Thursday, July 9, 2015

Skillet Jambalaya

There is something about summertime that makes me crave New Orleans-style food. Maybe it’s the heat and humidity, which brings to mind images of ornate iron balconies, people slowly strolling down Bourbon Street, and jazz music flowing out club doors in the thick, humid air. Perhaps it’s the spicy seasonings of home-style dishes that seem ready-made for the heat that settles over everywhere this time of year.

Of course, I’ve never actually been to New Orleans. My images all come from cookbooks and travel magazines. I have Emeril Lagasse, Justin Wilson, Paul Prudhomme, and Tom Fitzmorris to thank for introducing me to the flavors I will always associate with a vibrant city and region I hope to visit someday soon.

Jambalaya is a favorite dish I’ve made for years. The original recipe isn’t difficult, but this skillet version is even simpler since it utilizes leftover rice. (Now you have something to do with those containers of white rice that always seem to be left after every take-out Chinese meal.) Everything is cooked in the skillet, so clean-up is minimal. Best of all, the taste is…wow!  (Or should I say, “Bam!”)

Skillet Jambalaya
Serves 4

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 green pepper, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 14.5-ounce can petite diced tomatoes, drained
1 tablespoon Creole seasoning (see recipe below)
1 pound smoked sausage, sliced
1/2 pound raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 cups cooked rice

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, green pepper, and celery. Saute until tender and the onions are translucent. Add the garlic and cook for a bit until it become fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the diced tomatoes and Creole seasoning. Add the smoked sausage and cook until it’s heated through. Add the shrimp and cook for 2 minutes. Then stir in the rice and continue to cook until the shrimp is cooked and the rice is warm. Serve.

Almost Emeril Lagasse’s Creole Spice Mix
Makes 2/3 cup

2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or more to taste

Place all of the ingredients into a bowl and stir to combine will. Store in an air-tight container. (I use a Mason jar.)

1 comment:

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

I must say I would love to go to New Orleans some day so you are tweaking those old wanderings with this post.