Hands up here who has been watching Jamie Oliver's latest show, Jamie's Money Saving Meals? While usually I watch cookery shows that are not The Great British Bake Off several months after they have aired (I'm currently working my way through Gordon Ramsey's Ultimate Cookery Course and Jamie's 15 Minute Meals from last year, and over Christmas I watched about 4 different series of Nigella). However, I have been sure to keep up with over the past few weeks Money Saving Meals, because it is just the sort of cooking that I love; cheap, simple and totally delicious. So, when someone from Team Jamie got in touch with me wondering if I wanted to to something rice related (something that is so cheap and can be so delicious, and is so often relegated to just a side dish rather than a meal in itself) as part of my Student Suppers series and to help promote Money Saving Meals, I knew it was the perfect excuse to finish off a one pot rice recipe I've been working on for months.
The easy, budget twist on the classic Jambalaya is one of my own recipes, but there are a couple of places I do need to pay homage to in the creation of this dish. First, Martha Stewart. Anyone who has been anywhere near a food blog in the last few months or so would recognise that my one pot technique is straight out of her One Pot Pasta recipe that practically went viral. Also, my knowing what a Jambalaya is, and what should go into it, before I turned to both the internet and my Mothers food library is thanks to the May 2013 issue of BBC Good Food Magazine which I loaded onto my iPad in America and attempted their Jambalaya; discovering that I adored the flavour, but I did not think the actual recipe was up to much.
The reason this recipe is both such a Student Supper and a Money Saving Meal is because most of the ingredients are, already cheap store cupboard ingredients. Lets start with the rice. I was in Sainsbury's the other day and on the end of every aisle (a focus for back to university as I was in Canterbury and that store serves both Christ Church and University of Kent students) they had quite big bags of white rice, and it was here I discovered you could get 1kg of rice for 40p. So, not only can you make this Jambalaya, but you can try one or two of Jamie's rice recipes, too. I personally want to try his Lemon Rice, and his Yellow Bean, Vodka & Smoked Haddock Risotto. The small quantities of red pepper and tomato cost whatever you want to spend on them (though I grow my own), and the seasonings like dried oregano, paprika, salt and pepper may be a couple of pounds on the outset, but can be used in so many other dishes. The most expensive part of any dish is the meat (which is why meat dishes rarely feature on Student Suppers), but as this Jambalaya is designed to use up leftovers, it uses whatever you hand so there is no waste; cold leftover sausages from a cooked breakfast, the end of a bag of frozen prawns or some leftover roast chicken or pork cut into cubes will all taste absolutely fantastic.
- (1/4 Cup) White Rice
- 250ml (1 Cup) Boiling Water
- 1 Small, or 1/2 a regular White Onion, roughly chopped
- 1 Large Handful Cherry Tomatoes, halved
- 1/2 tbsp Olive Oil
- 1/2 Red Bell Pepper, cut into medium chunks
- 1 Small Garlic Clove, crushed
- 1/2 tbsp Paprika (hot, mild, smoked or unsmoked depending on personal preference)
- 1/2 tsp Dried Oregano
- 1 Large Handful Flat Leaf Parsley, roughly chopped
- Freshly Ground Sea Salt & Black Pepper
Rince the rice to remove excess starch in a small sieve. The water should appear milky at first, but then run clear. Transfer to a small saucepan with the rest on the ingredients except for the water and parsley. A few good grinds of salt and pepper should be good for now. Stir well so everything is coated and add the water. Cook on a medium to low heat for about 10-15 minutes, depending on how long your rice takes to cook (have a look at the back of the pack for some indication). Cook with the lid on, stirring occasionally until all the liquid has gone and you are left with a thick sauce. The rice will begin to stick to the bottom of the pan a bit in the last 5 minutes or so; don't worry. Any slightly brown bits give it a bit more flavour; just give it a good scrape and stir. At this point you should add the frozen prawns and any leftover cooked meat to heat through. Remove from the heat and stir in the parsley, seasoning again to taste. Enjoy!
Let me know what you think in the comments, and I'd love to hear what your favourite money saving meals are. One of my favourite food magazines at the moment is actually Jamie Magazine; if you look out for the current issue, there are actually some recipes from Jamie's Money Saving Meals included in there.