Okay so a lot of you love green peppers, but I know that there’s a tonne of you out there who are like me – green pepper is a pain in the arse rather than a veg that you love.
Creole and cajun cuisine has always interested me, and I don’t really know why. I think because the flavours and layers and history are fascinating – how French, African-diaspora, American and English histories combine.  I started cooking some Louisiana style food when the StorrCupboard babies were small, having photocopied (yes it was 2006…) most of a little book from my South London library.
It may be incidental, but there’s a lot of baked goods in creole and cajun cooking.  And whiskey.  And fat.
So I won’t ever understand marshmallows and sweet potato, or frito pie, or pumpkin pie.  But a chunky cornbread?  Jambalaya?  These foods enabled people on limited means to eat joyfully, making the most out of bits and bobs and, as I’ve talked about, that’s how I managed to feed my family when times were lean. And a small amount of leftover meat can be used perfectly. So … yes please.
Your leftover green pepper is one of the essentials in building your jambalaya.  Like onion, carrot, garlic and celery in French or Italian cuisine, green pepper, onion, celery and garlic is what you need for cuisine from the Deep South.  The bitterness that some of us (cough) struggle with is essential.  In a dish like this, rich with smoked sausage, chicken and fish, and filling with rice, the bitter note is perfect and stops it from being too rich.
Note: if you have access to amazingly diverse food shops, Andouille sausage is ideal.  If not, Tolouse, or a Polish smoked sausage.   I had only fancy fresh hot-dog sausages that have been in the UK supermarkets for the past couple of summers, and they were great.
With the meat, it’s about weight. I went for white fish as there are many ethical problems with prawns eaten in the UK, and they are hellish expensive.  Mussels would work, or salmon – this is a dish where the rice and the veg pad out and showcase the meat.  Keep the ratios the same and make it the dish that you love.

 

Jambalaya

Serves 4-6
Adapted, barely, from Felicity Cloake, Guardian.

Ingredients

3.5 teaspoons cajun spice mix
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 smoked sausages
4bone-in chicken thighs
1 onion (150g)
1 green pepper (300g)
1 celery stick (70g)
3 cloves garlic (10-15g)
4 spring onions (70g)
800 ml Chicken or pork stock
Few drops Tabasco sauce
300g long grain rice
300g fish (I used coley fillets)

Tools
Sharp knife
Chopping board
Large saucepan pan
Lid for the pan
Wooden spoon
Slotted spoon/flipper
Plates

Optional tools
Measuring spoons

Time
20 minutes prep
1.5-2 hour cook

Level
Medium

Prep
If using frozen fish, remove from freezer
Slice the sausages into 2cm-ish slices
Finely dice the onion, celery and green pepper
Crush/finely chop the garlic

Method
Pour the oil into the pan and add the sausage until it sizzles – quite hot, not max
Brown both cut sides and remove
Repeat with the chicken
Turn the heat to medium and allow to cool for a minute
Add onion, green pepper, celery and garlic to the pan and cook until tender (about
10 minutes); some people like to place a lid on the pan (I find it helps)
When tender, add the garlic and and stir around for a minute
Add the spice mix and stir well to make sure that the veg is well coated in spice mix
Return the chicken to the pot, pour in the stock and the Tabasco
Simmer for 15 minutes or until the chicken is tender then add the rice
Simmer for another 10 minutes
Next, stir the rice once, place the lid on and leave for 15 minutes
After the 15 minutes are up, remove the chicken and set aside
Turn the heat to low
Add sausage and fish to the rice mixture
Stir the rice around the meat and fish once, replace the lid and leave to steam
As soon as you can, shred the meat off the bones
Stir the chicken through the rice mixture

Storage/further meals
Store in a lidded container, in the fridge, for up to 4 days
Reheat CAREFULLY until piping hot
You can freeze, in a lidded container, for a month or so

Got a question? Ingredient you need help with? Get in touch:

ann@storrcupboard.com

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