Jambalaya is one of my easy go to meals. It requires a minimal amount of prep time and ingredients. Then, it basically cooks while you sit on the couch and drink a glass of wine. It’s also great the next day for lunch.

I’ve noted in a few previous posts the importance of using good quality ingredients. Again, the quality of smoked paprika and chicken stock you use in this recipe will make a huge difference. A lot of inexpensive spices really do not deliver in the flavour department and can leave your dish kind of bland and boring. This paprika actually adds a beautiful smokiness. Moreover, there are a lot of terrible chicken stocks and bouliions out there that can make your dish salty. I prefer to use something I know and can control the amount of. My last bit of advice is never add salt until the end of a recipe, especially when using a stock, bouillon or even tomato sauce, they all have sodium added.

Smoked Paprika

Cutting jalapeños can be a bit of a pain if you are heat sensitive or don’t know what you are doing. I find a lot of instructions involve cutting open jalapeños and removing seeds to be pointless. You end up getting hot oil all over your fingers and then usually transferring it other places. I think the first thing you should do is try a tiny little piece. Peppers vary in spiciness like crazy! The jalapeño I used was so mild I could have used 2. I prefer to chop up my jalepono, taste it, then decide how much to use. Here’s a video of how I like to chop jalapeños, so that you don’t end up getting any hot pepper oil on your hands. The key is to use the butt of the pepper as a scrapper.

First make long diaganol cuts like this:

Sliced Jalapeño
How to chop a jalapeño

Jambalaya – Serves 3 with leftovers, takes 1 hour

  • 4 spicy pork sausages, I use spicy Spolumbo’s, casing removed
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 5 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon hot smoked paprika
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 1/2 cups white rice (not basmati, or instant)
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 jalapeño, or less, or omit
  • 1 tablespoon Better Than Bouillon chicken paste
  • 5 cups of water
  • green onions, minced for garnish
  • tabasco, for topping

In a heavy bottomed pot, I use my Le Creuset, breakdown and brown sausage over medium-high heat. You can remove a bit of fat if you like once cooked. Add celery and thyme, cook for a minute or two. Reduce heat to medium. Add paprika, bay leaf and tomato paste, cook for 5 minutes, stir often. This brings out the flour of the spice and the sweetness of the tomatoes. Add rice and sauté for a minute. Add water and scrape all the bits off the bottom. Reduce heat to low and place the lid on. Check after 20 minutes. If it looks dry and the rice is still firm add 1/2 cup of water or so and stir. Place the lid back on and cook for another 20 minutes. Times and water needed may vary based on heat. When rice is tender, give it a good stir, remove bay leaf and serve it up! Top with onions and tabasco.

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