As a Filipino, I thoroughly connect to the taste of Jambalaya. Apart from the herbs and spices, it could have been a Filipino dish. We like all-in-one rice dishes like this because all the ingredients contribute to making the rice very flavourful.
I chose Emeril Lagasse's recipe because it is straightforward and gives all the details including a recipe for creole seasoning, which is not readily available here in the UK. In essence, I made the dish using his formula to ensure success. However, to make it easier for me to follow and to adapt it to my taste, I changed the sequences of putting the ingredients in. Homecooking is all about cooking food the way you want it and that is exactly what I did.
I made my own stock from the chicken bones and prawn shells. No need to let that go to waste as it makes a superior stock that no store bought stock can replace. That stock alone put a lot of flavour in the dish.
I had to reduce the amount of stock in the recipe to make a less wet mixture. This how we like our rice. Oriental food is about texture and when it comes to rice, there is no other way but to cook it perfectly. If you like it softer with more sauce, all it takes is adding in more stock, a little at a time.
My family enjoyed this dish. It tasted very familiar yet has something new (to us) about it.
Adapted Emeril Lagassse's recipe for Cajun Jambalaya.
Ingredients for the stock:
2 tbsps. butter
2 tsps. crushed garlic
1/2 c. chopped onions
1/2 tsp. salt
1 carrot, diced
1/2 rib of celery, sliced
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1 bay leaf
2 c. water
2 tbsps. sherry
Heat up a sauce pan and add in the butter. Sauté the garlic in the butter and saute until golden. Add in the onions and salt. Sauté on low heat until softened.
Add in the carrot, celery, chicken bones, prawn shells, black pepper and bay leaf. Sauté until starting to brown.
Add in the sherry and water. Bring to a boil and simmer on low heat for at least 30 minutes. Strain.
Ingredients for the creole seasoning:
1 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. cayenne
1/4 tsp. of dried oregano
1/4 tsp. of dried thyme
Mix everything together. I used 1/2 tsp. of dried mixed herbs in place of the oregano and thyme.
Ingredients for the jambalaya:
2 chicken thighs, deboned and cut into cubes
12 medium prawns/shrimps, shelled and deveined
creole seasoning (from the recipe above)
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. butter
2 large cooked chorizos, sliced (about a cup worth)
2 tbsps. chopped garlic
1 medium onion, cut into chunks
1 tbsp. tomato puree
1 c. uncooked rice
1 3/4 c. chicken stock
1 bay leaf (omit if using the stock recipe)
1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. hot sauce
1/4 c. of green pepper chunks
1/4 c. celery
1 tsp. salt (or to taste)
Season the chicken with half the quantity of the creole seasoning. Use the remaining to season the prawns.
Heat up a sauté pan (preferably non-stick) and add in the olive oil and butter. Fry the chorizo slices in this until crusty and the fat rendered. Transfer to a plate.
Fry the chicken pieces in the same oil until sealed and golden. Transfer to a plate.
Add the prawns to the same pan and stir fry for about 3 minutes until the prawns is just about cooked. Transfer to a plate.
You can add more oil or butter to the pan if there isn't enough. Saute the garlic until golden. Add in the onions and cook until translucent.
Add in the chicken, chorizo, tomato puree and the rice. Stir until well blended and fry for about 2 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients, except for the prawns.
Bring to a boil then simmer, with a lid on, on very low heat for 25 to 30 minutes until the rice is cooked. Stir occasionally.
Add the cooked prawns, stir and turn the heat off.
Put the lid back on and leave to rest for 10 minutes.
Fluff the rice up with a fork then transfer to a serving dish.
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