FOR the last few weeks they have been holed up in Granada following a coronavirus travel nightmare (see Olive Press Issue 340). But now British couple Yianni Papoutsis, 44, (founder of MEATliquor in the UK), and Sophie O’Hara, 26, have turned lockdown into a culinary showdown. Next up in their new series of quarantine recipes for the Olive Press they trace the Spanish origins of the humble jambalaya. Stay tuned for more and check out their blog @nice.olation on Instagram.

Sausage jambalaya – serves 2-3

Having arrived in Spain with nothing but hand luggage five days before the State of Alarm, we moved into our house exactly 12 hours before the lockdown hit.

This left us with one very brief shopping trip to a Chinese bazaar to purchase everything we needed, from pots and pans to bath towels and bedsheets.

Hence we have very little in the way of kitchen utensils so have a new found appreciation for one-pot wonders such as this simple Jambalaya. 

Jambalaya 1
HOLY TRINITY: Celery, onions and peppers pack in the flavour in this jambalaya

Without access to saffron they used tomatoes supplied by the Italian community. 

Our recipe, however, is a Cajun Jambalaya hailing from the swamplands of Louisiana and, as such, it leaves out the tomatoes which appear in the Creole versions from New Orleans. But feel free to add some if you’re in the mood.  

Rice, (ideally long grain), is simmered in stock with a few simple spices, a variety of meats and vegetables.

Recipes almost always use some kind of smoked sausage and the backbone of the flavour comes from the ‘holy trinity’ of Cajun cooking: onions, celery and green peppers.  You can serve it dry like a paella or add more liquid for a soupy stew.


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, whole with skins on
  • 5 large bay leaves
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 120g longaniza or other smokey sausage, sliced
  • 1 stick of celery, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 long thin green peppers, one roughly chopped, one diced
  • 225g long grain rice
  • 750ml chicken stock
  • 1 dash of chilli sauce (optional)
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 50g frozen peas


Step 1

Jambalaya 4 Copy
ONE-POT: Jambalaya is great, easy comfort food

Rinse the rice in cold water until the water runs clear, then leave to soak in fresh water for at least 20 minutes and up to four hours.

Step 2

Fry the garlic cloves, bay leaves, black pepper and sausage in the oil in a wide frying pan over a medium heat. Brown the sausages, remove and set aside. 

Step 3

Fry the the peppers, onions and celery until they are a deep golden brown. 

Step 4

Drain the rice and add to the pan. Stir until it is all coated in the oil (about one minute).  

Step 5

Add the stock together with the chilli sauce (if using) and cooked sausage. The liquid should just cover everything in the pan, if it doesn’t top it up with more stock, water (or chopped tomatoes for a Creole-style Jambalaya). Stir to combine, add salt and pepper to taste, bring to a boil then turn the heat down low and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes until almost all of the liquid has disappeared.  

Step 6

Sprinkle the peas over the top, straight from the freezer, do not stir it. Cover with a tight fitting lid and leave off the heat for 10-20 minutes to allow the rice to fluff up. Serve with cold beer and crusty bread whilst singing Jambalaya to the tune Bamboléo by the Gypsy Kings.


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