Happy New Year Delish D’Liters! I’ve been relaxing for the past few days in the great city of New Orleans. The hubby and I planned a trip to take a New Year’s cruise from NOLA, and then we spent a few days in the city after the cruise returned. Let me just say, all the hype about the New Orleans and Cajun/Creole food is well deserved. I’ve had some of the most delicious food ever in this city! Gumbo, Étouffée, Jambalaya, oh my! Cajun food is the kind of food that feeds your soul, it’s so damn delicious! However, it can also be really high in calories, so in the spirit of the New Year, New Me mantra we are all chanting, I’ve lightened up this traditionally calorie-laden meal with a few smart swaps.
The birthplace of jambalaya is the French Quarter of New Orleans. It was an attempt by the Spanish to make paella in the New World, where saffron not readily available due to import costs. Tomatoes became the substitute for saffron. As time went on, French influence became strong in New Orleans, and spices from the Caribbean changed this New World paella into a unique dish. In modern Louisiana, the dish has evolved along a variety of different lines. Creole jambalaya, or red jambalaya, is found primarily in and around New Orleans, where it is simply known as “jambalaya”. Creole jambalaya includes tomatoes, whereas Cajun jambalaya does not.
My skinny chicken andouille jambalaya hits all the right flavor notes, without the unnecessary fat. Instead of butter, we’re using avocado oil, my favorite cooking oil. It’s heart-healthy and can be safely used at high cooking temps (up to 500 degrees F). Instead of fatty pork Andouille sausage, I’m using Bilinski’s chicken Andouille sausage, which contains 80% less fat than the pork equivalent, and tastes amazing! Each (huge!) link is only 70 calories, and they’re perfectly spiced so you can feel great about eating these delicious sausages. Ok, let’s make some jambalaya!
Skinny Chicken Andouille Jambalaya
- 1 tablespoon avocado oil or sub with canola or vegetable oil
- 2 links chicken or turkey Andouille sausage sliced lengthwise and cut into 1/4" thick half moons
- 1 cup celery diced
- 1 cup onion diced
- 1 cup bell pepper diced
- 4 garlic cloves minced
- 1 1/2 cups parboiled rice
- 2 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes undrained
- 2 teaspoons Creole seasoning or more to taste
- 8 springs fresh thyme
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 sliced green onion for garnish
Chop the peppers, onions, celery, garlic, and sausage.
Heat a Dutch oven or stock pot on medium heat, then add the avocado oil and sausage. Cook the sausage for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it's nicely browned.
Add in the peppers, onions, celery. Saute for 5 minutes, then add the garlic and Creole seasoning. Allow the veggies to caramelize, you want the bottom of the pot to be covered in brown bits.
Next, add the chicken broth, diced tomatoes, thyme, bay leaves and red pepper flakes.
Bring the liquid mixture to a boil, then add the rice. Stir, then cover the pot and lower the heat to medium-low.
Cook on medium-low for 25-30 minutes, or until the rice has absorbed the liquid and is cooked through. Garnish with a sprinkle of chopped green onions.