I love jag – jagacida – a Cape Verdean beans and rice dish that I learned from my mother-in-law. I make a batch of it once a week and my husband eats it for lunch pretty much every day. I decided to try to come up with a healthier version, subbing out the linguiça sausage with chicken, adding more beans, and subbing brown rice for the original white rice. I have to say I’m very pleased with the results on my first try! Here’s the altered recipe if you’re interested in making it for yourself:
1 pound chicken breasts
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
½ teaspoon black pepper
4-½ cups water
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon adobo powder
1 teaspoon paprika
3 large bay leaves
2 cans kidney beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups long grain brown rice
1 bag frozen chopped collard greens
Cook the chicken breasts with your preferred method. I used my Instant Pot, poured about a cup of chicken broth in, sprinkled a little adobo powder on top, and cooked them on low pressure for 14 minutes. Once they were cooked, I shredded them.
Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a large saucepan (Dutch oven sized). Fry the onions and garlic until the onions are tender and translucent, and then add the chicken and black pepper. Stir for a couple of minutes and then add the water, tomato paste, adobo powder, paprika, and bay leaves, stirring until the the tomato paste is dissolved. Add the kidney beans, rice, and collard greens, stirring well to combine. Bring to a boil on high temperature, then turn the heat to low and cover the pan, cooking for 45-50 minutes. Check occasionally and stir to avoid sticking. Remove the bay leaves before serving.
I don’t think this cuts out that many calories from the original, but dropping the high-fat sausage and using brown rice instead of white definitely makes me feel healthier eating it! Also, adding the collards obviously bumps up the nonexistent vegetable quotient.