Chicken breasts are filled with a hearty vegetable-and-andouille rice and cooked in a creamy Creole shrimp sauce. [Photograph: Jennifer Olvera]

Jambalaya is one of those super-comforting dishes that no one should live without. Sometimes, though, even the classics benefit from an update. That's the thinking for this deconstructed, stuffed chicken dish—part of a week-long series on fun ways to stuff chicken breast.

Here, the meat is filled with a mixture of andouille sausage that's rich with Cajun seasonings, plus celery, onion, and roasted red peppers. Half of that mixture is folded into rice as a flavorful stuffing for chicken breasts.

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Stuffing chicken breasts is not tricky, but you do need to take a few precautions so the filling doesn't ooze out. The most effective involves butterflying the meat by cutting it nearly—but not all the way—in half, so that it opens like a book.

Then I pound it between two pieces of plastic wrap to 1/4-inch thickness and trim the edges to create an even rectangle. Next, I spoon and spread 1 1/2 tablespoons of the filling on top, leaving an uncovered perimeter on all sides.

Finally, I roll it lengthwise (toward the seam of the 'book') and secure the meat at 3/4-inch intervals using kitchen twine, starting 1/4-inch from the edge. Toothpicks just don't keep the filling in place, so avoid the temptation to use them instead.

The remaining half of the andouille preparation is then incorporated into a creamy tomato-based sauce that's given depth and a touch of heat from Worcestershire and Louisiana-style hot sauces. While the chicken rests, bits of shrimp simmer in the sauce, which is then spooned on top of the chicken.


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