When I was in my early 20s I moved out of home and across the world. In my first year living in the US, I lived on campus, eating dorm food. And I really really really missed my Mum’s cooking. Even her curries, which I was sure I didn’t like! But it wasn’t until I moved into my first apartment that I discovered cooking.
Before I moved away, I wasn’t much of a cook. I could bake a mean packet cake, and my Dad and I had had a pizza making thing for a while. I could make spag bol, but really, who can’t? And I could make a few other bits and pieces, but nothing special. My limited repertoire quickly wore thin.
So I started looking for other things to cook. One of the recipes I got from Mum early on, scrawled in pencil on a dog-eared piece of paper, was for jambalaya. Jambalaya is a rice-based dish from New Orleans, flavoured with a base of onions, celery and capsicums (bell peppers if you live in the USA) and a liberal dose of Tabasco sauce! I cooked this recipes for years, initially with chicken and bacon, or Canadian bacon in the US, which is a bit more like ham, and eventually using a spicy sausage like kielbasa or even Cajun Andouille sausage.
But eventually I stopped making jambalaya, it just disappeared from my regular selection of meals. We moved back to Australia and I started cooking more south east Asian food. And then I had kids, and my food choices revolved around what I thought the kids might—possibly—eat.
Anyway, a couple of weeks ago, I was browsing Pinterest, which is becoming a good place to find a recipe. And I came across this recipe. And it reminded me of something I didn’t even know I’d been missing. It’s a one pot meal, and this recipe easily makes enough to feed 6, if not 8, people!
Too bad my kids don’t like it!
Chicken and Chorizo Jambalaya
Based loosely on the recipe posted by The Galley Gourmet, with a nod to Paul Prudhomme, and the addition of tomatoes to make it more of a creole style jambalaya.2 tbs olive oil 1.5kg free range chicken, cut into 8 pieces and seasoned with salt and pepper 2 chorizo sausages, sliced 1/2 cm thick 2 small (1 medium) onions, diced 2 sticks celery, diced 1 red capsicum, diced 1 green capsicum, diced 2 cloves garlic, crushed 1 tsp cayenne pepper 1/2 tsp dried thyme leaves 1/2 tsp sea salt flakes freshly ground black pepper 2 cups long grain white rice 400g tin crushed tomatoes 3 fresh bay leaves 2 cups chicken stock 2 spring onions, chopped 1/2 bunch flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped Tabasco sauce
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet or dutch oven over medium heat. Add the chicken pieces, skin side down first, and fry until golden on both sides, about 5 minutes per side. You may have to do this in batches. Transfer to a plate and repeat with remaining chicken if necessary.
Add the chorizo sausage and fry for about 5 minutes until the edges start to go brown. Remove to a plate and pour off all but about 3 tbs of the fat in the pan.
Add the onions, celery and capsicum and saute for about 5 minutes over medium heat until they soften. Add the garlic and saute for about 2 more minutes. Then add the cayenne pepper, thyme, salt and pepper and stir to mix.
Add the rice to the pan and saute until the rice goes opaque, about 3 minutes. Add the crushed tomatoes, the stock and the bay leaves and bring to the boil. Return the chicken and the sausage to the pan. Then cover and reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20-30 minutes until the rice is tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed.
Gently stir the rice, allow to sit for 5-10 minutes and garnish with spring onions and parsley.
Serve with Tabasco sauce.
1. I used jasmine rice as that is what I had in the cupboard. But ordinary long grain rice would be fine.
2. You could happily substitute canned diced tomatoes instead of crushed tomatoes, again, it was what I had to hand.