New Tradition Jolof Rice

This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

Jolof rice, basically an African pilaf, is so widespread throughout West Africa that it might qualify as a culinary lingua franca in that region. Variations, which depend as much on the individual cook as on the country of origin, include adding shrimp, beef, or vegetables, or any combination of them, to the rice. Dee Dee Dailey has created a chicken jowl rice because “so many African-Americans are beginning to eat less red meat, and are in general concerned with health and dietary habits.” Dee Dee Dailey has updated this classic West African dish to reflect her approach to healthy, tasty eating. She prefers brown rice, uses chicken instead of pork, and stirs in carrots and green beans to add color.


Cooking Methodbaking, braising


Total Timeunder 4 hours

OccasionFamily Get-together

Recipe Coursemain course, side dish

Dietary Considerationegg-free, gluten-free, halal, healthy, kosher, lactose-free, soy free, tree nut free


Taste and Texturechewy, savory, spiced


  • 1 cup dried black-eyed peas, rinsed and picked over
  • 3 quarts water
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 (3-pound) chicken, cut into 8 pieces
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1½ cups canned crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2½ cups long-grain brown rice
  • 8 medium carrots, cut into ½-inch-thick rounds
  • ½ pound green beans, trimmed, cut into 2-inch lengths


  1. Combine the black-eyed peas with enough water to cover by 1 inch in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, and cook for 1 minute. Then remove the pan from the heat, cover tightly, and let stand for 1 hour. (Or soak the peas overnight in a large bowl with enough cold water to cover by 1 inch.) Drain the peas well.

  2. Place the black-eyed peas in a 5-quart Dutch oven and add the 3 quarts water. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat to medium, and cook for 15 minutes. Drain the peas in a colander set over a large bowl, reserving both the peas and 4 cups of the cooking liquid; discard the remaining cooking liquid.

  3. Heat the oil in a 5-quart flameproof casserole. In batches, add the chicken and cook over medium-high heat, turning often, until browned on all sides, about 6 minutes per batch. Using tongs, transfer the chicken to a plate and set aside.

  4. Add the onions, garlic, and ginger to the casserole and cook over medium-high heat, stirring often, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the curry powder and cayenne, and stir for 1 minute. Stir in the reserved cooking liquid, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, and salt; bring to a boil. Stir in the brown rice, reserved black-eyed peas, and carrots, and return to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and cook 10 minutes. Return the chicken to the casserole, cover, and cook for 15 minutes.

  5. Preheat the oven to 400°.

  6. Stir the green beans into the rice mixture, cover, and transfer the casserole to the oven. Bake until the rice is tender and the chicken shows no sign of pink at the bone when prodded with the tip of a sharp knife, about 30 minutes. Remove the casserole from the oven and let stand 15 minutes before serving.


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