Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Some issues

Chicken Jambalaya
The South Beach Diet Quick and Easy Cookbook Copyright 2005

1 ½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 bunches scallions, white and green parts, chopped (2 tablespoons reserved for garnish)
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ cup whole-grain quick-cooking brown rice
1/8 teaspoon sugar-free Cajun seasoning or cayenne pepper I used a lot of Cajun seasoning
2 cups lower-sodium chicken broth
1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes I used Glen Muir organic
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Season chicken with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large, straight-sided skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken, scallions, bell pepper, and garlic; cook stirring often, until vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes.

Stir in rice and Cajun seasoning. Add broth and tomatoes with juice and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid is absorbed, about 30 minutes. If jambalaya has excess moisture, cook uncovered for 3 to 5 minutes. Sprinkle with reserved scallions and serve.

I had some issues with this dish. I never use instant rice but I could see that the directions on the box call for one part rice: one part water. This recipe called for two cups of broth, the juice from the tomatoes and only 1/2 cup of instant rice. It was very soupy but since I suspected it would be, I made extra rice and threw it in and then boiled off the excess moisture. Was it supposed to be that soupy? I've made other jambalayas (well, lots of Zatarain's!) and they weren't soupy.

The flavor was very good, not as flavorful as a recipe using smoked sausage but still very good. I wasn't crazy about the instant rice. I didn't think I would be but I thought I would try it out since a lot of cookbooks with the quick and healthy theme use instant brown rice since regular brown rice takes so long to cook. I prefer to cook regular brown rice the night before. I can still get dinner on the table quickly and it's healthier and has a better texture. Since most recipes that call for instant rice, cook the rice right in the liquid in the recipe, it can be hard to know how to substitute regular brown rice.

The other issue I had is - what is a 'bunch' of scallions? That's not a very specific amount. I usually consider the bulb and it's shoots to be one scallion . I can buy them in a bag or bunched together and twistie tied or wrapped in a styrofoam produce tray, all very different amounts, depending on where I buy them. I think I ended up using 4-5 scallions.

I pulled out some of the extra garlic bread that I had frozen after my son's birthday party. It was made with the Italian Bread and it was so good! I wasn't able to appreciate it the day of the party since I was on overdrive. Then I had a small piece of Italian sub made with the bread but it was overshadowed by the spicy sandwich fillings. It wasn't until last night that I realized how good the bread was. Not bad for a novice.

I'd also like to report that the Orange Bran Muffins are still very moist and delicious after a few days in a large ziploc bag.

Blast From The Past: Jambalaya Stir-Fry on Cajun Rice from October 2005. You really can't go wrong with jambalaya. Even when it's not that good, it's still pretty good.

Question of the Day: What kind of rice do you usually use?


Anonymous said...

I'm trying to use brown rice more than I used to. I keep regular, instant and boil-in-bag and use whichever the recipe calls for or will work the best, in my opinion.


Anonymous said...

I use brown rice just about all the time. However, there are a few things that I'd probably use white rice for just because that is the recipe and the time is set for white rice.

DancesInGarden said...

Either converted (parboiled) white rice, basmati, or brown. Just recently I bought a bag of brown mixed with a little wild but haven't tried it yet.

Anonymous said...

I usually use either jasmine or basmati rice unless there's a specific reason I don't want a flavored rice. I have used the instant rice but only in the crockpot - that usually holds up pretty well and gets cooked.

Anonymous said...

I don't make rice very often but when I do it's always long grain white rice. I could never get into brown rice, although I know it's healthier for you.

ThursdayNext said...

Oddly enough, I dont cook rice that often. When I do, its usually basmati with an Indian dish. When out, I like ordering brown rice. I like the flavor more than white rice.

Anonymous said...

I usually use Trader Joe's jasmine or basmati. I know I should use brown rice more often, but for most dishes, I just don't like it.

Anonymous said...

I've made this dish a number of time and while delicious yes, it is soupy which I don't like so I am going to try it with either less broth or more rice.