Jollof With Turkey Ham

I don’t eat a whole lot of starch foods, but rice is the item I’d be most likely to eat, besides starchy vegetables. But I may end up eating rice more often with this recipe for jollof.

Jollof is a meat and rice dish that comes in many varieties in the countries of West Africa. I didn’t really know much about jollof before reading the recipe on this page, from the Oldways organization, but the recipe sounded simple enough, filling and a good fit for my family, because my husband and son are avid rice eaters.

I made the dish to the letter of the recipe last week, and I liked it, but my husband didn’t think it resembled the jollof he’d eaten back home, in Ivory Coast. His biggest stumbling blocks were the brown rice and the spices.

So I went back to the drawing board today. And this is my adaptation of the Oldways recipe, from Dr. Jessica B. Harris:

  • 1 can diced tomatoes, drained, reserving liquid
  • 2 cups white rice or 1 1/2 cups brown rice, uncooked
  • 4 cups of liquid for the white rice, and 3 cups liquid for the brown rice. Start with the tomato liquid when measuring, then add the other type of liquid. (I used chicken broth, but you could go with water to reduce the amount of sodium in the dish.)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, minced small
  • minced garlic to taste
  • 1/2 lb. turkey ham, diced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2-4 cups cabbage, chopped
  • 2 T tomato paste
  • 1 can black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
  • Curry powder to taste
  • Cajun spice to taste

Cook the rice with the tomato juice and other liquid. (I made the white rice in a rice cooker, and I only used about 2/3 of the rice for the recipe.)

When the rice approaches the end of its cooking time, cook the onion, garlic and turkey ham in a large skillet until the ham is browned. Add the carrots, cabbage, tomato paste, peas and spices; mix the ingredients and cook until heated through.

Add the cooked rice, thoroughly incorporating it into the ham and peas mixture.

A serving size is 1 1/2 cups. Eat the rice with a vegetable on the side.

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