Jamaican Jerk Jambalaya

The 20th anniversary Wine and Food Affair is here! Each year wineries in the Alexander, Dry Creek and Russian River Valleys showcase local wines and a favorite winery recipe. Check out Estate Chef Heidi Finney’s Jambalaya recipe for the 2018 affair. For the full list of the Wine & Food Affair recipes, head to wineroad.com.

Notes from the Chef

Jambalaya is a perfect dish for any time of the year! Its origins lie in Louisiana, where you will most likely find a Cajun or Creole style. We have chosen to add a Jamaican twist to ours, complementing the specific spice notes we find in our La Promessa Zinfandel. Serve this jambalaya fresh, with good friends and even better conversation. Enjoy!

– Estate Chef Heidi Finney


Jerk Seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  •  2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  •  2 teaspoons onion powder
  •  2 teaspoons dried thyme
  •  2 teaspoons dried parsley
  •  2 teaspoons sugar
  •  2 teaspoons salt
  •  1 teaspoon paprika
  •  1 teaspoon ground allspice
  •  1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  •  1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  •  1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  •  1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons canola, peanut or extra-virgin olive oil, plus more if needed
  •  1 1/2 pounds chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes
  •  1 tablespoon jerk seasoning (recipe above), plus more for coating chicken
  •  1 pound andouille sausage, cut into 1/2-inch rounds
  •  1 yellow onion, chopped
  •  2 bell peppers (various colors), seeded and diced
  •  2 celery stalks, diced
  •  2 garlic cloves, minced
  •  1 1/2 cups long-grain rice
  •  1 can (14 ounces) chopped tomatoes with juices
  •  2 cups chicken stock or water


To prepare the jerk seasoning, in a bowl, stir together the spices, which will yield about 1/2 cup seasoning. You will not use all of the seasoning in this recipe. Store the leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature for about 6 months.


1. To prepare the jambalaya, in a large bowl, combine the oil, chicken and enough jerk seasoning to coat the chicken and toss.

2. Heat a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the seasoned chicken, reduce the heat to medium and sear the chicken so each piece is evenly browned on all sides, about 5 minutes. If the chicken is sticking, add a touch of oil to the pot. Transfer the chicken to a plate.

3. Keep the pot over medium heat and add the andouille sausage. Cook, stirring, for a few moments, then add the onion and bell peppers plus more oil if the vegetables begin to stick. Cook, stirring occasionally until the vegetables begin to soften. Add the celery and cook, stirring occasionally, for 1 minute. Add the garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until aromatic.

4. Add the rice and stir to blend with the other ingredients. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 3 minutes. You do not want any color on the rice, but if some grains are beginning to turn golden brown, just proceed to the next step.

5. Add 1 tablespoon of the jerk seasoning and cook for a few moments, stirring constantly. Return the chicken to the pot.

6. Add the tomatoes with juices and the stock; the liquid should be covering the rice by about 1 inch. Taste the liquid and adjust for seasoning. You do not want the liquid to taste bland and flavorless, but you also do not want the seasoning to be too bold. Instead, you want to taste a hint of each flavor and a nice balance between the stock and the seasoning.

7. Bring the liquid to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer until the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is tender about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and fluff with a fork. Let cool for a few minutes, then serve.

Pairs with…

2015 La Promessa Zinfandel

95% Zinfandel, 5% Petite Sirah

Notes from the Winemaker

The name of this wine- and the vineyard from which it is sourced means “The Promise” in Italian. It was chosen for the promise I made to my father to continue our family’s long winemaking tradition in California. The vineyard is located next to the winery on a rocky, southwest-facing slope that is arguably in the warmest part of the Dry Creek Valley.

– Ed Sbragia Founder and Winemaker

Tasting Notes

Cherry ǀ Cloves ǀ Allspice