Jambalaya

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I like rice. I like, really like rice. I’ll take it any way I can get it- fried with egg, seasoned with paprika and put in enchiladas, biryani, khichidi, risotto, or simply topped with a runny egg. But one of my favorite ways to eat it is in jambalaya. It’s flavorful, surprisingly healthy, and really low on effort! The prep time is under 10 minutes, and then you just cook it for 20. You can definitely use a store bought Cajun seasoning, but… why? This is a vegetarian version- I don’t have access to Andouille sausage or alligator, and crawfish makes my head swell up.

 

INGREDIENTS

 

2 bell peppers

1 onion

2 tomatoes

4 oz parsley

2 cups rice

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 bay leaf

4 cups vegetable broth (not shown)

1 tablespoon cajun seasoning (store-bought) OR

1 recipe cajun seasoning (below)

 

CAJUN SEASONING

 

1 tablespoon garlic powder

2 teaspoons onion powder

2 teaspoons pepper

1 teaspoon paprika

½ teaspoon nutmeg

½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

 

Start by slicing up all the vegetables. You can add some celery, if you want! I was plumb out, and I’m not in the habit of using things I’m plumb out of. A couple of years back, I tried my hardest to like celery. I tried it with peanut butter. I tried it with Nutella. I tried it with sprinkles. I tried it with hot fudge. I tried it with all of the above. Eventually, I had to accept that the health effects of celery were somewhat nullified by all the stuff I was putting on it. I haven’t bought it since! And I’ve been doing just fine, let me tell ya.

Now it’s time to make the seasoning. Skip this if you have your own! You have to put more of the homemade stuff because the flavor isn’t as intense as that of the store-bought, mostly because this isn’t packed full of MSG! Just mix it all up,

and throw in the sugar for good measure.

Now heat up some oil in a large pot- keep in mind we’re cooking the rice and vegetables in here.

Throw in the veggies

and half the seasoning,

and saute them over very high heat. You just want to get some color on them!

Now pour in the rice,

and stir it around.

Pour in the broth, the rest of the seasoning, and salt to taste. Taste a little bit of the broth, once everything’s in it- it should be saltier than you want, because the rice and vegetables are going to absorb it.

Let it come to a boil,

then reduce the heat and put a lid on. Cook it anywhere from 15-20 minutes- poke it periodically to see how far along it is. Don’t stir it, though! That’ll ruin the presentation. When it’s done, just remove the lid, and it’s ready to serve!

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