MAN! Temperatures have dropped and it is, somehow, late fall… i.e., almost winter. Happened out of nowhere! While I love winter (a little bit, sometimes- I mean, Christmas is part of winter), my Dominican blood has me patiently and politely waiting out the next few months until tree buds appear and the birds come back. It will be summer again someday… right?
Until then, I’m occupying myself with cooking healthy, hearty meals and trying to get back into another winter habit/necessity… dragging myself to the gym. Almost gone are the sweaty days of running and biking outside, and swimming in the morning with the sun out. Welcome to the days of going to the gym early in the dark, cold mornings to stare at cinder block walls and run asfastaspossible from the locker room to the pool. BRR. Made this jambalaya last night to carb us up for this morning’s workouts and to satisfy our cold weather comfort food cravings (without expanding the ol’ waistlines). Like to hear it, here it go**:
CHICKEN AND SAUSAGE JAMBALAYA WITH BROWN RICE
Adapted from Big Girls, Small Kitchen– a fantastic blog
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 pkg Jennie-O turkey Kielbasa sausage, sliced
- 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into chunks
- holy trinity mirepoix: 1 onion, 1 green pepper, 2 stalks celery, in small dice
- 1-2 tsp crushed garlic, or 2 cloves, minced
- 3/4 tsp Cayenne pepper
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 28 oz canned diced tomatoes
- 1 8oz can tomato sauce
- 1 large bay leaf
- 2 tsp thyme
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1/2 tsp allspice
- 1/2-1 tsp ground black pepper
- 3 cups chicken stock (or 3 cups water with 3 tsp chicken base)
- 2 cups uncooked, long-grain brown rice (1 16oz bag)
- 1 stalk green onions, sliced
- Tabasco or other hot sauce, to taste
Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large stockpot and add the sausage slices. Brown the sausage slices on both sides and remove. Reduce heat to medium and add the holy trinity, scraping up the yummy browned sausage bits form the bottom of the pot. Cook until translucent, about 5 minutes.
Push the vegetables to the sides of the pot and add the chicken, browning for 5 minutes. Add the spices (cayenne, paprika, thyme, allspice, pepper, oregano) and toss the mixture to combine. Add the garlic, sausage, canned tomatoes and sauce, and the bay leaf; simmer this mixture, uncovered, for 5 more minutes.
Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Add the rice, stir to combine, cover the pot, and reduce heat to medium-low, cooking for an hour. Since you’re using brown rice, it may take longer to cook- try at the end of your cooking time and if it still needs a few minutes, add a bit more water, stir, and keep cooking. This dish can handle a lot of cooking. Let cool for a few minutes and serve with scallions and Tabasco. Carb up! Enjoy!
Before I let you go, a note on chicken thighs: they get a bad rap for being fattier than chicken breasts, but research shows that they contain more nutrients (and not that much fat at all, especially when skinned and trimmed). Much of the fat they do contain is monounsaturated. My tastebuds’ reasearch has shown that they’re much more flavorful and moist, and I prefer them to dry, bland chicken breast any day of the week. Need more convincing? Thighs are about half the price of breasts! So even if you’ve been a breast guy your whole life, take a walk on the wild side. Give thighs a try.
**Calhoun Tubbs has a song to share. Like to hear it, here it go: