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Chicken Jambalaya (Gluten-Free)

This recipe comes to us from Valerie Wells.

My best chicken jambalaya, yet. Jambalaya making is an art. In the little town of Gonzales, Louisiana, "Jambalaya Capital of the World" where I grew up, the locals work all their lives to perfect their own jambalaya recipe(s). These recipes are closely guarded family secrets. Theres a cook-off every summer at the "Jambalaya Festival." The winner is crowned Jambalaya King or Queen for the year and is privileged to be the official jambalaya cook for all the towns official functions. Ive been working on my own recipe for about ... well never mind how long!

I hope youll enjoy my latest version of chicken jambalaya. It will likely be my favorite for a while. I love it for its flavor and simplicity. The dark thigh meat browns nicely & enhances the flavor.

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The pros cook jamabalaya in a huge iron caldron over an open flame. I cook it on the stove top in a cast iron Dutch oven that holds about 5 quarts (Size 8). This recipe can be doubled in this size pot (My Dutch oven is NOT the camping kind with little legs.)

Ingredients (Serves 4):
1 tablespoon coconut oil
4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs cut in 1 inch chunks (chicken breast meat is too dry)
½onion, chopped
3 ribs celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup Asian type short grain brown rice (I use Tsuru Mai.)
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes (I use S & W.)
1 cup water
½ teaspoon salt
Black pepper

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 F. Heat the oil in heavy flame proof Dutch oven. Add chopped chicken & onions. Stir constantly over medium heat until onions are wilted. Stir in celery & garlic. Continue stirring & scraping bottom of pot until vegetables & chicken begin to brown. Stir in rice & stir a minute or two more so that some of the grains become opaque. Add remaining tomatoes & water, salt & pepper. Bring to boil & scrape bottom of pot once more. (The brown stuff stuck to the bottom of the pot is what gives the characteristic flavor to this jambalaya.) Cover tightly & bake in oven for 45 minutes. Allow to sit 10 to 15 minutes before serving.

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