Southern-Style Jambalaya, heralding from Louisiana USA, not Essex, is a proper feast from the Hairy Dieters that combines loads of protein and vegetables in one-pan. It contains some of my favourite food – chicken, chorizo and prawns, and pays homage to some lesser regarded items such as celery and green peppers which help to bulk this filling meal out.
While there a lot of ingredients in this, a number of them are spices, which you’ll use over and over again if following a healthy eating plan. And even if you’re not, just make this anyway because it tastes absolutely fantastic.
Recipe: Southern-Style Jambalaya
Calories: 341 calories per serving
Book: Hairy Dieters – How to Love Food and Lose Weight
Prep time: Approx 30 minutes
Cooking time: Approx 35 minutes
Ingredients: 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, 100g chorizo (picante if you can get it), 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 large onion (roughly chopped), 4 slender celery sticks (cut into 1cm slices), 2 small green peppers (deseeded and cut into 2cm chunks), 5 large ripe vine tomatoes (about 475g), 3 garlic cloves (peeled and crushed), 1 tbsp paprika, ¼ tsp cayenne pepper, 1 tsp dried thyme, 1 tsp dried oregano, 2 bay leaves, 200g long-grain rice (try to use the easy-cook version), 450ml chicken stock (made with 1 chicken stock cube). 100g cooked peeled king prawns (thawed if frozen), 6 spring onions, sliced (including lots of green), flaked sea salt, ground black pepper
Cost per portion: Approx £1.75 per portion
Method: Cut the chicken thighs into bite-sized pieces, removing any excess fat, and season them with salt and pepper. Skin the sausage and cut it into 5mm slices. Heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan or non-stick sauté pan and fry the chicken for 3 minutes over a medium heat until lightly coloured. Add the chorizo and cook for 30 seconds more, then transfer the chicken and chorizo with tongs to a large plate or tray.
Tip most of the oil out of the frying pan and chuck it away. Return the empty pan to the heat and turn the heat down to low. Stir in the onion, celery and green peppers and cook for 8–10 minutes until well softened, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, skin the tomatoes – see our top tip. Cut them in half and remove the green stem ends, then roughly chop the rest of the ﬂesh – no need to deseed.
Stir the crushed garlic, paprika, cayenne, thyme, oregano and bay leaves into the frying pan and cook for 20–30 seconds, stirring. Increase the heat and add the chopped tomatoes and any juice that has collected on the board. Cook for 5 minutes or until the tomatoes are well softened, stirring regularly.
Return the chicken and chorizo to the pan, add the rice and cook for about a minute, stirring. Pour over the stock, season with a pinch of salt and lots of black pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes or until the rice is just tender and most of the liquid has evaporated or been absorbed by the rice, stirring occasionally. The rice should still be pretty saucy at this point, so if your rice takes longer to cook, you may need to add a little more stock.
Stir in the prawns and spring onions and cook for about 2 minutes more or until the prawns are hot, stirring regularly, then serve.