Jambalaya is a West African dish with inspirations from French and Spanish cuisine. It traditionally consists of rice, meat and vegetables with cajun spices and usually has some kind of smoked sausage. Jambalaya is best made in a large frying pan or a paella pan so all the vegetables and rice cook evenly.
I decided to make a chunky vegetable paella last weekend for our Saturday night feast. I used chunky cut vegetables for texture and smoked paprika for the smoky flavour and to keep it healthy, I omitted the vegan sausages – although this is not a rule – you can add this if you prefer.
For the meaty texture, I was going to use king oyster mushrooms but the Supermarket had sold out, so I opted for oyster mushrooms. You can get these in most supermarkets – or you can grow your own which Paul is attempting to do at the moment! These are very different to king oyster mushrooms but have a similar texture. I fried these separately and added them at the end so they kept their firm meaty texture and they worked perfectly in the dish.
FOR THE OYSTER MUSHROOMS
I used two packs of oyster mushrooms. I sprinkled them with salt and cajun pepper and shallow fried them in a separate frying pan for eight minutes stirring regularly. Whilst frying, I also stirred in some chopped garlic for added flavour. I nestled the mushrooms into the jambalaya at the end of cooking.
This is on Toby’s top 10 favourite meals (our 7 year old) – I think he ate more than the rest of us!
- large frying pan or paella pan
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion chopped
- 2 medium bell peppers sliced
- 1 carrot sliced
- 2 celery sticks chopped roughly
- 1/2 head cauliflower broken into florets
- 1 splash white wine (optional)
- 4 cloves garlic chopped
- 1 tbsp dried oregano & dried thyme
- 1 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1/2 tbsp ground cumin
- 1 tbsp smoked paprika
- 1/4 tsp course ground black pepper
- 1/2 tsp cayenne powder
- 200 grams uncooked rice (I used paella rice but any is fine)
- 1 tin chopped tomatoes
- 750 ml vegetable stock
- 1 tin beans of choice drained (I used borlotti)
- handful frozen peas
- 250 grams fried oyster mushrooms (I pan fried with cajun pepper, salt and garlic)
- chopped coriander to garnish
- Fry the onion, pepper, carrot and celery in the oil over a medium heat for 5 minutes.
- Add the cauliflower, garlic and herbs / spices and rice (and white wine if using) and fry for 2 minutes until fragrant (be careful not to burn – keep stirring).
- Add the chopped tomatoes, and vegetable stock and give everything a good stir.
- Allow to simmer until the rice is almost cooked (around 15 minutes). If the pan is starting to go dry but the rice remains uncooked, add a little hot water.
- Stir in the beans and peas and continue to simmer until rice is cooked and stock is evaporated.
- Nestle in the mushrooms and chopped coriander.
- (Optional) Add salt to taste.