We have had a glorious September here in Japan, and right up until last weekend, it still felt like summer. But then a typhoon hit, and since then, autumn has certainly been on the way! This definitely mean it's time for a chance in the eating habits...salads and light meals fall by the wayside and stews and hearty one pot meals come to the fore. One of my favourites is for Jumbalaya, a Creole dish. I have no idea how authentic my recipe is, but it certainly is delicious, and helps stave off those winter blues, no matter what the time of year!
Unfortunately, it doesn't work all that well as a bento item. It's definitely nicer warm, but I was out of inspiration this morning, so I added some along side some other bits and bobs.
Left (bottom) tier: Mayo in a container (made from the bottom of a red bell pepper), asparagus, cucumber, cherry tomatoes
Right (top) tier: Jumbalaya (recipe below), cucumber as a divider, homemade brown bread
Dessert: Bounty Chocolate Bar, Peach Jelly, Satsuma
Chicken and Prawn Jumbalaya Recipe
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 tbsp plain flour
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 green pepper, deseeded and chopped
- ½ can of sweetcorn
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- ½ a 400g can chopped tomatoes
- 1/2 litre chicken or vegetable stock
- Herbs of your choice: 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley, 1/2 tsp dried thyme and 1 bay leaf are the best combo, but 1tsp mixed herbs does the job and are much easier!
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper/chilli powder (adjust to taste)
- 125g basmati rice, rinsed
- 2 skinless chicken thigh fillets, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 250g peeled prawns, fresh or frozen (optional)
- Extra water/stock for when it dries out.
1. Heat the oil in a pan. Reduce the heat to low and sprinkle in the flour, stirring constantly, until well blended. Cook very gently, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes until the roux turns a rich brown.
2. Increase the heat slightly, stir in the onion, green pepper and garlic and continue frying, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes or until soft. Add the tomatoes with their juice, the stock, parsley, thyme, bay leaf and cayenne pepper. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat, half cover the pan and simmer for 30 minutes, until sightly thickened.
3. Increase the heat and bring the liquid to the boil. Stir in the rice, then reduce the heat to low, add the chicken and sweetcorn and simmer for 15-20 minutes until the rice is tender and the chicken is cooked through. Stir frequently to stop it sticking. Pour in a little extra stock or waterif needed.
4. Add the prawns (if using) and simmer for 1 minute or until the prawns turn pink.
5. Remove the bay leaf. Season to taste, then ladle into bowls. Serve with hot pepper sauce, and/or toast if you need a bit of crunch.