Portuguese Jambalaya

Portuguese Jambalaya

No, I’m not confused. Yes, I understand that at home in the US, jambalaya is synonymous with Louisiana. Here in Portugal, however, there are multiple rice dishes with the same flavor profiles as jambalayas. Some, such as cajun jambalaya, are made without tomatoes. Some, such as creole jambalaya, are made with tomatoes. Many are made with protein(s). All are delicious! Let’s get started.

Ingredients (Serves 6)

1/4 cup Portuguese olive oil

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces

1 yellow onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 pound Portuguese chouriço sausage, sliced bitesize

1 red bell pepper, diced

1 yellow bell pepper, diced

1 teaspoon Portuguese sea salt

1 teaspoon filé (sassafras) powder

2 teaspoons smoked paprika

2 cups canned whole tomatoes in juice

2 cups long grain rice

4 cups chicken stock

1 pound whole raw shrimp

Piri piri sauce (to serve alongside)


Step 1) In a large pot, brown chicken in olive oil over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add onion and garlic. Saute for an additional five minutes. Add sausage. Saute for a final five minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove chicken, sausage, onion, and garlic. Set aside.

Step 2) Add bell pepper and spices to the same pot. Saute for 2 minutes, then add tomatoes. Break up whole tomatoes into bite size pieces using a wooden spoon (this is easy).

Step 3) Add rice and 3 cups of the chicken stock to the tomato mixture. Bring just barely to a boil, then reduce heat to a low simmer and cover. Lift cover to stir gently every few minutes, to help prevent sticking.

Step 4) Cook rice mixture, covered, over low heat until rice is cooked. Taste a few grains on a fork every once in a while; when they’re no longer crunchy, the rice is done. You will probably need to add more liquid than the original three cups of chicken stock in step 3. Continue adding chicken stock (or water) 1/2 cup at a time until the rice is cooked but not dry… the rice should be a little bit saucy.

Step 5) While the rice is cooking, boil the whole raw shrimp in a pot of lightly salted water for three minutes or until fully pink. Drain and set aside.

Step 6) When the rice is fully cooked, gently fold the chicken and sausage mixture back into the pot with the rice. Set the pot aside, covered, for about three minutes. This will help assure that everything in the pot is the same temperature.

Step 7) Transfer your rice mixture to a large serving bowl and top with a few of the shrimp. Serve the rest of the shrimp alongside, with piri piri sauce for those who like extra spice.


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