Mardi Gras Jambalaya Recipe

2 pounds chicken thighs, skin and excess fat removed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 seeded green bell pepper, diced
3 medium onions, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
6-ounce can tomato paste
4 cups reduced-sodium, fat-free chicken broth
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
14-ounce can whole tomatoes in juice, drained and chopped
2 teaspoons Creole or Cajun spice blend (or 1 teaspoon oregano, teaspoon thyme and to 1 teaspoon cayenne to taste)
2 small bay leaves
2 cups long-grain white rice, rinsed and drained well
1 cup finely sliced scallion greens for garnish (optional)
Hot sauce (optional)

Pat chicken dry and season with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a deep, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. Add chicken (in batches, if necessary, depending on size of pan, so pieces aren't crowded) and lightly brown on both sides. (Browning will take 8 to 10 minutes if chicken is sauteed in one batch.) As chicken is browned, transfer pieces to a bowl.

To the leftover hot oil in the pan, add bell pepper and onions and cook until onions are golden and softened, about 8 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until light gold, about 1 minute. Stir in tomato paste and lightly cook until sugar in the tomato paste begins to caramelize and turn a rich mahogany color. Stir constantly, slightly decreasing heat if necessary to make sure tomato paste doesn't burn.

Gradually whisk or stir in chicken broth until mixture is well blended. Blend in Worcestershire sauce, tomatoes, seasonings and bay leaves. Raise heat to medium to heat mixture until hot. Add salt and pepper to taste, if necessary. Stir in rice. Add chicken. Cover and simmer until rice is tender and most of the liquid is absorbed, about 20 to 25 minutes, stirring frequently. Add more broth or water if mixture becomes too dry before rice becomes tender.

Check Jambalaya to make sure liquid is simmering gently and that liquid hasn't cooked away before rice is done. Add more chicken broth if necessary. Remove bay leaves. Check seasoning and add more cayenne, salt and pepper if desired. Serve immediately, garnished with scallions and with hot sauce on the side, if desired. Makes 13 servings (1 cup each).

From the American Institute for Cancer Research