Having lived in the United States for several years and having travelled extensively within the country, I have eaten, and continue to eat, a LOT of American food. Though I LOVE my Southern barbecue and my New York Style Pizza, my FAVOURITE American food has to be the Louisiana Creole classic JAMBALAYA!

A self-proclaimed Jambalaya lover, I began cooking Jambalaya from the box! Judge me all you want but as a rookie cook, Zatarain’s Jambalaya Mix was a quick fix for the Jamba junkie in me. Over the years, my culinary prowess has increased considerably (my husband will attest to that :) ), enabling me to make a pretty kick-ass Jambalaya. Today I blog a recipe for a healthier Jambalaya that uses brown rice but is just as delicious.

For eight servings, you will need:

Five tablespoons of olive oil

One and a half medium-sized onions, chopped fine

Three fat pods of garlic, chopped

A generous pinch of oregano

Three bay leaves

Two jalapenos, chopped

Two cups of brown rice

Four cups of low-sodium chicken broth / water or a mix

Five ripe Roma tomatoes, chopped small

Half a green bell pepper + half a red bell pepper, chopped

Four boneless chicken thighs, cubed

One and a half sausages, chopped (Andouille prefered, I used Chourico)

Four handfuls of frozen squid cut into rings (Shrimp is commonly used)

Paprika, one tablespoon

Red chili powder, one tablespoon (You could use ground pepper instead)

Hot sauce, one tablespoon

Worcestershire Sauce, one tablespoon

Salt, to taste

Handful of Coriander leaves / cilantro, chopped

Two green onions, chopped

Method of Preparation:

Coat the bottom of a pot / dutch oven with a thin layer of olive oil and heat over a medium flame. Add in a generous pinch of oregano, bay leaves, chopped onions, jalapenos and garlic. Stir occasionally. Once the onions brown, add in pieces of four tomatoes. Keep one for a little later. Once the tomatoes become tender, add in the bell pepper pieces and the rest of the tomato pieces. Add in the chicken and sausage pieces. After a couple of minutes, add in the squid rings and stir in the brown rice. Add in the water/ broth, salt, paprika, chili powder and  the sauces, and let in cook over a low to medium flame for about 40 minutes or until the rice is cooked and the liquid is reduced. Taste and adjust for salt.

Once cooked, stir in the chopped coriander leaves (cilantro) and serve hot. Bon Appetit!