Jambalaya is none other than the creole version of Spanish paella. It uses more stock and tomatoes, and is much more spirited, but just like paella, jambalaya is a rustic dish prepared in a single pot. It’s usually a spicy hodgepodge of chicken, Andouille sausage, vegetables, rice and seafood. I love my version—without the meat. Instead, I use a selection of tiger prawns, swordfish and monkfish—poor man’s lobster. I’m generous with the veggies and use brown rice for its fabulous texture and nuttiness, plus it ups the fibre factor. Yum!
Depending on how and where prawns are caught, they range from sustainable to unsustainable. If they are farmed, buy them organic, from farms that comply with environmental standards and ensure many such standards are met. Wild prawns can be very expensive and it’s equally important that they are also sustainably sourced.
I use a mix of “regular” paprika and hot paprika. The regular stuff is what’s the most commonly found in the supermarket. It’s a blend of sweet and hot peppers and is pretty neutral in flavor but adds fantastic color to dishes. Hot paprika on the other hand is made from dried chili peppers and is more similar to cayenne, but less spicy. If you only have regular paprika on hand, that’s fine, just add a little extra cayenne if you’re into spicy. Going for an earthy flavor? Try smoked paprika. It’ll give it a woodsy, smoky flavor.
With this delicious combination of prawns, swordfish and monkfish in a distinctly Louisiana-style seafood jambalaya, all you need is loaf of crusty bread and a nice glass of crisp cool wine for a totally fabulous dinner.
Despite what looks to be a long list of ingredients, this is actually relatively quick meal to pull together–if you’re looking to for something speedier, use white rice. Enjoy!
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2-3 small yellow onions, finely chopped
1 large carrot, diced
2 celery stalks, thinly sliced, plus the leaves
1 large red bell pepper, seeds removed and diced
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
2 green onion, finely chopped
1 x 400 g can diced tomatoes, with juice
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon hot paprika
1 tablespoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup short-grain brown rice (200 g)
2 ½ cups chicken broth (600 ml)
8-12 (depending on size) jumbo tiger prawns, from sustainable sources, ask your fishmonger, cleaned and deveined
300 g swordfish, from sustainable sources, ask your fishmonger, cut into but sized pieces
300 g monkfish, from sustainable sources, ask your fishmonger, cut into bite sized pieces
1. Using a large deep-bottomed skillet or wok, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat, Sauté the onion, carrot, celery and red pepper for 5 minutes. Add the garlic, green onion, diced tomatoes, parsley and spices. Cook, stirring often, 5 to 6 minutes.
2. Add the rice and chicken broth. Bring mixture to a boil. Lower heat and gently simmer, covered, for 45 minutes or until rice is tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed..
3. Taste and season with salt and a little extra cayenne if you’re into spicy.
4. Stir in seafood, cover and cook for 10 minutes more until the prawns are cooked through (they will be bright pink and opaque).
5. Ladle the jambalaya into serving bowls and garnish with chopped parsley. Enjoy!