A lovely friend of mine, Vida, is from Liberia. She recently launched a product line showcasing her amazing African spice blends. I have used in a few other recipes, but could not wait to add her amazing blends to my Spatchcock Chicken. I watched her make a recipe for Jollof rice (never even heard of this before I met her). I was determined to make a version of my own. However, I did need a little help. I found and followed an amazing recipe from Ev’s Eats…click here to view the original recipe. Although, I know it is not 100 percent authentic…I think Vida and Ev would be proud!
Most authentic recipes will call for fresh tomatoes. I did not have those, but had a bit of crushed leftover from a recipe, so I used those. Also, scotch bonnet peppers are typically used…I had jalapeños, so I used them in replacement. You do need to use parboiled rice. I did not have a package, but just steamed up Jasmine to about 70% of its full cook time. Oh…and I used Vida’s “Sassy Lady” blend for my seasoning. Click here to check it out!
Not only did I use her Sassy Lady blend for the seasoning in my Jollof rice, I also combined the spice with butter and rubbed all over my spatchcocked chicken! See photo below!
If you do not have parboiled rice, then start a pot of rice as you normally would and only cook to 70 percent. I just took a cup and a half of rice and added only 2 1/4 cups of water. That did the trick! In a food processor, or if using an immersion blender, in a bowl, add the tomatoes, red pepper and jalapeños. Blend for about a minute. You just want everything to blend well, not chunky. Reserve about a half cup of this mixture in a separate bowl (you will be using at the end).
Heat the olive oil to medium in a deep pan. Add in the sliced onion and allow to sweat and brown. Add in the tomato paste and “fry” the paste and onions for a few minutes.
Add the remaining blended tomato mixture to the pan. Stay near the stove for the next thirty minutes as this all comes together. You need to stir often to ensure the tomato mixture does not burn. You will see how it develops.
Turn the heat down to medium. Add in the chicken stock and the spice blend. Season with kosher salt and pepper. Turn up the heat and boil for about ten minutes.
Add in the parboiled rice. Add the first two and a half cups. See if you need the rest. It will all depend upon the amount of sauce. I used all three cups. Mix well. Add the bay leaves. Cover and allow to cook on medium-low heat for another 15 to 30 minutes. Add in the reserved half cup of blended tomatoes. Cover and cook another five minutes. Mix.
I served this Jollof rice as a side with my Spatchcock Chicken. Click here for recipe. ENJOY!