balls are sufficiently chilled, dip one into the flour and shake off the excess. Next dip the floured ball into the egg and shake off the excess. Finally, dip the floured and egged ball into the bread crumbs and, you guessed it, shake off the excess.
- Place the breaded ball on a baking sheet and repeat until all of the jambalaya balls are breaded.
- Transfer the balls to the refrigerator to chill at least 20 minutes before frying.
- Meanwhile, heat about 2 inches of canola oil in a cast iron skillet to 350 degrees F. Using a slotted spoon or kitchen spider to gently place the breaded jambalaya balls in the skillet. This probably goes without saying, but you'll need to work in batches here.
- Allow each ball to fry for about two minutes until golden brown, then flip over and fry the second half.
- Again, use your slotted spoon or kitchen spider to remove the fried jambalaya balls and place on a paper-towel lined baking sheet to drain. Enjoy warm!
*These measurements are rough approximations.
It's easy to reheat these jambalaya balls. Simply place on a baking sheet and allow to crisp up in a 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes.