Nomnombalaya

IMG_9605So there it goes, bye bye summer. Autumn is just around the corner and the weather now truly fits the season. Temperatures have dropped and the evenings have gotten shorter. But all is not lost because our latest dish is guaranteed to give you a well deserved warm hug. This is comfort food at its best. The heat from the cajun inspired spices keeps this dish alive with every bite. Jambalaya is dish from Louisiana in the deep south of America. It’s origins go right back to the Spanish and French settlers both of whom brought heavy influences to the dish as it’s known today. There are both Cajun and Creole jambalayas the latter omitting tomatoes as the further you travel from New Orleans the harder it is to come across tomatoes. Jambalaya is a really rewarding meal. Even if you accidentally on purpose allow the stock cook out and let the rice stick to the bottom of the pot you will be left with a wonderful crunchy rice so complex with flavour it completes the dish. Jambalaya normally calls for Andouille ( andooey ) sausage which is a type of smoked sausage. For ours I used Morcilla a local Canarian blood sausage or black pudding which I sourced on a recent trip to Tenerife. Unlike Clonakilty black pudding Canarian morcilla does not contain barley or oats. But there is a hint of caramelised sultanas which work so well with the congealed blood and suet. It’s a very delicate sausage and crumbles when cooked so I fried mine separately and placed it on top of the ingredients along with the prawns at the end. I also added balsamic vinegar roasted beetroot, not a traditional addition but I think the earthy beetroot married with the morcilla really complimented the overall pot. Our Nomnombalaya is an ideal meal to lift the spirits and awaken the senses during these drastic weather changes. It’s a welcome greeting to the cold autumn ahead. This is sure to please the whole family and friends.

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Some of our homegrown vegetables waiting to be taken advantage of.

The Ingredients:

Pork Lard ( I made 3kgs from our pigs by rendering down their white gold ) but you can use olive oil here if you like. Enough to grease the pot.

2 peppers

1 onion

5 small potatoes

1 celery stalk

3 spring onions

4 chillies

1 small sweet potato

1/2 chorizo sausage

1 large pork sausage

1 black pudding or morcilla, if you’re lucky.

1 cup of rice

1 litre of chicken stock

10 king prawns

1 raw beetroot

100 mls balsamic vinegar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

For your Cajun spice you can use a jar variety if you like. But where is the fun in that.

1 tsp ground chilies

1 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp garlic salt

1 tsp allspice

1 tsp ground black pepper

1 tsp white pepper

1 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp ground fennel seed

1 tsp smoked paprika

1 tsp ground cardamom

1 tsp ground thyme

1 tsp dried oregano

The Make:

If you want add the beetroot it takes a little extra care so prepare it first. You will need a pair of Marigolds ( rubber gloves ) here. Beetroot is a tough little vegetable requiring some lengthy cooking. I peeled and par boiled it first until it was a little soft to touch. I then roasted it in the oven with a good basting of balsamic vinegar and olive oil at 180 C. When it was done I chopped it up and added it to a pot with more balsamic vinegar and sugar. I cooked it down to form a syrup which I then dressed the plate with. You can now get started on the main dish by taking all your cajun spice ingredients and mixing them together in pestle and mortar and setting aside in a bowl. Chop all the vegetables and with the pork lard add them to a large cast iron pot or casserole dish. Allow them to sweat down and get soft. Now add your spice mix bit by bit to your liking. You can always add more towards end. Add the sliced chorizo and pork sausage and allow them to gently stick to the end of the pot this will add depth of flavour. Pour in cup of rice and stir. After a few minutes add in stock a bit at a time. Stir well making sure to get those sticky bits off the end of the pot. As the stock cooks out add some more. Stir the dish sparingly at this stage. Taste the rice as it starts to soften place the prawns on top and cover allowing them to cook in the hot moisture of the pot. This part won’t take long so don’t go far. At this stage I added the morcilla. Serve up with fresh chopped herbs and Enjoy.

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