This week I have been craving veggies in a big way. Considering I usually crave things like Buffalo Mac and Cheese and pretty much any kind of taco, this was definitely something to take note of. Don’t get me wrong, I looove veggies, I enjoy them greatly, I eat them all the time- but I rarely crave them in the same way.
This happens sometimes, and I always listen to it when it does, because it probably means that my body is lacking in whatever I’m craving.
I remember distinctly the last time this happened, since all I wanted was a big bowl of greens. Spinach, lettuce, anything. I wanted leaves. When I asked my good friend Jas, “don’t you ever just crave a big bowl of leaves?” she replied with “no, what am I, some kind of goat?”
And she’s been calling me Finnie her Little Goat ever since. (even funnier since I don’t think goats even eat leaves? Don’t they eat… hay? And stuff?)
This time, it wasn’t greens I was hankering for, it was a rainbow of veg. I wanted to eat the rainbow, but not in the Skittles way. Usually, when I feel this way I make this salad or this salad, since they are both deadly delicious and so healthy, they make my body feel like I just aged back 10 years.
Unfortunately, it has been pouring with rain this week. Pouring. I needed warmth, a rainbow of veggie warmth.
Jambalaya, how I love you. This recipe is amazingly healthy, but it’s also warm and hearty. The Andouille sausage is so flavourful, you don’t need to use much to give your jambalaya that smoky, savoury punch. The rest of the protein in the dish is lean and clean: chicken breast and prawns.
Can we talk about okra?? A lot of people don’t use okra in their jambalaya, choosing instead to keep it for things like gumbo. (fun trivia: gumbo is very similar to jambalaya but it served over rice, jambalaya has the rice added in raw and cooked in- making it a heavenly, smoky, Southern risotto type dish *searches desperately for heart eyes emoji*)
Back to the okra. Okra is amazing. Okra is cheap. Okra is really, really healthy. A lot of people are put off by it since when you cut into an okra pod it is… snotty. Okra pods release a mucilage, but when you cook them, this disappears- all the health benefits but without the errr… somewhat off-putting texture.
Okra is rich in dietary fiber, folates, and a whole battery of Vitamins and minerals. Heck, even that mucilage is good for you! Happy guts for everyone! In short, dive in, it’s good stuff.
I like to use three different kind of rice in my jambalaya. Traditionally, just long grain rice is used but I have seen everything from brown rice to arborio (risotto) rice. For me, it’s all about contrasting textures, since this veggie bowl is celebrates texture and depth of flavour.
I used a little bit of smoked basmati, some red rice and a bit of wild rice, but you can use any combination you like. I used to get these rice mixes from Costco which even included things like barley and quinoa- if you have a package sort of like that lying around, use it! Contrasting textures.
Since we’re simmering the rice in the jambalaya, don’t worry to much about over-cooking the grains. The longer a jambalaya simmers, the more the flavours meld so it’s a pretty easygoing dish. If you like to keep texture in all your different rices, add the more hearty grains first (wild rice), followed by the medium hard ones (brown rice), and finish with the softest grains (white rice). In the end… doesn’t hugely matter, though- let’s not over-think this beautiful one pot dish.
|One-Pot Three-Rice Jambalaya|| |
- Olive oil
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 celery spines, finely chopped
- 1 red, orange or yellow bell pepper, chopped
- 3 jalapeno peppers, veins and seeds removed, finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, crushed
- 2 carrots, finely chopped
- 12 fresh okra pods, tops removed, cut into ¼" inch slices
- 2 chicken breasts, chopped
- 450 g Andouille sausage, chopped*
- 1 large tin diced tomatoes
- 1 Tbsp Worchestershire sauce
- 1 Tbsp smoked paprika
- ½ tsp dried oregano
- ½ tsp dried thyme
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 cup long grain white rice**
- ½ cup wild rice**
- ½ cup red rice**
- 3 cups chicken or seafood stock
- 12 fresh prawns, shell removed
- 2 green onions, chopped (garnish)
- Vinegar-based hot sauce (optional, to serve)
- Heat a glug of oil in a large, heavy bottomed pot over medium heat. Add onion, celery, bell pepper, jalapeno, garlic and carrots. Stir and cook until the onions and celery have softened, about 5 minutes. Add okra, stir and cook for an additional 2 minutes or so until the okra has steamed out some of it's 'snotty' texture.
- Add chicken breasts and sausage and cook until chicken appears mostly cooked. Add tomatoes, Worchestershire sauce and all spices. Stir though until well combined. Add rice and stir until incorporated. Add stock, bring to a boil, and then lower heat to a simmer. Simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
- In the last 10 minutes of cooking, add the prawns. They should turn bright pink when fully cooked. Serve with a sprinkle of green onion and a vinegar-based hot sauce like Tabasco, Franks Red Hot, etc.
** You can use any rice you like, although I would recommend adding some different kinds in there. Wild rice, for example, lends a beautiful texture to something like this. I have seen 'rice mixes' before at the grocery store, which even include things like barley and other grains- these work great!