It's Random Recipes 1st Birthday this month so for this month's challenge, the lovely Dom of Belleau Kitchen challenged us to go back to the book we used for the very first time we took part in Random Recipes. I lucked out with this one as the first book I ever used was Just One Pot by Lindsay Bareham. Although the first recipe I made wasn't a huge success, it definitely had potential and after looking through the book there were plenty of other recipes I was keen to try. Of course that was back in October and despite keeping the book on my closest bookshelf to the kitchen with great intentions of cooking from it, that's where it stayed......until now of course!
So I lucked out with the book and this month's challenge and it turned out lady luck was on my side as I randomly (and a little nervously!) opened the book at page 111 to find a recipe for Jambalaya. I was delighted! I love Jambalaya and for me it's a perfect mid-week meal bursting with lots of flavours that we love. Of course there are lots of variations for Jambalaya but this one was just perfect for us – simple to make with ingredients I already had in the house. I did change a few things to suit our tastes (sorry Dom!) so it's adapted from the original recipe but it tasted great. This is something I will definitely make over and over again.
The original recipe says that it serves 3-4 but for us it was more like 5-6 so I would say that it definitely feeds 4 generously!
2 tbsp olive oil
1 red onion, finely chopped
2-3 cloves of garlic, crushed
3 celery stalks, finely chopped
½ red pepper, finely chopped*
½ green pepper, finely chopper
1 bay leaf
½ tsp cayenne pepper
½ tsp Cajun spice (optional)
2 large chicken thighs (skinless & boneless), cut into bite-sized pieces
85g chorizo, sliced and each slice cut in half
150g raw, peeled prawns
250g basmati rice
400g tin of whole or chopped tomatoes (I pureed mine but you don't have to – I have a fussy eater!)
500ml chicken stock
1 tbsp parsley, finely chopped, plus a few whole leaves for garnish
Salt & freshly ground black pepper
Tabasco sauce (optional)
Heat the oil in a large casserole or deep frying pan then add the onion and cook for 5 minutes until starting to soften. Add the garlic, celery, peppers and bay leaf and cook for another 8 minutes or so. Add the cayenne pepper, Cajun spice (if using), salt and pepper then stir everything together before adding the chicken and chorizo. Stir well and allow the chicken to brown all over before adding the rice, tomatoes and stock. Stir then bring to a simmer before reducing the heat slightly. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and cook for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes remove the lid and stir everything gently. Taste to check the rice is almost ready and if so add the prawns to the dish the cover again and cook for another 5 minutes until the prawns are cooked. If the jambalaya has absorbed all of the stock and is starting to dry out a little add a little more (or you could just add a little water).
Taste to check the seasoning and adjust if necessary then finish by sprinkling the parsley over the top. Serve at once with the lemon wedges and if you like some extra Tabasco.
*If you prefer you can use 1 whole red pepper rather than ½ red and ½ green – I just wanted to add a little extra colour to the dish.