I Spy A Jambalaya


Ramadan is almost at an end. I’m not sure I can really say that I succeeded on the health-kick front. I mean, consumption-wise, I have maintained a reasonably healthy diet, but I seriously need to board the exercise train. It’s that initial motivation that I seem to consistently lack. I know I’ll be much happier having worked up a bit of a sweat, but leaving the comfort of my slippers seems near impossible.

On the subject of exercise – I went to try out wibit today after work. No, I haven’t turned into a frog. For those of you in Dubai – it’s that huge inflatable assault course upon the sea at JBR. It looks fun, but it was probably one of THE most knackering things I have ever subjected myself too. I essentially paid AED 60 to get assaulted by an inflatable assault course. Who does that to themselves? Me, apparently. The worst part, other than ending up feeling rather sea-sick due to the constant swell of the ocean, was having to swim back to beach afterwards – I almost keeled over on the shore. My jelly legs simply refused to work at full capacity. Same goes for rest of my body, come to think of it. The moral of the story? Don’t wibit unless you are like SUPER fit. I recommend staying in, and eating Jambalaya instead. Silky smooth transition there, Harry. But really – enough about my wibit fail – let’s get to todays grub.

Jambalaya is a dish I distinctly remember having as a child. Rather like bean chilli, it was one that was always whipped out when we were having a large crowd over for lunch or dinner. Ideal for feeding the 5000, because you can just line your guests up, school-dinner style, dollop a mound of jambalaya in their bowl, tear off a chunk of crusty bread, a corn on the cob, and bobs your uncle, dinner sorted.

I’m sure there’s a family recipe lying around somewhere for this, but as I didn’t have it to hand I thought I’d just go with the flavours I remember. It went down well with the crowd I was cooking for, so I must have done something right!

6 chicken drumsticks
200g cooked prawns, de-shelled (about 12)
100g chorizo, sliced
1 large red onion, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
2 red chillies, seeds removed, finely chopped
1 tin chopped tomatoes
300g long grain rice
500ml chicken stock
300ml white wine (use more stock if you don’t want to use alcohol)
1 handful coriander, roughly chopped
1 cinnamon stick
2 tsp paprika
salt and pepper

1/ Season the chicken drumsticks, and brown in a small amount of olive oil, until the skin starts to go crispy. Remove from heat, and leave to one side.
2/ In a large pan, soften the onions, then add garlic, prawns, chorizo, chillies, and peppers. Cook for 10 mins.
3/ Add chicken, stock, white wine, tinned tomatoes, coriander, rice, cinnamon, paprika, and seasoning, bring to the boil, and let it simmer away until the rice is cooked and liquid reduced – it takes 30-40 minutes. Make sure to keep an eye on it, though, stirring regularly, so that the rice doesn’t burn on the bottom of the pan. I had a near miss on that front! Also – don’t panic when you pour the rice in and it disappears. It looks like soup at that stage, but it comes together after bubble time, I promise!
4/ Serve in a big bowl, topped with a little more coriander (ooo faaancy), crusty bread, and a corn on the cob. Boom. Enjoy.

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4 thoughts on “I Spy A Jambalaya

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