I’ve had terrible trouble sourcing chorizo here in the States. I excitedly thought I’d found it when I first arrived but when I got the confusingly similar sausage home I soon realised it was nothing like the chorizo I was familiar with. This stuff was the uncooked Mexican variety and it totally flummoxed me – well for a few minutes at least. Once I’d tried this wonderful meat though a world of possibilites opened up before me and I use it in so many dishes now.

Whilst I was thrilled at this new discovery it still didn’t solve my Spanish chorizo problem, so I’ve had to sideline a few dishes that I love to cook, which saddened me greatly. Jambalaya is once such dish but the other day I’d had enough. If I couldn’t have that smoky paprika infused cured pork then I’d just have to find a replacement. That replacement came in the form of streaky smoked bacon with an abundance of paprika sprinkled on top. My hopes were not high, I really thought the dish was going to be severely lacking in depth of taste and it was as much a shock to me as it was to my Husband when it turned out fantastically delicious…….we ate the lot in one sitting, which was no mean feat!

The brown rice made it easier to digest – I’ve pretty much sworn off white rice ever since my body made it clear it preferred whole grain. It might take longer to cook; and by longer I mean by at least forty minutes, so if you’re in a rush this is probably not the best recipe to embark upon.

By golly it is a fabulous dish though. I think my version hints more towards Creole than Cajun and it truly is a cacophony of flavours. Almost like a paella but in truth has more punch and I think I do prefer it to that very famous of Spanish rice dishes. It probably helps that I’m facinated by New Orleans and I can’t help but feel that I’m bringing a little bit of mardi gras to my kitchen anytime I cook it.


1 onion

1/2 pepper pref. orange or red

3 rashers streaky smoked bacon

1 breast chicken diced

1 cup cooked shrimp

1/2 cup frozen peas

1/2 cup frozen sweetcorn

200g canned chopped or diced tomatoes

1 cup brown rice

3 cloves garlic

2 tbsp paprika

1 red chilli

chicken stock cube

handful of chopped flat leaf parsley

salt and pepper

Heat canola oil in a large frying pan (skillet). Finely dice onion, add to pan and fry for several minutes. Season, add minced garlic and 1 tbsp paprika. Add pepper and fry until it begins to soften.

Chop bacon into small pieces and add to pan. Fry until cooked but not crispy. Stir in diced chicken, the rest of the paprika and chopped chilli. Cook chicken thoroughly. Season.

Add rice and allow it to absorb some of the flavours from the pan. Pour in chopped tomatoes, add tbsp sugar and season. Allow to cook for several minutes.

Boil a kettle of water, pour into pan along with chicken stock and bring to a gentle simmer. Keep topping up with water – like you would do with a risotto but it shouldn’t be as frequent. It should take around an hour for the rice to completely cook and absorb the liquid – less if it’s white rice.

Empty peas and sweetcorn into a bowl and cover with boiled water. Let sit for 5 minutes or so and then drain. When the rice is almost cooked add the veg and shrimp. Let them warm through for several minutes but try not to overcook. At the very end toss in the parsley and stir through.

Taste, season (if necessary) and serve.