I was born in Southern America, Georgia to be precise. Though we moved from the south to the midwest when I was only three, I still claim my birthright as a southerner. I mean would be crazy not to. No disrespect to the cuisine of Colorado, the food of the south speaks to me more. Peach pie, Sweet tea, Biscuits and gravy, crawfish boil, gumbo, etouffee and of course Jambalaya.
For the uninitiated jambalaya is rice and meat dish that has a Valencian Spanish (paella) and Provencal French (jambalaia) influence. Its a rice dish with meat and some vegetables. You have to make it with some sort of smoked sausage, traditionally with andouille, but good luck finding that in the UK. I opt for a smoked coarse cut polish sausage. Alside the sausage it's traditionally chicken and shrimp, (prawns here in the UK). it starts with a Cajun version of the classic French mirepoix called the holy trinity consisting of onion, celery, and green bell pepper.
I thought this dish would be perfect to spotlight the new to market rice by Rice Crafters. Rice Crafters are bringing sustainably produced, single origin and single-variety of rice to the market. Treating the rice as you would a particular vintage of wine. Unlike much other rice, Rice Crafters not a blend of rice from several different areas of rice patties, this all comes from vast plains of Sado in Portugal. The rice its self is very versatile, it can work in kedegree or rice pudding.
Louisiana Jambalaya with Rice Crafters Long Grain Rice
3 tbsp rapeseed oil
6 skinless boneless chicken thighs fillets, cut into chunks
200g smoked polish sausage
1 onion, chopped
3 celery sticks, chopped
2 tsp Mustard seeds
2 tsp fennel seeds
1 yellow, red and green pepper, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
250g Rice Crafters Long grain rice
2 tbs smoked paprika
2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp black pepper
400g can chopped tomatoes
1 vegetable stock cube
225g prawns, thawed if frozen
Small bunch of parsley chopped
4 spring onions, sliced on a diagonal
Heat the oil in a heavy-based flameproof casserole dish on a medium-high heat. Season the chicken thighs, add to the dish and cook for 4 mins until they start to brown, stirring occasionally so they don’t stick. Add the sausages and cook for a further 4 mins until it has started to crisp. Remove the meat with a slotted spoon and set aside on a plate.
Rice Crafters Long Grain Rice
The Holy Trinity
Browning the sausage and Chicken
Add the onions to the oils, lower the heat and soften for 8 mins. Then add the garlic, peppers, celery, fennel, mustard seeds, thyme and oregano and cook for 2 mins more. Add the rice the rest of the spices.
Pour in the tomatoes with 1.5 cans of water. Stir in the stock cube. Return the chicken and sausage to the pan. Cover the pan with a lid and simmer for 20 mins until the rice is tender and almost all the liquid has been absorbed. Fluff up the rice and stir in the prawns and cook for 5 minutes to heat through. Top with parsley and spring onions then serve.
Softening the Holy Trinity
Adding the Rice Crafters Rice
Cook till the rice become translucent
Feel free to swap out the meats. Chunks of pork belly would be lovely. Clams or muscles work well too. Omit all the meat and you have a vegan Cajun Rice that works well as a side dish or a meal on its own You can use chorizo, but then you are almost making paella. You need the smokiness from the smoked sausage to set this apart.