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Broke-Ass Jambalaya

Cheapskate Meals 52

The Scenario:

At the end of the month your bank account might be starting to look a little bit nervous. You’ve still got to eat, but maybe wagyu beef is going to have to wait until next week. Here is a handy hint, meat is expensive. Making a normal jambalaya… what should be a nice cheap meal, is actually pricey as hell once you add in your sausage, chicken and prawns.

Still, you’ve got to eat and that bottle of hot sauce in your cupboard isn’t going to empty itself. So lets talk about the laziest, cheapest and easiest jambalaya you are ever going to meet. Something that is (pretty) healthy, tasty enough to impress and leaves you with only one pot to wash up afterwards.

What You Need:

A stovetop

A pot

A wooden spoon

A sharp knife

Ingredients To Feed 4 People or 2 Big Hungry Dudes:

Vegetable Oil

The cheapest rice (about 8Oz.)

A brown onion

A couple of sticks of celery

A bell pepper

The Cajun spice mix of your choice

Vegetable/chicken stock


​Optional Extras:

Enough hot sauce to make you weep like a little girl who just found out unicorns aren’t real.

All of the delicious meats that you are denying yourself because you are poor and/or vegan.

Mushrooms if you are vegan but not poor.

A side of crusty bread and butter.

A nice cold bottle of beer to help you forget your poverty, and take some of the sting from the hot sauce away.

How To Do It:

1. Chop up your vegetables. Chunky. (But chunks that are about the same size as each other.)

2. Pour out some oil into your pot and leave it to heat up. How much oil is tricky, but enough to cover the bottom of the pot and a little drop more is usually a good guide.

3. When the oil is hot, throw in all the veg. Well… don’t throw it, that is how you end up with oil burns on your face. Drop it in. (If you have meat, add it first and get it cooked on one side before adding the vegetables. Except prawns/shrimp, they go in after the rice is pretty much cooked.)

4. Time for that spoon, give it all a stir until it is starting to go brown. Don’t worry if the celery gets stringy, that is just how it rolls.

5. Pour in your rice and give it a good stir, keep stirring it until the rice is going transparent. If you run out of oil in the bottom before that happens you can add a splash more, but there should be plenty.

6. Once the rice has gone transparent, pour in enough boiling water to cover everything then add your stock and a few shakes of your Cajun spices.

7. Stir the rice so it doesn’t stick, keep it moving and every time all the water has disappeared, take a grain out and try it to see if it is cooked. If it isn’t, just add more water and wait until that has disappeared. It usually only takes one or two top-ups.

8. Once all the water has vanished, you’ve got yourself a meal. A meal that will keep in the refrigerator until lunch tomorrow, as long as you didn’t shrimp it.

This meal is really handy for a date: you get to look like you are health conscious, like you know how to prepare something as fancy as a risotto and while it will fill you up it is just light enough that you won’t want to just laze around afterwards.

G D Penman writes books. He lives in Scotland with his partner and children, some of whom are human. In those few precious moments that he isn’t parenting or writing he likes to watch cartoons, play video games, read more books than are entirely feasible and continues on his quest to eat the flesh of every living species. He has worked in just about every job you can have in a restaurant and now he is here to yell at you for using a microwave when there is a perfectly good oven right there.

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