*This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclaimer here
Straight from the kitchens of Louisiana, this chicken and chorizo jambalaya combines tender meat with a spiced tomato sauce. Simmered in one pot with long-grain rice, this is a beautiful dish that requires minimal washing up.
What is it?
Jambalaya is a classic Creole dish (creole is a style of cooking that originated in Louisiana, US). Creole cuisine is a real fusion of Spanish, Native American, West African and French. Typically, you’ll see a lot of tomatoes, peppers, rice and heavy sauces in Creole cooking. It has many similarities with Cajun food but is a little more refined.
Jambalaya is a rice-based dish cooked in spiced tomato sauce which is flavoured with sautéed onion, celery and pepper (capsicum). Jambalayas typically include a protein of sausage or seafood. This recipe uses tender chicken breast with rich chorizo sausage.
What’s the difference between jambalaya and paella?
While creole cooking has a heavy Spanish influence, and both are rice-based dishes, there are many differences between the two. Firstly, paella is typically cooked in a wide, shallow, pan whereas Jambalaya is usually prepared in a saucepan or Dutch oven. Paella is also made with short-grain rice, such as arborio, whereas jambalaya uses long-grain rice.
Finally, the spice profile is different for both dishes, with paella taking a lot of flavour from saffron, whereas jambalaya typically uses a Cajun-inspired spice mix.
Should it be wet or dry?
Although you can really make it based on your personal preference, jambalaya is typically a little wet, with a sauce that really clings to the rice. However, it’s not meant to be ‘soupy’ like a gumbo.
What type of chorizo should I use?
This recipe is based on using cured Spanish chorizo (the most popular variety you will find in the UK). This is cured so doesn’t need cooking, just crisping up and heating. You can also find Mexican chorizo which is raw. You can use either, but if you do use un-cured chorizo then add it to the pan with the chicken to allow for ample cooking time.
What can I serve it with?
Jambalaya is perfect as a standalone meal, and you really don’t need to serve it with anything. However, if you do want to add a little variety, or maybe boost your portions of veg, I recommend:
- Roasted tenderstem broccoli
- Sautéed green beans
- Crisp green salad
- Crusty bread
- Grilled corn on the cob
Can you make it in advance?
You can store cooked jambalaya in the fridge for up to 3 days. To reheat you can either add it to a pan on the hob/stove or place it in the oven with a splash of water if needed. You can also heat in the microwave, covered.
Whilst you’ll always have the best results eating jambalaya fresh, you can freeze it for up to 3 months. Portion into freezer-proof containers and press some clingfilm over the top to prevent freezer burn. Or place in freezer bags and squeeze out as much air as possible.
For a full list of ingredients with measurements, jump to the printable recipe card. The main ingredients in this dish are:
- Chicken breast – you can also use boneless thighs
- Chorizo – dry cured Spanish chorizo (you can also use non-cured Mexican chorizo – but you’ll need to add it earlier in the cooking process)
- Basmati rice – or any long-grain white rice
- Red and green pepper
- Cajun spice mix – you can make this as per the recipe, or replace with a pre-mixed cajun mix
- Chopped tomatoes – tinned work great
How to make it
For detailed recipe steps with tips jump to the printable recipe card.
- Fry the chicken in a large pan until browned all over.
- Add the chorizo, celery, pepper and onion and cook for a further few minutes until the onion has softened.
- Tip in the garlic and cook for a further minute.
- Add the spice mix to the pan and cook briefly, until fragrant.
- Pour in the stock, rice and tomatoes.
- Bring to a simmer and then cover and cook for 25-30 minutes until the water is mostly absorbed.
Got leftover chorizo to use? Try:
- Chicken and chorizo pasta
- Shakshorizo (shakshuka with chorizo)
- Chickpea and chorizo soup
- Chicken and chorizo paella
- Spanish chorizo pasta
Products that work well for this recipe:
Magnetic Spice Rack – Set of 12
2 in 1 Garlic Press
Food Hugger Set
Straight from the kitchens of Louisiana, this chicken and chorizo jambalaya combines tender meat with a spiced tomato sauce.
The default recipe serves 1.
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 medium chicken breast (around 120g / 4.2oz), cut into bite-sized pieces
- 50g / 1.75oz chorizo, sliced (see note 1)
- 1/2 red pepper, diced
- 1/2 green pepper, diced
- 1/2 stick of celery, diced
- 1/4 onion, diced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 75g 1/3 cup basmati rice (see note 2)
- 100g / 3.5oz tinned chopped tomatoes
- 125ml / 1/2 cup chicken stock
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (see note 3)
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- Heat the oil in a deep frying pan (skillet) or a large saucepan over medium-high heat.
- Add the chicken and cook for 3 minutes until browned all over.
- Add the chorizo, celery, pepper and onion and cook for around 6 minutes until the onion has softened. Add the garlic and cook for a further minute.
- Add the spice mix to the pan and cook for a further minute before adding the rice, tomatoes and stock.
- Bring to a simmer and then cover and reduce the heat and cook for 20-25 minutes.
- This recipe calls for cured Spanish chorizo – if you have non-cured Mexican chorizo then add to the pan at the beginning of the recipe with the chicken.
- For this recipe, you don’t need to wash the rice first as the starch on the grains actually help the sauce to thicken.
- Depending on your spice threshold, I would categorise this as mild to medium. You can make it hotter by increasing the amount of cayenne or even adding some sliced jalapenos.
- You can store cooked jambalaya in the fridge for up to 3 days. To reheat you can either add it to a pan on the hob/stove or place it in the oven with a splash of water if needed. You can also heat in the microwave, covered.
- Leftovers can be frozen for up to 3 months. Portion into freezer-proof containers and press some clingfilm over the top to prevent freezer burn. Or place in freezer bags and squeeze out as much air as possible.
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Hob / Stove
- Cuisine: Creole
- Serving Size: 1
- Calories: 750
- Fat: 22g
- Carbohydrates: 2g
- Protein: 7g
Keywords: creole, american, dinner, rice, chicken, pork, chorizo, comforting, indulgent