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Fold into the rested jambalaya, taste and season with salt and more hot sauce if necessary. But there are some constants, whatever else you chuck in there … and one of them is that, like Jamie Oliver and his paella (or indeed his jollof rice, whatever I do), it won’t be how your momma made it. you name it! Give it all a good stir, then put the lid on. It’s important to control the heat of the pan: you don’t want it to be so slow nothing’s happening, or so fast that things are catching and burning. Fold into the rested jambalaya, taste and season with salt and more hot sauce if necessary. I absolutely love this with a lemony green salad. Ordinary long grain can take a bit more in the way of cooking, and has the benefit of being cheaper too (avoid the “easy cook” kind, whatever Prudhomme favours – it doesn’t taste as good). Let it cook for about 15 to 20 minutes until the rice is perfectly cooked. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large frying pan with a lid and brown 2 chopped chicken breasts for 5-8 … And similarly, you can adapt it to whatever your local butcher or fishmonger happens to have. These are, it seems, the backbone of most cajun-spice mixes, along with thyme (which Oliver uses fresh) and paprika, which gives dishes colour and a mellow heat. Gautreau cooks his rice in water, but the chicken or pork stock used in every other recipe is a more flavourful choice, augmented by the juices from the slow-simmered chicken pieces. McDonald also adds tomato powder, ground from dehydrated fruit, onion powder, oregano and celery seeds, while Prudhomme goes for cumin, mustard and file powder, a ground root often used to thicken gumbo (always gratifying to get some use out of my tub after lugging it across the Atlantic). Meanwhile, shred the chicken. Cook’s Illustrated, McDonald and Prudhomme also add garlic. Both McDonald and Gautreau stir hot sauce into their dishes, which seems an excellent idea, however; it adds both heat and a clean acidity that cuts through the richness of the rice. McDonald’s version is creole jambalaya at its best; rich and generously seasoned, with a bright, fresh flavour that comes of fresh tomatoes and a relatively brief simmering time; the other two taste a little jammy in comparison. Stir in garlic and cook for 1 minute. Delia Smith, and others, recommend basmati, but I find the slim grains too delicate, and the aromatic flavour gets lost. Cook for 4 minutes, or until just tender. Broadly speaking, there are two principal styles of jambalaya: creole, originating from New Orleans and its vicinity, and the simpler cajun version from the rural bayou. Tomatoes, obviously, bring their own liquid, and Cook’s Illustrated also pops in some clam juice on the basis that it “brings out the sweetness of the shrimp”, but testers aren’t convinced, claiming it makes their jambalaya taste a bit “fake … like a stock cube”. Bring everything to the boil, then turn the heat down, pop the lid on the pan and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes. Oliver suggests using chorizo as a substitute, which isn’t bad, though I find the Polish sausages recommended by Cook’s Illustrated closer to the real thing – though neither can touch McDonald’s homemade andouille for flavour. For which I can only apologise in advance. Scatter with the chopped green spring onion before serving. Pour a couple of lugs of oil into a large casserole type pan and brown the chicken pieces and sliced sausage over a medium heat. Jambalaya – one of those dishes that’s almost as satisfying to say as to eat. If, however, you’re feeling more sophisticated, I’d highly recommend McDonald’s recipe from his book Deep South; it takes a while, but it’s worth it. Give it a stir every few minutes, scraping the goodness off the bottom of the pan as you go. Toast the peppercorns, paprika and cayenne in a small dry pan over a high heat until they smell toasty, then tip into a pestle and mortar and grind until smooth. Add the onion, green pepper, whites of the spring onions and garlic to the pan and cook, stirring regularly, until softened and translucent. Originally, any Louisiana ‘critter’ unlucky enough to get caught would have gone into this: rabbit, duck, squirrel, frog, alligator. Jambalaya is traditionally made with the long-grain rice grown in Louisiana – more glutinous short-grain varieties would turn to mush in the pan. A cajun jambalaya, I’m reliably informed, should be somewhat dry, even slightly browned on the bottom, which rules out the soupier, wetter texture of those creole versions using tomatoes (Oliver advises cooks to aim for a “porridgey” consistency). Stir in the prawns and if it needs it, add enough water to make it a kind of porridgey consistency (look at the picture). Almost, but not quite, because this cajun/creole favourite is from the school of hearty one-pots that hits the spot like nothing else, whether you’re sweltering in the heat of a Louisiana August, or sheltering in Auchtermuchty in October. The fluffiest, plumpest rice comes from Gautreau, who parboils the rice before steaming it in a tightly sealed pan, and then letting it sit for 10 minutes before serving, a method I’m inclined to copy wholesale. Red peppers just taste wrong here. In a large pot over medium heat, heat oil. But, to my slight surprise, when pressed, my testers come down on the side of the cajun alternatives “because you can taste the spices better”. Prudhomme recommends starting the jambalaya with margarine, and McDonald butter, but a neutral oil feels like the most authentic bayou choice – topped up with sausage and chicken fat, naturally. Brown the chicken and sausage over a medium heat. Add the sausage and cook until the fat begins to render, then lift out on to a paper-lined plate and add the chicken. Photograph: Felicity Cloake/The Guardian. Quick and easy to make, and big on flavours, this is the kind of meal that would be fit for king. Heat the oil in a wide, lidded pan over a medium-high heat. Jambalaya by Jamie Oliver. Almost, but not quite, because this cajun/creole favourite is from the school of hearty one-pots that hits the spot like nothing else, whether you’re sweltering in the heat of a Louisiana August, or sheltering in Auchtermuchty in October. 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