Helen Reynolds, a low FODMAP follower and fan of FODMAP Everyday®, asked us to take her beloved chicken and sausage jambalaya and FODMAP IT!™.
She provided us with the recipe and it looked like a good candidate so we gave it a go. We also asked Helen about the recipe’s provenance and got to know her relationship with FODMAPs.
Let’s Talk Jambalaya
Dédé: How did you first find or create this recipe and tell us why you love it!
Helen: I first found this recipe in a cookbook titled “Recipes and Reminiscences of Old New Orleans.” It has been a family favorite for over 35 years and was even on our Thanksgiving menu several times. It is a true southern comfort food.
How did you first discover the low FODMAP diet?
I learned about the FODMAP diet from YOU of course (we are old friends sharing our bull terriers in common). Since then I have tried to modify my cooking with the “rules” in mind. Initially I was trying a gluten free diet for my son but that was only partially successful. This has completely changed his life.
Helen, it is for people like you and David that we created FODMAP Everyday®! What have been some of the biggest challenges for you in terms of preparing meals and things to eat?
One of my biggest challenges involves the fact that my husband is diabetic so many of the flour and noodle/pasta substitutes, which are based on rice flour, bring his blood sugar way up. Frequently I prepare two different dinners so that David doesn’t have gastric issues and Paul has a low carb diet. The other challenge involves the fact that David is unable to eat dairy and is allergic to shellfish, oily fish and all tree nuts and peanuts. That rules out almond flour, shrimp, salmon and other ingredients that would otherwise add variety and flavor to the diet. Oh, and finding a way to eat out in restaurants is very difficult. We tried to explain in one restaurant that David wanted just plain grilled chicken and they continued to bring him chicken smothered in onions and green peppers with some sort of spicy sauce.
What tools do you use to help you navigate the diet?
I have a listing of high, medium and low FODMAP foods based on David’s reactions. For example, he cannot deal with onion or onion powder but garlic in reasonable amounts works for him. He MUST stay away from beans and soybeans but if they are sprouted until leaves are formed he can have those. I plan on purchasing the FODMAP app to aid me in shopping and meal planning in the very near future. Thank you for introducing me to this diet. It has given David, and me, a sense of control over his symptoms.
Tweaking the Original Recipe
The recipe that she provided us with definitely needed some tweaking. It contained 3 bay leaves, 3 onions, 4 ribs of celery, 5 cloves of garlic, smoked sausage and chili powder. All of these, especially stacked together, created FODMAP issues.
Part of what we want to do with this column is to teach all of you how to FODMAP recipes at home, so we will take this step by step.
- We reduced the bay leaves.
- Leek and scallion greens stand in for the onion.
- Celery was kept, but in a lowered amount.
- The garlic had to go and was replaced with Garlic-Infused Oil.
- The chili powder, which was probably a blend including garlic, was replaced with a suitable powdered chipotle chile pepper.
- The sausage was an issue as so many contain garlic and/or onion. Andouille sausage is classic, but loaded with garlic. This was replaced with a low FODMAP sausage.
- Her recipe didn’t include any bell peppers but they are low FODMAP, packed with flavor and color, and are often part of jambalaya recipes, so I knew I would be adding them.
Where There’s Smoke
Her recipe also contained liquid smoke and while this has not been tested, its ingredients, believe it or not, are completely natural. Many people assume that liquid smoke must be some sort of synthetic fakery, but according to the Colgin Company (which has been bottling liquid smoke since the 19th century), that’s not the case. Liquid smoke is made by channeling smoke from smoldering wood chips through a condenser, which quickly cools the vapors, causing them to liquefy. The water-soluble flavor compounds in the smoke are trapped within this liquid, while the non-soluble, carcinogenic tars and resins are removed by a series of filters, resulting in a clean, smoke-flavored liquid.
All that may be, but we have been making fabulous jambalaya for years with no liquid smoke, so we wanted to create a version for Helen and her family that would be flavorful enough without it.
Boiling versus Browning
There was one technique in Helen’s version that I found really interesting. It began with boiling the chicken and sausage and saving the water, which was used later to cook the rice. I loved the idea of repurposing this flavorful cooking water later in the recipe, but I also thought that browning the chicken would yield better flavor, color and texture. That said, I did decide to parboil the sausage and save that water for cooking the rice. I was also very excited to learn that boiling the sausage in water was plenty flavorful, eliminating the need for stock, allowing you one less pantry ingredient.
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I was able to recreate Helen’s Chicken & Sausage Jambalaya in 4 easy steps and make it low FODMAP. We want to thank Helen and David for bringing this family favorite to us so that we can now all enjoy it!
If you have a recipe that you would like us convert to a low FODMAP version, simply use our FODMAP IT!™ Submission form and let us know!
FODMAP IT!™ Chicken & Sausage Jambalaya
This FODMAP IT!™ Chicken & Sausage Jambalaya originally came from our friend Helen Reynolds. It is now safe for her FODMAPer family members - and tastes fabulous!
- 6 medium chicken thighs, skin on, bone in
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- 1/4 to 1 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
- 4 cups (960 ml) water
- 1 pound (455 g) low FODMAP sausage (we used a sweet sausage)
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) Garlic-Infused Oil
- 1/2 cup (36 g) chopped leeks, green parts only
- 1/2 cup (32 g) chopped scallions, green parts only
- 1 medium celery stalk, diced
- 1 medium green bell pepper cored, seeded and diced
- 1, 28 ounce (793 g) can diced tomatoes, preferably fire roasted
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 cups (370 g) long-grain white rice
- Place chicken thighs in a mixing bowl and add the paprika, salt, pepper, oregano, thyme and chipotle chile. Toss to coat well; set aside.
- Place water or stock in medium sized saucepan. Prick sausage in a few places and add to water. Bring to a boil over medium heat and simmer for about 5 minutes or until sausage is halfway cooked. Remove sausage to a cutting board to cool and save cooking water. Cut sausages into 1 inch (2.5 cm) pieces.
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat and brown chicken thighs, skin side down, for a few minutes or until nicely browned, about 5 minutes. Flip over and brown the other side, too. The chicken should be about three-quarters of the way cooked through. Remove from pan.
- Add leek and scallion greens, bell pepper and celery to pan and sauté for about 3 minutes, stirring often, until softened, but not browned. Stir in tomatoes and bay leaf, then stir in rice and 4 cups ((960 ml) of reserved sausage cooking water/stock. (Top off with water if necessary to make 4 cups/960 ml). Nestle chicken pieces in sauce, skin side up and scatter sausage all around. Cover, bring to a boil, then adjust heat and simmer for about 20 to 30 minutes or until rice is cooked and most of the liquid is absorbed - but the mixture should still be juicy. Chicken & Sausage Jambalaya is ready to serve or may be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Reheat gently on top of the stove or in microwave.
If You Can Tolerate
- If you have passed the fructan garlic challenge, feel free to sauté 2 minced garlic cloves along with the peppers and celery.
- If you have passed the fructan onion challenge you can use diced white or yellow onion in lieu of the leeks and scallions amount.
All nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered estimates. Actual nutritional content will vary with brands used, measuring methods, portion sizes and more. For a more detailed explanation, please read our article Understanding The Nutrition Panel Within Our Recipes.
Low FODMAP Recipes Created Just For You!
We take low FODMAP recipes seriously at FODMAP Everyday®. That’s why Dédé oversees our Test Kitchen and makes sure that each and every recipe works – and is low FODMAP following the most up-to-date science.
Read our article How Are Low FODMAP Recipes Created? for more in-depth information.
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FODMAP Everyday®Low FODMAP Recipes At A Glance:
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- Dédé has over 30 years of professional recipe development experience, including her stint as a Contributing Editor for Bon Appetit magazine and has written 17 cookbooks.
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