Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Chicken and Sausage Jambalya Style

Jambalaya might just be the quintessential and most famous dish from New Orleans and it screams Mardi Gras. Originally thought to be created in the poorer southern bayou region by the Cajun's out of the need to stretch food due to its scarcity, the word itself is taken from the French word jambon, meaning ham and the African word aya, meaning rice. It is also commonly thought that the dish relates to the Spanish influences of Paella. There are so many ways of making jambalaya but the few constants are of course, the use of the Holy Trinity; celery, onion and green bell pepper, and the rice. The proteins can be anything from sausage, chicken, shrimp, pork or oysters. It's an almost endless variety of individual choices or combinations. Since we, as diabetics, don't always do well with carbohydrate laden rice I had to twist things around quite a bit but I think you are going to enjoy this version. I used the same flavors of a classic jambalaya, preserving its spicy and tangy taste and skipped the rice. I hope you enjoy.

Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya Style


4 skinless bone-in chicken thighs, about 12 ounces total, trimmed of all visible fat
4 ounces turkey kielbasa, cut into coins
1 tsp. canola oil
1 cup celery, diced
3/4 cup green bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp. tomato paste
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1 Tbsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 bay leaves
1/4 cup white wine
1 cup tomato, diced (canned no salt added is fine)
1/2 cup water
1 Tbsp. Tabasco sauce
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
4 large pimento stuffed green olives, sliced (optional)
black pepper

Season the chicken thighs with 1 teaspoon of paprika and black pepper and set aside. Coat a large saute pan with canola oil and saute the kielbasa on medium heat until nicely caramelized and some fat has been rendered. Remove and reserve. Pour off the excess fat from the pan and leave just 1 1/2 teaspoons. Brown the chicken on both sides on medium heat. The chicken will not be cooked through at this point. Remove and reserve.

Saute the celery, green peppers, onions and garlic on medium high heat for about 2 to 3 minutes and scrape bottom of pan to release the brown bits of flavor, called fond. Add the tomato paste, thyme, oregano, basil and spices including the bay leaf. Stir constantly and cook for a minute or two. Remove pan from the heat and add the white wine. Place back on heat and add the tomatoes, water and Tabasco sauce. Stir well to incorporate. Place the chicken and sausage back into the pan, bring to a simmer and reduce heat. Simmer for about 25 to 35 minutes, turning chicken once during cooking, or until chicken is done. Stir in the fresh parsley and green olives before serving.

Nutrition Facts
4 Servings
Amount Per Serving
Calories 289.0
Total Fat 12.7 g
Saturated Fat 3.4 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.6 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.9 g
Cholesterol 17.5 mg
Sodium 539.7 mg
Potassium 316.0 mg
Total Carbohydrate 12.5 g
Dietary Fiber 3.3 g
Sugars 5.0 g
Protein 26.7 g

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