This jambalaya is my favorite rehydrate and heat trail recipe. It came about when my wife cooked it at home and strayed from the recipe she was using. It came out a bit dry which made me think it might dehydrate well. It did, and it rehydrated even better, capturing the savory flavors and heat. It takes a little more time at home because of all the ingredients and chopping, but is easy prep on the trail.
Ingredients for 7 1/2 cups dried (or six 1 1/4 cup large servings):
1 package Andouille sausage
1 can chicken or 1 boneless, skinless chicken breast
1/2 lb shrimp or 1 bag frozen (thawed)
3 bell peppers
1 cilantro or parsley
1 Tbsp garlic
1 30 oz can tomatoes
2 cups low sodium chicken broth
2 cups brown or white rice, dried or instant
3 Tbsp cajun seasoning
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
At home: Cut all into small pieces for better dehydrating. Mix all in large pot and simmer on low for 1 hour or more. Let cool. If you have time, let it sit in the fridge over night to enhance the flavor. To dehydrate, spread thinly on trays lined with parchment paper. This recipe makes five full trays plus a bowl to try now. Dehydrate on 125 degrees for approximately 8 hours or more until dry and crunchy. Break apart large clumps every hour or two into smaller pieces.
Pro tip: While not a requirement, when dehydrating wet meals I find that rotating the trays in the dehydrator every hour or two helps with more even drying.
Storage: If you are going to use it in the next few weeks then storing it in a zip-top bag is fine. The oil in the Andouille sausage means it is hard to get completely dry, so if you are not going to rehydrate it for a while you might want to freeze it.
Bonus pro tip: If you have access to a vacuum sealer, this will help preserve your dried vittles longer whether you are freezing or not. Line the vacuum seal bags with paper towels to 1) help prevent punctures of the seal, 2) write rehydrating instructions on before sealing, and 3) use for clean up after dinner.
On the trail: Combine jambalaya and water and soak for five minutes. Next light your stove and bring it to a boil. Turn the heat down and cook on low for one minute or simmer to thicken. Insulate and let sit for ten minutes. For extra fresh zip, add fresh jalapeños an/or onions if desired, but keep it mind it’s already pretty spicy.
For one regular serving: 1 cup jambalaya and 1 1/4 – 1 1/2 cups water.
For one large serving: 1 1/4 cups jambalaya and 1 3/4 cups water.
Bonus bonus pro tip: Jambalaya takes a little more clean up than many dehydrated meals due to the oil in the sausage. You might want to pack a couple extra paper towels or napkins to wipe out your bowls and pot.