I was inspired to make this dish for many reasons, to start cooking more from my many cookbooks for one, and after watching Man vs Food almost religiously, this hearty dish has been featured on many occasions. Also I have wanted to try and recreate foods from this region after reading novels based in the "Deep South" and how food centred around family life.
Jambalaya is a dish that originates all the way from Louisiana and is inspired by French and Spanish influences, the dish is made of meat, vegetables and rice. It is quite similar to paella but with the added spices and flavour, this ranks above a paella in my opinion.
There are two ways to prepare jambalaya the creole way (which is similar to what I made) where the meat is added followed by trinity of creole vegetables (celery, peppers and onion), seafood and rice. The second version the Cajun jambalaya, contains no tomatoes and the meats and vegetables are cooked separately and takes longer.
I can honestly say that jambalaya is probably one of the best meals I have had all year. I loved the combination of the smoky chorizo, pan fried pieces of chicken, king prawns and rice in each mouthful cooked in a delicious stock. Although the meal takes an hour, my frying pan done a lot of the work once the rice was added.
Here is how my (Creole) jambalaya turned out:
Serves 6, but easily halved.
2tbsp vegetable oil
500g chicken breasts
250g chorizo, skinned and sliced
4 garlic cloves, chopped
3 celery sticks, chopped
1 scotch bonnet chili, carefully chopped
750ml chicken stock
500g long-grain rice
450g large cooked prawns
Heat the oil in a large saucepan, then add the chicken and chorizo and brown for 5 minutes over a high heat. Reduce the heat and add the onions, garlic, green pepper and celery and saute for a further 10 minutes, until soft. Add the chili and the stock and stir in the rice. Cover and simmer very gently for 40 minutes.
Add the prawns and cook for a further 5 minutes. Check the seasoning adding salt to taste.