Friday, 14 August 2015

16. Creole Jambalaya







I first discovered this scrumptious spicy Creole dish from New Orleans many years ago at a Baton Rouge restaurant on my way through Louisiana to the Arizona Renaissance Festival near Phoenix. That was in those distant days of yore when I did medieval re-enactment weekends and feasts at American Rennfairs and German castles on the Rhine.  I have forgotten the name of the restaurant, but the spicy dish of chicken and prawns was memorable and I often make this dish if we have guests to dinner.  The recipe calls for chicken and prawns, but you can happily chop and change your meat and seafood, provided you keep the basic Jambalaya trinity of onions, celery and green peppers, and a spicy smoked sausage.

Ingredients: Serves 6. Preparation and cooking 60 minutes.
6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs cut into bite sized pieces; 100g chorizo, skinned and sliced; 1 tbsp olive oil; 1 large onion, roughly chopped; 2 celery sticks, chopped into 1cm slices; 2 green peppers, deseeded and cut into 2cm chunks; 5 large ripe vine tomatoes, peeled and chopped with white core removed; 3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed; two hot red chillies deseeded and cut small, (or more if you like it hot); two sprigs each of fresh thyme and oregano, (or 1 tsp each of dried herb); 200g long-grain rice; 450ml chicken stock, made with 1 chicken stock cube; 100g cooked peeled king prawns, thawed if frozen; 6 spring onions, sliced (including lots of green); flaked sea salt; freshly ground black pepper.

Method: 1. Heat the oil in your large frying pan and brown the chicken and sausage over a medium heat for 5 minutes.  2. Remove the meat from pan.  3. Add the onion, celery and green peppers to pan and stir-fry 10 minutes until the veg are softened.  4. Add garlic, chillies, thyme and oregano and stir-fry for 30 seconds.  5. Increase the heat, add the tomatoes and cook until well softened.  6. Return the meat to the pan, add the rice and stir fry for about a minute.  7. Pour in the chicken stock, season with freshly ground black pepper and sea salt, cover and simmer until the rice is tender and has absorbed most of the liquid, 10-12 minutes.  8. Add in the prawns and spring onions and stir –fry until the prawns are hot.  10. Serve, garnished with chopped green from the spring onions.

Jambalaya and a crawfish pie and fillet gumbo
'Cause tonight I'm gonna see my ma cher amio  
                                                         Hank Williams. 1952

Food for thought
"People should only eat when they are hungry."
Prime Minister Lord Melbourne to Queen Victoria
"In that case I should be eating all day"
Queen Victoria's reply