It was a beautiful and warm fall night, so we decided to cook outside: Jambalaya. I think of Jambalaya as the Louisiana version of paella. Okay, the rice and spices are different, but I prepare both dishes more or less in the same way. I usually add chicken, chorizo and shrimp, but sometimes I replace the shrimp with fresh squid. Traditionally it’s made with Andouille sausage, but a soft chorizo sausage works just as well. To give the jambalaya an extra smoky flavor we prepared ours on the Green Egg, but you can also cook it on any other barbecue or on the stove of course.

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Serves 4-6
Action Time: about 45 minutes

2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 sticks of celery, finely chopped
1 green bell pepper, seeds removed and diced
1 fresh red chili, seeds removed (if you don’t want it too spicy) and finely chopped
4 organic boneless chicken thighs, into bit-sized pieces
7 oz/200 g Andouille or soft chorizo sausage, preferably organic, skin removed and sliced
12 oz/350 g long-grain rice (see tip below)
1 14-oz/400 g can chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves (or ½ tbsp dried thyme)
1 tbsp fresh oregano leaves (or ½ tbsp dried oregano)
about 3¼ cups/750 ml chicken stock
12 large shrimp, peeled, deveined but with tails on
a handful of fresh leaf parsley, chopped
hot sauce, to serve

Extra: large (cast iron) skillet

1. Heat the oil in a large skillet and sauté onion, garlic, celery, bell pepper, and chili for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

2. Add the chicken and sausage and cook for several minutes, stirring every now and again. Add the rice, tomatoes, thyme, and oregano and stir to combine. Add about 2/3 of the stock. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for about 20-25 minutes or until the rice is cooked; add more stock if the rice looks dry and don’t forget to stir. Taste, and if needed add some salt and freshly ground pepper.

3. Place the shrimp on top of the jambalaya, push them a little into the rice and add some more stock if needed. Cover and cook until the shrimp are cooked, about 4 minutes. Don’t cook them much longer or they will get dry.

4. Remove from the heat and garnish with parsley. Serve with a big green salad on the side.

I prefer to make my jambalaya with brown rice as it’s much more nutritious (and I love the nutty flavor of it). It needs to be cooked longer than white rice, though, that’s why I always precook it for about 15-20 minutes. Prepare the dish with the precooked brown rice as described above.

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