I’m not pretending this is authentic. But it’s pretty much my favourite thing to cook. I love it, and I love cooking it for people. If there’s any one dish I could eat every day for the rest of time, there’s a strong chance this is it. It’s a delicious one pot meal.

To make this jambalya you will need roughly:

  • 220g chicken breast or thigh
  • About the same amount of pre-cooked chorizo.
  • Red and green peppers – bell, or long and sweet. Yellow also acceptable. Really, you need one green, and y’know, other.
  • 1 onion.
  • 2-3 tsp Barts Creole Spice Mix
  • A bottle of Innis and Gunn Blood Red Sky
  • A tin of tomatoes.
  • 3-400ml of chicken stock
  • 2-300g of mixed basmatic and wild rice.
  • 2 bay leaves and a spring of fresh rosemary
  • Other stuff you think will be nice.
  • 3 cloves of garlic. Ideally, smoked garlic, if you can get it.

As you can tell, this is super specific, and you have to be totally precise with it. I got the base recipe off a tin of the named spice mix, and have messed around with it for years. I’ve tried making my own spice blend, but honestly, I’ve never got it quite as good as when I’ve made it with that mix.

Peel the skin off the cooked chorizo (because while it’s edible, it toughens when cooked), dice it small, and throw it into a large saucepan/stockpot/dutch oven/whatever you make one-pot meals in, on a low-medium heat. Dice the chicken into thumb size bits. Once the chorizo has given up a good amount of fat, turn the heat up to medium, throw the chicken in there for just long enough to colour it on all sides. Remove chicken and chorizo from the pot, leaving the chorizo oil behind.

Dice the onion and peppers and mince the garlic. Throw them in the pot on medium to fry in the fat that’s in there. After about 5-10 mins, when they’re softened and fragrant, add the meat back in. Add the 2-3 teaspoons of the spice mix, stir it all about to coat everything, and let it all cook a bit longer to toast the spices a little. Then add the rice, and give it another stir about, and let the rice toast just a bit. Then add the tinned tomatoes, about 2/3rds of the beer, and the chicken stock, the bay leaves and a spring of rosemary. Partially cover, and simmer it all for like, 45 mins, until most of the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is cooked. Finish the last mouthful or two of the beer as you clean up while waiting for it to be ready.

Eat a double helping, if you’re me, and then live on the leftovers for 2-3 days, because this makes enough for 4, and I live with one other person, who is a vegetarian.

You can fuck about with this in all sorts of ways. I often add liquid smoke, or a chopped chilli or two, or add some fresh chopped up tomatoes as well as the tinned. I’ve swapped the beer for other beer, or red wine, or just more stock before, although I name that beer because all the best versions of this I’ve made have used it. I want to experiment with adding either ancho or chipolte chillis to it, as well, just haven’t got around to it, and I want to try finishing it with lime juice/zest before serving. Sometimes I get a bit heavy on the liquid and it’s almost like a stew, and the liquid can be soaked up with bread afterward sometimes not. It’s never quite the same twice, but it’s always lovely.

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