I’ve always wanted to go to New Orleans, and, someday, I will! It looks like such a vibrant, fun town but a big part of the appeal for me is the cuisine. I lived in Florida for a short time as a child and our neighbours were from Louisiana. I remember spending long, hot Saturdays at their pool parties where they’d serve Gumbo, Crawfish Creole, Dirty Rice and whole host of other spicy delights. Ever since, I’ve been a huge fan of all things Cajun (but not the icky Irish take on “cajun chicken” that you get in pre-packed salads and sandwiches across the land, vile and most certainly not Cajun!).
Recently, I decided to cook something completely different so I plumped for Jambalaya, a dish not entirely dissimilar to Paella, but with more of a tomato base and a feistier kick. I didn’t make an entirely traditional Jambalaya but this take on it is simple to do and really delicious. This recipe feeds four and tastes much better if left for at least a few hours for the flavours and spices to really develop.
- 2 cups rice (I used brown but white works just as well)
- 2 chicken breasts, diced
- 1 chorizo sausage (the traditional Jambalaya uses andouille sausage but I couldn’t find this, so substituted with the chorizo), sliced
- 1 lb shrimp/prawns, cooked
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 large onion, finely diced
- 3 celery stalks, finely diced
- 1 green pepper, diced
- 1 yellow pepper, diced
- 2 bay leaves
- 10-15 drops Tabasco
- 1 tbsp cornflour
- 1 can chopped tomatoes
- ½ ltr chicken stock
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp hot chili powder
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- Salt and pepper
- Chopped spring onions, for garnish
- Cook rice to packet directions.
- Place a large pot over a medium to high heat and add oil and butter.
- Brown chicken for 3 mins or so, add chorizo, saute for 1 min.
- Add onion, celery, peppers, Tabasco and bay leaves, saute for 5 mins.
- Sprinkle cornflour in, mix through and cook for 1 min longer.
- Stir in tomatoes, stock, cumin, chili, seasoning and Worcestershire, bring to boil.
- Simmer for 15-20 mins, best left for a few hours/overnight, add in cooked rice and shrimp/prawns and stir all together just before heating and serving.
- Serve in big bowls with chopped spring onions as garnish.