Something I have been wanting to do on this site is explore the roots of some of the Louisiana dishes that are now so well known. I love to explore the evolution of cooking styles, regional cuisines, and regional dishes, in this case Jambalaya.
It is hard to deny that Jambalaya has roots in the Spanish Paella, which was probably introduced sometime during the four decades in which Spain held possession of Louisiana during the late Eighteenth century.
The key to making this Paella is good quality short grain rice, real Saffron, and good homemade chicken stock. I also used Spanish Chorizo which is a cured pork sausage made with garlic and paprika. I have a really good Spanish Chorizo recipe which I will share here in the very near future.
Here is the recipe:
Spanish Paella Recipe
Chicken Pieces, I used about 2 lbs of drumettes, seasoned liberally with salt & black pepper
4 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Green Pepper, diced
1/2 Large Spanish Onion, diced
1/2 lb good Spanish Chorizo, cut into 1/4 inch thick slices
1 Tbsp Minced Garlic
2 Roma Tomatoes, diced
2 Roasted Red Peppers, diced (homemade are best; see below)
1 healthy pinch Saffron threads, the real stuff no substitutes
1 1/2 Cups Valencia Rice or Arborio Rice
1/4 Cup White Wine
2 1/4 Cups Rich Chicken Stock
A few turns of Black Pepper
1 Tbsp Kosher Salt
1 Tbsp Parsley
Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F.
In a Paella pan or large cast-iron skillet as I used, over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil until almost smoking, brown the seasoned chicken on all sides until golden brown. Remove to a plate.
Reduce the heat to medium and add the onions, bell pepper, and Chorizo. Saute until the onions are translucent, about 7-10 minutes. Add the garlic, cook for 1 minute more. Add the tomatoes, roasted red peppers, and saffron, cook for 8 minutes more, stirring often.
Add the rice and stir in. Cook the mixture until the rice is pearly opaque and has absorbed some of the liquid that has collected from the vegetables. Add the white wine and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the stock, season it to taste with salt and black pepper, arrange the chicken pieces around the pan, submerging. Bring to a boil then place in the preheated oven, uncovered for about 15-20 minutes. When the rice is still a bit crunchy, remove the pan from the oven and cover with aluminum foil and let stand for about 10-15 minutes to finish cooking.
Sprinkle with the parsley. Serve immediately.
For the Homemade Roasted Red Peppers:
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Wipe your Red Peppers with Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Place in a pan and put into the oven for about 45 minutes, turn once. Remove from the oven to a new dish, cover with plastic wrap for about 15 minutes, this will help the skin pull away from the flesh.
Remove all of the skin and seeds. Cool.
My resource for Spanish Cuisine has always been the books of Penelope Casas, in particular, The Foods and Wines of Spain by Peneolpe Casas.
Be sure and check out my ever growing Index of Creole & Cajun Recipes, which links to all of the recipes featured on this site!