Recipe for Louisiana Jumbalaya – a hearty spicy tummy-warming meal.

60ml Olive Oil
20g Butter
1 Large onion – chopped
1 Celery Stalk – sliced
3 peppers – chopped (I used red, orange and yellow)
4 cloves of garlic – finely sliced or chopped
a good handful of chorizo, sliced
450g chicken breast fillets – cubed
3 Habanero Chillies, deseeded and chopped
1 Can (425g) Whole Peeled Tomatoes – roughly chopped (use juice as well)
500g Rice
30ml Cajun spices
5-10ml Chipotle Tabasco if you can get it or just plain if not
1 1/2 – 2 litres Hot chicken stock
1 Can (163ml) V8 Hot Spicy Vegetable Juice (optional but delicious)
5ml Dried Chilli Flakes
2 Fresh Bayleaves
Handful of Fresh Thyme Sprigs – leaves picked off (or 5ml Dried Thyme)
10ml Turmeric
Optional mixed vegetables – chopped carrots, green beans, corn, peas and courgettes is a good mix
12 -16 king prawns – peeled and deveined (keep a couple whole for the garnishing)
salt and ground black pepper
Fresh coriander (cilantro) leaves – chopped
Zest from half a lemon or lime
Spring Onions – sliced – for garnishing
Smoked Paprika for serving

How to
Add the washed prawn shells to the hot chicken stock in a saucepan and bring to the boil then remove from heat and allow to infuse until needed

Heat the oil and butter in a large saucepan or casserole over medium heat and lightly brown the chicken and chorizo

Add the chopped onion, chopped peppers, celery, bay leaves and thyme and saute until limp and glazed

Add the garlic and the chilli and saute one or two minutes more

Add the rice and stir well to coat with the mixture

Add the chilli flakes, Tabasco, turmeric and Cajun spices and mix in well

Add the tinned tomatoes (just chop them roughly with a knife in the can) and vegetable juice

Add the strained chicken stock (discard the prawn shells) and mix all together

Add the mixed vegetables if using (except peas) and bring to the boil.

Lower heat and allow to simmer until the rice and vegetables are cooked – stir gently every now and again

Season with salt and pepper – I used smoked salt to carry on the smoked theme

Stir in the prawns (crayfish meat is also good!) and peas and cook over low heat just until the prawns and peas are cooked through…a few minutes to turn the prawns pink is all that is needed. If necessary at this stage also add a bit more hot water or stock if needed to make it juicy and moist. It needs to be a nice porridgy consistency

Stir through the chopped coriander and lemon zest, top with a couple of whole steamed or stir fried prawns and finely sliced spring onions
Sprinkle on some smoked paprika to add to the smokiness of the chorizo

Serve with a crisp green salad and lemon wedges and crusty country bread to mop up the delicious juices

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