The Spaniards governing New
Orleans in the 18th century called all residents of European
heritage criollo, which later became creole and implied a refined
cultural background. Creole cooking reflects the French, Spanish
and African cuisines that were stirred together in early New
Orleans pots. It is considered more sophisticated than Cajun
cooking. Creole foods use more tomatoes, and Cajun more spices.
Both make liberal use of chopped green peppers and onions.
The following chicken jambalaya
is an updated, more healthful version than the traditional dish.
But it is full of flavor, without a lot of fat and cholesterol.
With some advance planning, its an easy dish to put together.
Chicken Jambalaya - Makes 6 servings.
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 lb. skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut in 3/4-inch pieces
1 can (14.5 oz.) whole plum tomatoes in juice
1 rib celery, cut in 1/2-inch slices
1 small green bell pepper, chopped
1 scallion, diced
1 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 bay leaf
1 tsp. dried thyme
1/4 tsp. dried red pepper flakes
1 pinch ground cloves
1 cup long-grain brown rice, cooked according to package directions
In a 3-quart Dutch oven, heat
oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic. Sauté,
stirring frequently, until onion is tender but not brown, about
4 minutes. Add chicken and cook, stirring, until pieces are white
on all sides.
Add tomatoes with liquid, breaking
up with spoon. Mix in celery, bell pepper, scallion and tomato
paste. Stir in bay leaf, thyme, pepper flakes and cloves. Bring
to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until chicken is cooked
and sauce has thickened, about 20 minutes.
Remove bay leaf. Stir rice into
chicken mixture until well combined.
Per serving: 233 calories, 4
g. total fat (less than 1 g. saturated fat), 32 g. carbohydrate,
17 g. protein, 4 g. dietary fiber, 223 mg. sodium.