My friend asked me the other day if I had a recipe for jollof. I told her that I had heard of it, but had never made any. She said it would be something I’d like. I was intrigued and told her I would check it out.
So, what is jollof? Jollof is a one-pot rice dish popular in many West Africa countries including Ghana and Nigeria. If it has a North American equivalent, you could loosely say it is similar to jambalaya without the celery.
Spicy and colorful, jollof is fun to bring to the table where it is sure to elicit oohs and aahs. My recipe includes slices of sausage (vegetarian sausage, of course). You can leave the sausage out, but it turns a side dish into a hearty meal. I like to remove the seeds from the habanero pepper but if you like super spicy rice, leave the seeds in. If you don’t like it spicy, do not put the habanero in at all!
Yael, hope you enjoy!
3 links of Lightlife Italian smart sausages (cut into ½-inch thick pieces)
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil plus 1 teaspoon (divided)
4 medium red bell peppers (sliced fine)
2 large sweet onions (fine dice)
3 cloves garlic (minced)
2 teaspoons salt
1 Habanero pepper (deveined, seeded sliced thin)
4 ounces plum tomatoes (medium dice)
1 teaspoon dried thyme
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon Alleppo pepper
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
1 heaping teaspoon tomato paste
2½ cups vegetable stock
1¼ cups basmati rice
Using a nonstick pan, fry the sausage over medium-high heat for 2 minutes. Turn each slice over and continue frying for 2 minutes more. Cover, remove from heat, and set aside.
Using a 4-quart sauce pan, sauté the peppers and onions in the oil over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add garlic, salt, habanero pepper, tomatoes, and dry seasonings (thyme thru paprika) and cook for another 10 minutes over medium heat, stirring on occasion. Add the tomato paste, cook for 60 seconds more.
Stir the vegetable stock and oil into the pepper/onion mixture. Heat over medium-high heat until it begins to bubble. Add rice and stir to combine. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Open the lid and stir gently, but thoroughly, again. Cover and simmer for another 10 minutes. Open and stir for a final time, then simmer for a final 10 minutes.
Turn the heat off and allow to steam, covered, for another 15 minutes. Keeping it covered while it cools improves the final taste and texture of the rice. Take off the cover and let heat escape for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork to separate the rice, slowly working inward from the edge of the pan in a swirling motion. Gently fold sausage into cooked rice and serve immediately.
Note: This recipe makes a generous amount for two and may be doubled to feed four.