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African-Style Rice with Chicken Drumsticks Recipe

Contributors: Roberta Duyff, MS, RD, FAND

Published: March 25, 2018

African-Style Rice with Chicken Drumsticks Recipe
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Spanish paella, Italian risotto, South Asian biryani, Cajun jambalaya, Central American gallo pinto ... nearly every culinary culture has a traditional rice dish served as a center plate.

West Africa is no exception. Jollof rice — with a different version prepared in nearly every West African country (and maybe even in every family) — is a spicy one-pot dish. Commonly made with tomatoes, onions and peppers, plus rice, meat, poultry or fish, jollof rice can incorporate a rainbow of other vegetables. It can even be made without meat. Fried plantains and salad are typically served as sides.


2 to 2½ pounds chicken drumsticks (8 drumsticks)
½ teaspoon black pepper
¼ cup canola oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 to 2 jalapeño peppers, seeded, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon grated peeled ginger root
2 cups brown rice
1 (15-ounce) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon thyme leaves
4 cups sodium-reduced chicken broth
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 cups fresh or frozen green peas
2 carrots, diced
1 lime, sliced, for garnish
Sprigs of cilantro or parsley, for garnish


Before you begin: Wash your hands.

  1. Season the chicken with black pepper.
  2. Heat the oil in a 12-inch, non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken; cook until lightly browned. Remove the chicken from the skillet; set aside. Leave the drippings in the skillet.
  3. Add the onion, jalapeño peppers, garlic and ginger root to the skillet. Reduce to medium heat. Cook and stir for 3 to 5 minutes, until the onions are transparent. Remove from the heat.
  4. Add the rice; toss with onion mixture. Mix in the tomatoes, tomato paste, cumin and thyme. Cook and stir over medium heat for about 3 minutes.
  5. Arrange the chicken over the rice mixture in skillet. Combine the broth and lime juice in a medium bowl; pour over the chicken. Cover; reduce heat to simmer. Cook for about 30 minutes.
  6. Arrange the peas and carrots over chicken. Cover; continue to simmer for another 10 minutes, until the broth is absorbed, the rice is tender, and the chicken is cooked through. Remove from heat. Keep covered; rest for 10 minutes before serving.
  7. To serve, garnish with lime slices and cilantro or parsley.

Cooking Tips

As a variation, substitute or add chopped bell pepper or green beans for an equal amount of vegetables. Substitute cubed sirloin steak, peeled shrimp, tofu or seitan for the chicken drumsticks.

Nutrition Information

Serves 8

Calories: 520; Calories from fat: 210; Total fat: 23g; Saturated fat: 5g; Trans fat: 0g; Cholesterol: 90mg; Sodium: 450mg; Total carbohydrate: 49g; Dietary fiber: 5g; Sugars: 7g; Protein: 28g

Roberta Duyff, MS, RD, FAND, is author of Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Complete Food and Nutrition Guide and 365 Days of Healthy Eating.

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