I got to go on a pretty amazing holiday earlier this year that involved a road trip from Washington DC to New Orleans. We ate our way through Virginia, Tennessee, Mississippi and Louisiana, and amongst the hits (and some spectacular misses) was chicken jambalaya. There may have been a lot of beige coloured food and not much in the way of balance, but prawn and chicken jambalaya featured multiple times and now is something I make quite regularly.
I’ve taken a lot of inspiration from this voyage through The South, but of the variety of culinary attempts that have taken place since I came back I think this has to be be the most soulful. I’m not sure this could be more Louisianan (unless it was covered in crawfish, perhaps).
Put simply, this is – to me, at least – happiness and soul served straight from the pot. It’s rich, it is warm, it is spicy, it is meaty. Basically, I think it’s all sorts of wonderful and I can’t wait to make it again. Give it a go yourself and let me know how you get on!
This recipe is based on a variety of things I saw/heard/smelt in Louisiana with a little basis from a recipe in my mum’s copy of Good Housekeeping. I used fresh tomatoes because I had a glut of them, but tinned would work equally well. I think it’s best served straight from the pot – it serves four.
500g chicken thigh
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp oregano
1 pepper (green or yellow)
1 red chilli
350g long-grain rice
400g chopped tomatoes
800ml chicken stock
2 cloves of garlic
2 pinches of both Salt and pepper
Parsley to serve
Dice your onion, deseed and finely chop your chilli and peel and slice your chorizo (the latter into semi-circular chunks). Fry these off in a large cast-iron pan on a medium heat for a good 5-7 minutes, until they are cooked through. Whilst doing this, make sure your chicken is in chunks (it goes further this way). Once the onion is cooked, add in the chicken and cook for a further 6 minutes.
Whilst the chicken is cooking, roughly chop your pepper and crush your garlic. At the end of the six minutes add the garlic, chilli flakes, chilli, pepper, cayenne pepper, paprika and oregano to the pan. Add a little water if it looks dry.
Stir the rice in on top of the seasoned meat, then the tomatoes and the stock. Cover the pot and bring to the boil by turning up the heat. Once boiling, turn the heat down a little so it is simmering. Leave to cook for 20-25 minutes, until the rice is fully cooked. Garnish with parsley and lime wedges, serve straight from the pot.