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.
- Season the chicken with black pepper.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- To serve, garnish with lime slices and cilantro or parsley.
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.
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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