Jambalaya is a fairly quick one-pot Cajun rice dish. This version is based on a recipe from the Hairy Bikers. Enough for 3:

  • Chicken thighs (boned and cut into smallish chunks
  • 40g cooking chorizo (thinly sliced)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion (thinly sliced)
  • 2 celery sticks (sliced 1cm thick)
  • 1 green pepper (cored, deseeded and cut into rough 2cm chunks)
  • 2 large ripe tomatoes
  • 1 clove garlic (crushed/finely chopped)
  • 1 heaped tsp paprika
  • A dash of cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tbsp fresh oregano (chopped)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 90g brown rice
  • 200ml chicken stock
  • 1 courgette (cut into chunks), so other equivalent green vegetable(s)
  • 40g peeled uncooked king prawns (defrosted)
  • 2 spring onions (sliced)
  • Lemon juice & black pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a large heavy bottomed pan. Fry the chicken over a medium heat until it starts to brown. Add the chorizo and stir-fry for another minute. Remove the chicken and chorizo from the pan.

Stir in the onion, celery and green pepper, and cook very gently for about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, skin the tomatoes, cut into quarters and remove the seeds (save the liquid from the tomatoes by rubbing the seeds though a sieve, and reserve together with any other accumulated tomato liquid on the chopping board). Roughly chop the tomatoes flesh.

Stir the garlic, paprika, cayenne, thyme, oregano, and bay leaf into the onion, celery and green pepper mixture. Cook for about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and the reserved liquid and cook over a moderate heat for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes have softened.

Return the chicken and chorizo to the pan, stir in the rice, and cook gently for 1 minute. Pour over the stock and cook for about 20 minutes (stir occasionally, and if the rice is drying out add more water or stock) until the rice is just cooked.

Stir in the prawns and spring onions and cook for a further 2 minutes, or until the prawns are cooked. Serve.

Chorizo & sweet potato mash


This recipe is from ‘eat’ (which has over 600 fast ideas for dinner) by Nigel Slater. He describes the finished product as “smoke and silk”. Enough for 2:

Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Prick the chorizo all over with a fork, then brown them in the oil.

Peel the sweet potatoes and cut them into largish chunks. Add the sweet potato chunks to the chorizo, mix well, cover, and cook over a medium heat for 10 minutes. Stir occasionally.

Add the hot water and simmer for 10 minutes. Then remove the lid, turn up the heat and allow half the liquid to evaporate.

Remove the chorizo and keep warm. Mash the sweet potatoes (together with the remaining liquid and the butter). Season with black pepper, and serve with the chorizo cut in half lengthways.

I served mine with frozen peas, but I think spinach would have been better.

Brazilian bean stew


This recipe is based on one I found on the internet, but the ingredients are what I had left-over or in the cupboard/fridge, so it’s unlikely to be very authentic. Enough for 3:

  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 medium onion (chopped)
  • 2 cloves garlic (crushed/finely chopped)
  • 2 red chillies (deseeded and finely chopped)
  • A 10cm piece of chorizo (thinly sliced)
  • 1 red pepper (roughly chopped)
  • 1/3rd of a large butternut squash (peeled, seeds removed and cut into approx 2cm cubes) or equivalent amount
  • 400g tinned chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tsp vegi-stock powder
  • Hot water
  • 400g tinned borlotti beans (drained)
  • Some green vegetables (I used about 70g of kale)
  • 2 tbsp mango chutney
  • Black pepper
  • A few torn coriander leaves

Gently fry the onion, garlic and chilli until they have softened (about 5 minutes); add the sliced chorizo and fry for 3 minutes (stirring occasionally); add the red pepper and butternut squash and cook for another 3 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, the stock powder, and sufficient hot water to cover the mixture; bring to the boil and simmer for about 30 minutes (or until the butternut squash has cooked).

Add the beans and the green vegetables; bring back to the boil and cook until the green vegetables are sufficiently cooked.

Stir in the mango chutney. Add black pepper to taste, and serve sprinkled with coriander.



For 2 generous portions:

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 chicken breast cut into approx 1.5cm cubes
  • 1 onion (peeled and thinly sliced)
  • 1 medium red pepper (cored, deseeded and finely sliced)
  • 2 cloves of garlic (finely chopped/crushed)
  • 3 cooking chorizos (sliced) – or equivalent of dried chorizo
  • 1 generous pinch of saffron (or you could use a small amount of turmeric – but it won’t taste the same (or leave it out altogether))
  • 120g of arborio or carnaroli rice
  • 1/2 chicken stock cube (crumbled)
  • Hot water
  • 100g frozen peas
  • 10 large raw frozen prawns
  • Lemon juice
  • Black pepper

Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a large, thick bottomed saucepan, metal casserole dish or paella pan. When the oil is hot, add the chicken and stir until brown. Remove the chicken.

Add 1 tbsp of oil and gently heat the pan. Add the onion and pepper. Stir and cover, leaving to cook very gently for 10 minutes (stirring occasionally). Stir in the garlic and cook for another 3 minutes. Turn up the heat and add the chorizo and stir for another 2 minutes. Add the chicken.

Add the remaining 1 tbsp of oil together with the saffron and rice. Stir to ensure the rice is coated with oil, and cook gently until the rice starts to go transparent.

Crumble in the stock cube and add enough hot water to cover the rice. Bring to the boil. Stir, turn down the heat, and cook very gently (covered) for about 25 minutes (or until the rice is almost cooked), stirring frequently and adding more hot water as necessary.

Mix in the frozen peas and ‘bury’ the prawns (it’s fine if they are still frozen) in the paella. Turn up the heat (to moderate) and continue cooking until the prawns have turned pink.

Season with lemon juice and black pepper to taste. Serve.

More post Christmas comfort food


Chickpea and chorizo stew with new potatoes and kale – for 2 or 3 people:

  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 onion (chopped)
  • 1 clove garlic (finely chopped or crushed)
  • 2 small red chillies (cored, deseeded and finely chopped)
  • 3 small cooking chorizos (sliced)
  • 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 12 small new potatoes (cut in half)
  • Hot water
  • 400g tin of chickpeas (drained)
  • 100 g kale (washed and roughly chopped)
  • Black pepper

Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Gently cook the onion for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and chilli, stir, and cook for a further 2 minutes. Mix in the chorizo slices and cook for a further 3 minutes.

Add the tomatoes and the potatoes. Mix together and top up with hot water, so that the potatoes are covered. Bring to the boil and simmer gently.

When the potatoes are almost cooked (after about 20 minutes), add the chickpeas and the kale. Bring back to the boil and cook over a medium heat for about 4 minutes. Add black pepper to taste and serve.




This will be enough for 2 (or three people). I used a duck leg which I had in the freezer. You could instead use a slice of pork belly or a lamb fillet:

  • 120g dried haricot beans
  • Water
  • Oil
  • 100g cooking chorizo (sliced)
  • 1 small pack bacon lardons (or you could slice a few rashers of bacon lurking in the fridge)
  • meat from a duck leg (cut into smallish pieces)
  • 1 onion (chopped)
  • 1 stick celery (chopped)
  • 1 medium carrot (chopped)
  • 1/2 400g tin of chopped tomatoes (I used some fresh cherry tomatoes which were past their best (peeled and chopped))
  • a slug of beef stock concentrate or 1/2 beef stock cube (crumbled)
  • bouquet garni (a few sprigs of parsley and thyme, 2 bay leaves and a garlic clove (tied together with string))
  • freshly ground black pepper

Soak the beans overnight (or for at least 8 hours). Discard the soaking water. Put the beans in a pan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil, and boil for 10 minutes. Then simmer until cooked (probably about 40 minutes). Drain the beans and reserve the liquid.

Heat a little oil in a large, ovenproof, pan (with a lid). Add the chorizo, bacon and duck and fry until they have browned. Add the onion, celery and carrot, mix together with the meat, lower the heat and cook for about 5 minutes (with the lid on the pan).

Add the chopped tomatoes and enough of the reserved bean cooking liquid to just about cover the pan contents (if there is not enough liquid add some water). Add the concentrated stock (or crumbled stock cube) and some black pepper, and stir well. Bury the bouquet garni in the middle of the pan contents.

Bring to the boil and transfer to the oven (140C (Gas Mark 1)). Cook for about three hours. You could cook it for longer at a lower temperature. Also, if you have a slow cooker (which I don’t) you could use that. Should the cassoulet become too dry just add a little boiling water. Remove the bouquet garni before serving.

I served mine with some green beans.

Caldo verde


This is a very hearty soup (translates from Portuguese as ‘green soup’) made with potatoes and cabbage. The recipe below will be enough for three (as a starter) or two as a main course:

  • oil
  • 1 onion (sliced)
  • 1 clove garlic (chopped)
  • 2 (total weight 100g) chorizo cooking sausages (sliced)
  • 300g old potatoes (thinly sliced)
  • 850ml water
  • 1 tsp vegi-stock powder
  • 200g green cabbage (I used the inside leaves of a ‘pointed cabbage’ which were yellow rather than green, as you can see in the image above) (sliced)
  • 1 generous tbsp of basil pesto
  • freshly ground black pepper, salt, lemon juice etc, to taste

Heat a small amount of oil in a large saucepan. add the onion and gently fry for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and the chorizo and gently fry for another 3 minutes. Add the potatoes and stir well. Gently fry for a further minute.

Add the stock powder and the water, stir well. Bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes.

Add the cabbage and the pesto, stir well, and simmer for a further 7 minutes.

Season to taste and serve.

Chorizo, Chickpea and Vegetable Stew

A quick meal for a week-day evening and it used up the cooking chorizos lurking in the fridge.

This quantity would serve three, or two very hungry people:

• 1 onion, 2 cloves of garlic and small red chilli (you may want to exclude the seeds if very hot) chopped;
• Olive oil;
• 6 small cooking chorizos – sliced roughly;
• 1 can of chopped tomatoes;
• About 12 small new potatoes;
• Mixed herbs (I picked a small handful of parsley, thyme and basil which I chopped – dried oregano would do fine);
• Vegetable stock made with water and vegetable stock powder;
• 1 can of chickpeas;
• Some green vegetables (I used chopped kale – courgettes; cabbage; green beans would be fine).

Gently fry the onion, garlic and chilli until they have softened; add the sliced chorizo and fry for a few minutes (stirring occasionally); add the tomatoes, potatoes, herbs and sufficient vegetable stock to cover the mixture; bring to the boil and simmer for about 15 minutes; add the chick peas (don’t add the water they are in unless needed (if the mixture is becoming dry)) and the green vegetables; bring back to the boil and cook until the green vegetables are sufficiently cooked.

The result is a spicy, colourful, satisfying supper!