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Cajun Jambalaya

Introduction & method

There are two main types of jambalaya - Creole, which is common in New Orleans and is coloured red by tomatoes, and this one, Cajun, which is brownish and quite dry. It's very easy to make and seriously tasty.

Cajun Jambalaya Recipe

Chop Chop!

Cajun cooking almost always begins with the 'Holy Trinity' of onion, celery and bell pepper. Cut them into small dice. Mince the garlic and slice the green ends of a spring onion for garnish. Check whether the sausage skin is edible and peel it off if it isn't. If your sausage is small diameter, slice it about 5mm (quarter inch), otherwise cut it into chunks. The authentic sausage for jambalaya is andouille, but that's not very common in the UK. I used a Polish smoked pork sausage from Krakow. Some recipes suggest chorizo as a sub but I think that's wrong.


I prefer to use bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs for this. Generously season them both sides with salt and coarsely ground black pepper. Heat some oil quite hot in a cast-iron casserole / Dutch oven or saucepan and add the thighs. You want to get a really good bit of char on them. Add the sausage - remove the chicken if the pan is getting crowded. When the sausage is nicely seared, take it out (and the chicken if it was still in there), add more oil if needed, then add the holy trinity. Stir them to get them well coated, then cook on moderate heat for about 5 minutes - some browning is good, but not charring like the meat. Scrape up the crust on the bottom of the pan - this 'fond' is highly prized! Add the minced garlic, herbs and spices, salt and rice. Give it all a good stir, add the stock, the bay leaves, and the chicken and sausage. Bring it to the boil then turn down to a simmer. Put the lid on and let it cook on the lowest heat you can manage for about 30 minutes (or put it in a low oven). After this time the rice should have absorbed all the liquid. If it hasn't continue cooking until it has. Remove from heat and let it sit for 10 minutes then serve with a sprinkling of spring onion garnish.

The video above is from the Keef Cooks YouTube channel. Click here to see the video recipe of Cajun Jambalaya on YouTube.

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Ingredients & Info

 4 chicken thighs
 250 grams andouille (or smoked pork) sausage
 1 medium onion
 2 celery sticks
 1 medium red or green bell pepper (capsicum)
 2 cloves garlic
 170 grams basmati (or other long-grain) rice
 500 ml chicken stock
 2 tsp smoked paprika
 1 tsp salt
 1 tsp ground black pepper
 1 tsp cayenne pepper
 1 tsp ground oregano
 1 tsp dried thyme
 2 bay leaves

US Customary/Imperial

Serves 4 
Prep time: 10 minutes.
Resting time: 10 minutes.
Cooking time: 50 minutes.
Total time: 1 hours 10 minutes.