While Jambalaya is most often found gracing cafe tables in New Orleans, this veggie version is also a Yankee favourite up yonder in the Big Apple. The recipe can be found in the wonderful new book by Lisa Nieschlag and Lars Wentrup, New York – Capital of Food (Murdoch Books). With summer coming at us apace here in Terra Australis give this American deep south classic a crack at your next dinner party.
Jambalaya comes from the Cajun cuisine of the southern states of the US. This stew is traditionally made with rice, vegetables, chicken, seafood and chilli. We have opted for a vegetarian version that still celebrates the holy trinity of jambalaya: onions, mild green capsicum and celery.
1 large onion
2 garlic cloves
2 sticks celery
1 green capsicum (pepper)
1 red capsicum (pepper)
1 yellow capsicum (pepper)
1 zucchini (courgette)
3 tablespoons canola oil
1½ teaspoons smoked paprika powder
½ teaspoon dried thyme
½ teaspoon dried oregano
1 bay leaf
800 ml (3¼ cups) vegetable stock
800 g (1 lb 12 oz) peeled tomatoes (from a tin)
100 g (3½ oz) kidney beans
Salt, freshly ground pepper
200 g (1 cup) long-grain rice
½ bunch parsley
Peel and finely dice the carrots and onion and mince the garlic.
Wash and trim the celery. Halve lengthwise and slice into thin half moon shapes. Deseed the capsicum, remove any white membrane and slice into bite-size strips. Wash and trim the zucchini, halve lengthwise and slice.
Heat the oil in a saucepan with a thick base. Add the onions and garlic and sweat for a few minutes until translucent. Stir in the carrots, celery and capsicum and fry briefly. Add the spices and dried herbs and fry briefly before deglazing with vegetable stock. Bring everything to a boil. Meanwhile, remove the stem bases from the peeled tomatoes and dice the tomatoes coarsely. Rinse and drain the kidney beans. Add the beans and tomatoes to the saucepan and season everything well with salt, pepper, cayenne pepper and sugar.
Simmer the vegetables for about 5 minutes, then add the sliced zucchini and rice. Continue to simmer over low to medium heat for about 20 minutes, stirring frequently, until the rice is cooked al dente. Remove the bay leaf.
Meanwhile, rinse the parsley, shake off excess water and coarsely chop the leaves. Divide the jambalaya among plates and serve garnished with parsley.
Images and recipes from New York Capital of Food by Lisa Nieschlag and Lars Wentrup, Murdoch Books, RRP $39.99
Photography by Lisa Nieschlag and Julia Cawley