I’m a lover of all things rice, but don’t worry I’m not going to do a Jamie Oliver and claim that adding chicken and chorizo gives paella (#paellagate anyone?!). No, this is most definitely jambalaya: a dish influenced by both Spanish and French cuisine which actually originates from Louisiana. Although in appearance it may resemble the popular Valencian dish, the real difference is in the spice mix.
The recipe is inspired by this BBC Good Food one but I’ve made a few changes. I couldn’t get hold of cajun seasoning so I made my own with cayenne pepper, paprika, thyme and oregano – much better in my opinion because you can adapt it to your own taste. I also used wholegrain rice to make it healthier, and to speed up the process I parboiled the rice first.
So here’s my version:
Ingredients to serve 3-4:
- 2 (big) cloves of garlic
- 3/4 skinless, boneless chicken thighs
- wholegrain rice to serve 3-4 people
- 1 onion
- 1 red pepper
- 1 tin chopped/pureed tomatoes
- chicken stock cube
- black pepper
- cajun spice mix or dried cayenne pepper, paprika, thyme and oregano
- Pre-heat a deep, large frying pan on a medium flame with a good glug of cooking oil.
- Whilst the pan is heating up in a separate saucepan start boiling water for the rice.
- Dice the chicken thighs and add them to the frying pan.
- When the water in the saucepan is boiling pour in your rice.
- Allow the chicken to fry for 8-10 minutes, until it is starting to brown, then remove from the heat.
- If necessary add a little more oil to the frying pan then add your onion, chopped into chunks. Brown for a couple of minutes then add the red pepper, diced.
- Finely chop your garlic and add it to the pan.
- Next chop up a handful or so of chorizo, and add to the pan for a few minutes.
- Taste your rice and if it is fairly al dente, strain it then add to the frying pan.
- Put the chicken back into the frying pan and mix well.
- Add the tinned tomatoes, as well as two tins of cold water and the chicken stock cube.
- Season well with black pepper and leave to bubble gently for 15-20 minutes.
- Now you can add your spices – I used 1.5 tsp cayenne pepper, 2.5 tsp paprika and 2 tsp of both thyme and oregano. Mix well.
- When the majority of the liquid has been absorbed taste the rice to see if it tender. If it is not quite done add some more water and give it a few more minutes.
Serve with a wedge of lemon or lime. Enjoy!
Preparation and cooking time: 35-45 mins