July 15, 2009


When I live outside Australia one of my favorite quests is to discover as much food info I can about the country I live in and taste as many excellent examples of the area as possible. Once I have fallen for a certain flavour I usually eat it in anyway, shape or form I can get it and then try to master it myself. For example, when travelling through Spain (especially in the Valencia area) I ate my weight and a bit more in paella. While in Morocco I couldn't get enough couscous peppers and chicken; in Greece it was feta, olives and dacos; in Turkey lentil soup with lemon juice, chilli flakes and yogurt.... you see what I mean.

When living in the States my whole family relished in 101 ways to cook ribs and only one way to eat them and yes it did involve picking them up with your hands and getting dirty- something my newly married friend Sara would be very disturbed at; seriously I have never seen anyone eat a chicken wing with a knife and fork until Chicago but that is a whole other story. We discovered our favorite pancakes were fried banana with real maple syrup, and couldn't get enough of jalapenos, tortillas, guacamole and anything else Mexican (if you have ever eaten Mexican in Australia you'd know what I am talking about!). Because Chicago is such a melting pot of society, when you live there you are spoilt for cuisine and culture and that is just the way I like it.
One of the many places we didn't get to visit during the 6 years we lived in America was New Orleans and that is something I regret and will rectify with my next visit without a doubt. We were fortunate enough to have a very good friend of ours who spent a lot of his time there and loves anything to do with the place so through Aaron's stories and more importantly his food we got a sneak peak into this fantastic food culture.
We would see Aaron in the local park and he would causally mention how he was grilling prawn s for dinner or he had just finished making a pot of gumbo and just waiting for the black beans to cook down. I would spend the rest of my park time willing him to invite me for dinner and I have to say after 5 years of Oohing and Aarrhing I DID get invites and they were and still are memorable dinners.
When we arrived back in Oz I was dying to make some American flavours for friends and family (as you do when you come back from any trip abroad) and also to see if we had similar ingredients over here. One of the dishes I have made is Jambalaya; there are many different varieties as it is a classic New Orleans dish so I hit the shops in Sydney and began my search for ingredients and I am happy to say I didn't have to go far and wide, I managed to find everything I needed at the local Woollies.
Jambalaya is a one pot dish so very appealing to families, it is full of rice, chicken, pork, sausage, veggies and flavour so again another reason to whip it up for friends and family (especially the meat lovers you know). The only advise I will offer is to have ALL your ingredients ready to go BEFORE you start cooking, this way the recipe is really very easy to make and very easy to follow. Right now is the perfect weather for a big ol' pot of jambalaya so don't hold back, give it a go and entice your taste buds to a tiny bit of Americas fabulous cuisine as it is so under rated here in Australia- you don't know what your missing out on!.

Camilla's Jambalaya

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 whole chicken, cut into 8 pieces

300g lean pork cut into 3cm cubes (I used a pork rib, minus bone)

2 ½ cups chopped onion

1 cup green capsicum, chopped

¾ cup thinly sliced scallion tops (the green bits)

3-4 sprigs lemon thyme

1 tablespoon garlic, minced

¼ cup finely chopped parsley

1 cup smoked sausage, 1cm slices (I used 2 Otto W├╝rth kransky sausages)

3 ½ teaspoons salt

¼ teaspoon chilli, ground

1 teaspoon paprika

1/8 teaspoon cloves, ground

2 bay leaves

1 ½ cups long grain rice

3 cups water


Wash chicken with cold water then pat dry with paper towel.

Heat a heavy bottom 6 litre saucepan on high and add oil.

Brown chicken pieces making sure to brown all over for optimal flavour. Once pieces are browned place them on a plate until all done.

Once chicken is all browned and removed, add pork, onion, capsicum, scallion, lemon thyme, garlic and parsley.

Stir to combine and brown, reduce temperature slightly and cook for 15 minutes stirring regularly.

After 15 minutes add sausage, salt, chilli, paprika, cloves, and bay leaves, cook and stir for a further 5 minutes.

Add browned chicken, rice and water then mix gently to combine.

Turn up the heat and bring back to a boil- stir then cover with a lid and turn the temperature back down to LOW and cook for 40 minutes.

Stir occasionally to prevent sticking, once ready let sit for a few minutes off the heat then serve straight away.




TKW said...

I love jambalaya. And yes, you should go to New Orleans (as well as Colorado) on your next trip back to the states.

In all honesty, I find the food in New Orleans so rich that it always gives me a belly ache. But you gotta do it, girl!

Camilla Baker said...

I am saving up for a summer visit so I can get some of that delicious ice cream you are churning out!
I hear you on the richness, the few recipe books I have on the area remind me of my days cooking in French restaurants- didn't blink an eye at adding a pound of butter to a sauce!

Sara said...

Camilla, I love your blog! When we get settled in Memphis in October I will be referring to your blog to get ideas for dinner. Now, as for your reference to my using a knife and fork for chicken wings...I admit it. I like clean hands. What can I say? I just broke into laughter at the realization that you were making fun of ME!!

Camilla Baker said...

Sara you know I only wrote about you because your awesome and I miss you and your knife and fork xx

Tamar said...

You will LOVE New Orleans, Camilla! It has amazing food, and I probably had the best meal I've had in the US there.

Camilla Baker said...

Tamar I think about it often and will be packing my baggy pants for sure.