When I don’t feel like standing at the hob stirring a risotto and I’m craving something warming and spicy, we have jambalaya.
This is my take on the creole dish which has been tempered down to be child friendly. It is also made with things we very often have in the fridge or freezer and is endlessly flexible, depending on what you fancy or what you have to hand.
As is often the case when I make something like this I browse the web for recipes then go into the kitchen with an idea in my head and produce my own version. When I have cooked it and eaten it and tweaked the ratios a little it is allowed into my cookbook. After following the recipe a few times I allow myself the pleasure of photographing it and typing it up here.
- 1 Pack of Cubetti Di Pancetta or a few slices of chopped streaky bacon (not essential)
- 4″ of Chorizo, or 1 pack of ready cubed chorizo (I keep some in the freezer)
- 2 Chicken Breasts or some leftover chicken from another meal
- 1 Chopped Onion, red if possible
- 2 Chopped Garlic Cloves
- 1 Chopped Stick of Celery
- 1 Skinned Deseeded Chopped Pepper, the ready roasted ones in a jar are excellent for this
- 2 Tblsp Tomato Puree
- 1-2 Tsp Smoked Paprika – depending on how spicy you likey (La Chinata ‘sweet’ if you can get it – beware the HOT version, just 1/2 a tsp can blow your socks off)
- 200g Long Grain Rice, I use basmati
- 750ml of chicken stock
- A handful of frozen peas
- Optional extra’s include a handful of prawns, a chopped up leftover pork chop or some sausage
First, in a large non stick pan, fry off the pancetta/bacon until the fat runs out, then add the chopped chorizo and heat until it all goes red and lovely. If your chicken is raw add it now and fry for a few minutes until cooked through. Now you can add any other cooked meat like bits of sausage or pork so it gets coated in the paprika-rich oil. Next tip this meaty mixture into a bowl and keep it to one side.
Now in the same pan cook off the chopped vegetables: onion, celery and garlic. Add the pepper if it’s raw, or just put it in later with the meat if it’s a ready roasted one from a jar.
When the vegetables are all softened and have cooked down a little, pour in the rice, tomato purée, paprika and around 750ml of chicken stock and bring to the boil.
Put the meats back in and stir and add a lid or top with a sheet of foil. Simmer gently for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally and add more stock if it gets dry. Try not to stir it too often, just to check it’s not sticking.
When it’s just about ready add the handful of frozen peas and maybe a few prawns if you like them.
That’s it. You don’t need anything else with this, unless you fancy a cold glass of sherry or a frosty beer.