Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Chicken and Chorizo Jambalaya


As Gregg would say "Cooking doesn't get tougher than this."  These people have obviously never had to cook for my husband.  Seriously, he is the fussiest person on this planet.  His motto is "I know what I like and I like what I know" and I should have realised at the start of this blog, the chances of changing much in the way of his eating habits.

Wednesday night is traditionally Chicken and Rice night.  It has been for the eight years I've known my husband.  Religiously.  Save for the very rare holidays abroad, I never have a problem with what to cook the husband for tea on Wednesdays.  One baked chicken breast, sprinkled with Schwarz Chargrilled Chicken spice; a packet of Uncle Ben's Express Mushroom or Tomato Rice; Bisto Instant Gravy; two slices of wholemeal bread with Flora.

Very red dinner.  Real, warming food for winter.
So once this was underway, I started my own dinner of Chicken and Chorizo Jambalaya.  This was the most popular recipe on BBC Good Food last year.  I wanted something simple and quick, yet tasty and filling.  Big flavour, no fuss.  I tried something similar from BBC Good Food last year - a Spanish Rice and Chicken One Pot - but that lacked seasoning so I was interested to see if this had the big flavours the other one was lacking.

I was surprised that this recipe didn't use the third item in the Holy Trinity of Southern cooking - celery.  Luckily I didn't have any in the fridge so I didn't have to worry that that was what would cause the dish to be lacking - if it was;  I also would've used green peppers to give a bit of a contrast to all the redness.  But the flavouring in this case was great.  I think using the pre-bought spice mix probably helped this one along.  All in all, a really simple, tasty dish.  Once the chicken and veggies were fried, I was able to wander off and leave it to cook rather than watching it like a hawk.  The only difference to the actual recipe was that I used Basmati rice which cooked in fifteen minutes, whereas the recipe used long grain and suggested it would take 25 minutes.

For once, I managed to serve both meals at the same time.  The husband doesn't like spicy and every time I sneak chorizo into something he picks it up and examines it like it's some kind of foreign body that's fallen into his dinner accidentally.  He questions what it is and then eats it, looking like a child being forced to eat greens.  So this one was just a meal for me; not one I ever planned to share with him.  I sit down and the conversation went something a bit like this:

Husband "What's that?"
Me "Jambalaya"
Husband "It's chicken and rice.  Why haven't I got that? It looks really nice"
Me "Because you wouldn't like it"
Husband "I think I'd like it"
Me "I'll cook it for you tomorrow"
Husband "But I might not feel like it tomorrow.  What do I normally have on Thursdays?"

At this point, I lost the will to live.  The answer is "something non-chicken; usually sausages"  What to do?  Test this dish on him?  Leave it til next Wednesday and risk upsetting the boat by cooking something different on Chicken and Rice night?  Or hope against hope, we might extend his list of meals he'll eat from eleven to twelve?  Keep your fingers crossed for me!

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