Jambalaya

We’re throwing a little healthy Louisiana your way this week with a Jambalaya from Jillian Michaels.  Jambalaya originated in the Caribbean Islands.  The Spanish culture mixed with the native foods created what is known as Jambalaya closely related to the saffron colored paella cousin found in Spanish cuisine.  Jambalaya is traditionally made in three parts, with meats and vegetables, and is completed by adding stock and rice.  The most common is Creole jambalaya (also called “red jambalaya”).  First, meat is added to the trinity of celery, peppers, and onions; the meat is usually chicken and sausage such as Andouille or smoked sausage.  Next, vegetables and tomatoes are added to cook, followed by seafood.  Rice and stock are added in equal proportions at the very end.  The mixture is brought to a boil and left to simmer for 20 to 60 minutes (with infrequent stirring) to develop flavor.  Some versions call for the jambalaya to be baked after cooking all the ingredients.

jambalaya

The recipe today is inspired by Jillian Michael’s recipe in her book, Making the Cut.  It calls for 1½ cup peppers (mixed colors), 7 oz turkey kielbasa, 1 chicken breast, onions, pepper, red chili flakes, ½ tsp ground thyme, 32 oz chicken stock, 17 oz canned diced tomatoes with juice, shrimp, 1½ cup long grain rice, hot sauce, 1 tbsp olive oil, and 1 cup water.

In a Dutch oven add olive oil, chicken, peppers, onion, and turkey kielbasa to cook for about 5 minutes.  Next, add your rice, stirring constantly for about 1 minute before adding seasonings and liquids.  Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer.  Cover and let it sit for 15 minutes, stirring infrequently.  Spoon into a dish with a dash of hot sauce and enjoy!

Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  1. Dice the peppers and onion finely so that they cook through with the time limit.
  2. Use a variety of colored peppers to add brightness to the dish.  Each pepper has a different taste, so mix it up.
  3. Dice the chicken breasts to allow even cooking.  Slice the turkey kielbasa into coin sized bites.
  4. You can use long grain rice, brown rice, or minute rice just make sure to use the amount listed or reduce the liquid amount.
  5. I left the shrimp out and cooked them separately so that the dish could be stored longer in the refrigerator or freezer.
  6. Adding the hot sauce individually allows for each person to individualize the meal and spice profiles.
  7. Let the ingredients sit for the full 15 minutes.  The process allows for the rice to absorb the liquid, flavors to develop, and the liquid to reduce down.
  8. You can add celery to the dish for an added crunch without adding tons of calories.

The dish is flavorful, healthy, and a great way to enjoy jambalaya on a cold, winter day.  Who knew that Louisiana cooking could be made healthier?!  Try out the recipe and make your personalized touches.  Bring some southern cooking into your home in this healthy dish.

Leave a comment with your flavor ideas.  Follow my Pinterest for more recipes to try.  Check back again next Wednesday for more recipes from The Cooking Bug.

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