Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Son of a Gun, We'll Have Big Fun on the Bayou

For those of you unfamiliar with Hank Williams*, I'm talking about Jambalaya.
Jambalaya is a Creole dish of rice, vegetables and meat, influenced by the Spanish paella. There are 3 styles of Jambalaya; Creole or Red Jambalaya, which is made with tomatoes, Cajun Jambalaya, which is made without tomatoes but has onion, celery & green peppers, and the less common White Jambalaya, where the rice & meat are cooked separately & combined at the end. This is a much quicker method, and where's the fun in that?
There are a lot of stories as to how the name came about, but it's most likely origin is from the Provencal word Jambalaia, meaning mish-mash.

What I love about Jambalaya is that it is a one-pot whatever-you-got dish. As long as you've got the Holy Trinity of Creole cooking; onion, celery & green peppers, you can put pretty much anything in there, so it's a really good way of using up a glut of something from the garden. Like courgettes!

Courgette Jambalaya (oh-me-oh-my-ah)
1 onion, diced
1 sweet green pepper, diced
2 sticks celery, diced (okay, so there's a theme developing here)
2 courgettes, (say it with me) diced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 can red kidney beans (or any other beans really)
1 400g pack passata/tin of chopped tomatoes/fresh tomatoes, chopped
350g/2 cups long grain rice (brown or white, rinsed in cold water. Brown will take longer to cook, though)
950ml/4 cups vegetable stock
Anything you fancy - a handful of green beans, chopped, a scoop of peas or sweetcorn, a couple of diced carrots...
2 bay leaves
1 tsp each of thyme, oregano & paprika
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
A little oil
Salt & pepper

In a large casserole dish or pan, saute the courgette, onion, celery & pepper. Add the garlic & rice. Stir for a minute or two & add the passata/tomatoes. Add all your herbs, red kidney beans & the vegetable stock & bring to a simmer. Leave on a low heat 15 minutes, and then add any other veg you fancy (it will steam on the surface of the rice, so still have some bite to it). It will need another 10-15 minutes on a low heat (or until the liquid is absorbed & the rice is cooked. Add more stock or water if you think it needs it). Let stand for 5 minutes before stirring & serving up.
This can also be cooked in the oven. Cover with a well fitting lid & bake at 190C/375F/G5 for 30 - 53 minutes. It will need 5 minutes to stand when it comes out of the oven.

Om nom nom!

*Gotta love him for having the gumption to rhyme 'bayou' with 'me-oh-my-oo'

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Now I have that song going through my head! Great recipe :-) Jambalaya should raise a sweat on ya if ya did it right!