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Spicy Smokey Louisiana Jambalaya

May 20, 2012

Lately I have been hankering after a really spicy, tasty meal. Every now and again I just want chilli…in a bad way! I am known to be able to eat extremely hot curries. And even though I love soup it just hasn’t been doing it for me I’m afraid! I can add chilli to it but it’s just not the same as a really hot spicy plate of food. And then suddenly on Friday morning a vision of a big bowl of simmering Jambalaya popped into my head. And it would not leave…..maybe it had something to do with the beautiful 1kg bag full of blazingly hot orange Habanero chillies my son brought me as a gift recently…….

so early Saturday morning I sent my minion better half   husband on an errand to the local grocery store with a list of ingredients. By lunch time I had a huge casserole pan bubbling away on my gas hob and the aromas were captivating to say the least. It has been bitterly cold and wet in Cape Town the past couple of days. We seem to swing from Indian summer heat to snow on the mountains and it turns icy within hours. So we have been spending time huddled under blankets. Well, after the shopping spree at the local mall hubby was exhausted and cold so spent an hour or two huddling snoring while I cooked away in a frenzy! When he finally, yawningly, followed his nose through to the kitchen and started saying he can’t wait for supper I laughed. The man can’t even eat a half decent curry. Over the years I have been sneaking a little more chilli, a little more curry powder slowly….bit by bit…..into the food and have to satisfy myself with adding extra chilli sauce or tabasco, Bushmans Chilli sauce or whatever I can find into my own plate of food. Well, my wily chilli ways have worked – to a point – and he can manage slightly hotter foods today than he could, say, 5 years ago. Every time I cook something I have to laugh because it’s always the same old same old…..”phew (gulping down a bit of wine or water) this is the hottest I could ever manage. This is my absolute limit!”  Until the next time and its just ever so slightly hotter 🙂 So I laughed out loud at the idea of him tucking into the Jambalaya bubbling away on the hob. I mean……it was HOT!! I knew how much chilli had gone into it to please my appetite! Soooo I happily told him he would have to have some creamy tomato soup and that Jambalaya was all MINE baby! His face was a picture. He told me he had been longing for the prawns ever since he had bought them that morning so oh boy! I had to quickly whip up a little saucepan of faux jambalaya sans chilli but with some of the yummy prawns for him. Amazing what you CAN do when you have to. And it was ready in about 20 minutes because it didn’t have all the goodies in that mine had in. So we were able to sit down together and enjoy our two (very different) Jambalayas. I had to play around with mine a bit and cut up the prawns and chorizo into teensy pieces that I could manage to eat without chewing. I mean this was a heck of a step up from soup and smoothies people. I had another small surgical procedure to my mouth last Monday and am still nursing the wounds. But it was a meal straight from heaven for me. I was so happy 🙂 Today my kids joined me for lunch and we powered our way through most of it and I still managed to freeze two portions for myself for when I get that craving again 🙂 One of the delicious ingredients that hubs brought home was a pack of Spekko Americano Rice. This was the first time I had used this particular rice although I have used the brand a lot before and I was intrigued that it is Low GI which I see as a plus…and I loved the fact that it is quick cooking (it says 15 minutes) and the delicious delicately fragrant nutty flavour also won me over..#winwin as far as I am concerned with all those pluses.

So, without further ado………here is my deliciously hot and spicy Louisiana Jambalaya recipe. The ingredient list is quite long, don’t let it put you off.  Get everything ready beforehand and it goes quickly…..and is so incredibly worth it!


Serves 4 – 6


60ml Olive Oil

20g Butter

1 Large onion – chopped

1 Celery Stalk – sliced

3 peppers – chopped (I used red, orange and yellow)

4 cloves of garlic – finely sliced or chopped

a good handful of chorizo, sliced

450g chicken breast fillets – cubed

3 Habanero Chillies, deseeded and chopped

1 Can (425g) Whole Peeled Tomatoes – roughly chopped (use juice as well)

500g Rice

30ml Cajun spices

5-10ml Chipotle Tabasco if you can get it or just plain if not

1 1/2  – 2 litres Hot chicken stock

1 Can (163ml) V8 Hot Spicy Vegetable Juice (optional but delicious)

5ml Dried Chilli Flakes

2 Fresh Bayleaves

Handful of Fresh Thyme Sprigs – leaves picked off (or 5ml Dried Thyme)

10ml Turmeric

Optional mixed vegetables – chopped carrots, green beans, corn, peas and courgettes is a good mix

12 -16 king prawns – peeled and deveined (keep a couple whole for the garnishing)

salt and ground black pepper

Fresh coriander (cilantro) leaves – chopped

Zest from half a lemon or lime

Spring Onions – sliced – for garnishing

Smoked Paprika for serving


  1. Add the washed prawn shells to the hot chicken stock in a saucepan and bring to the boil then remove from heat and allow to infuse until needed
  2. Heat the oil and butter in a large saucepan or casserole over medium heat and lightly brown the chicken and chorizo
  3. Add the chopped onion, chopped peppers, celery, bay leaves and thyme and sauté until limp and glazed
  4. Add the garlic and the chilli and sauté one or two minutes more
  5. Add the rice and stir well to coat with the mixture
  6. Add the chilli flakes, Tabasco, turmeric and Cajun spices and mix in well
  7. Add  the tinned tomatoes (just chop them roughly with a knife in the can) and vegetable juice
  8. Add the strained chicken stock (discard the prawn shells) and mix all together
  9.  Add the mixed vegetables if using (except peas) and bring to the boil.
  10. Lower heat and allow to simmer until the rice and vegetables are cooked – stir gently every now and again
  11. Season with salt and pepper – I used smoked salt to carry on the smoked theme
  12. Stir in the prawns (crayfish meat is also good!) and peas and cook over low heat just until the prawns and peas are cooked through…a few minutes to turn the prawns pink is all that is needed. If necessary at this stage also add a bit more hot water or stock if needed to make it juicy and moist. It needs to be a nice porridgy consistency
  13. Stir through the chopped coriander and lemon zest, top with a couple of whole steamed or stir fried  prawns and finely sliced spring onions
  14. Sprinkle on some smoked paprika to add to the smokiness of the chorizo

Serve with a crisp green salad and lemon wedges and crusty country bread to mop up the delicious juices

My beautiful Le Creuset Buffet Casserole that I won some time ago through Eat Out is the perfect casserole dish to make this or paella, risotto, couscous, quinoa and seafood in. And it goes from stove top to table, so gorgeous! Two very fortunate delegates at the Indaba will be walking away with some fabulous Le Creuset products too! These lovely folk have sponsored the Food and Wine Blogger Indaba since day one and I am so grateful to them for that.

Very, very yummy!

It’s too cold sitting here……I am off to bed. Have a great week.

browniegirl xx

8 Comments leave one →
  1. May 21, 2012 8:33 PM

    I enjoy some hot chillies as well. This recipe sounds and looks great for this coming winter.
    And I agree that adding chillies and things to soup just doesnt do it 🙂

    • May 26, 2012 1:54 PM

      So nice to meet fellow hot food lovers 🙂 Thanks for the comment Paul. This was so much nicer than soup. Although I do love soup too 🙂 Have a great weekend. It’s cold and damp here so I have leftovers thawing as I type this!!

      • May 28, 2012 8:25 PM

        I had some super soup in Vancouver in a little shop which only had four tables for patrons. I actually went back a couple of times because it was so good. One was memorable in that it was nice and spicy without burning your throat, yet it managed to clear out your sinus without any trouble!

        • May 31, 2012 10:16 AM

          That sounds like a soup I might like to try 😉 Maybe it had horseradish or wasabi in it…they usually do the sinus clearing bit without the burn…

  2. May 22, 2012 5:54 PM

    From the look of this it should come with a public safety warning, and another recipe – for a fire extinguisher!

    • May 23, 2012 7:08 PM

      HAHAHA!!! Hello Col… was SO delicious! You can of course lessen the quantity of chilli in the recipe 🙂 Lovely to see you. I always have a fire extinguisher handy hehehe xx

  3. May 25, 2012 1:57 PM

    I love hot food so I would have loved to have tried this. I’ve been to Cape Town and the weather can change quite quickly. I went in the cable car to the top of the mountain and it was fine on the way up but by the time we were heading back down, it was icy! xx

    • May 26, 2012 1:52 PM

      Charlie when you live in Cape Town you usually carry a wardrobe for each season in the car with you HAHA! Glad you have experienced that and know what I am talking about! Thank you! I wish you could have been here to tuck into this meal with me. It was SO delicious. I am having some leftovers today that I took out of the freezer 🙂

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