Makes 4 to 6 servings
Hands-on time: 15 minutes
Total preparation time: 15 minutes
In its authentic form this Cajun specialty is so wonderful that Hank Williams wrote a love song to it half a century ago. My version is much simpler than the classic. It does indeed boast many of the elements of the traditional jambalaya, but it’s mainly a great way to use leftover rice – especially the kind left over from Chinese takeout. Of course, this recipe is equally delicious using freshly cooked Simple Boiled Rice, Sara’s Secrets for Weeknight Meals, page 40.
1 cup sliced onion (from the salad bar)
1 cup sliced red bell pepper (from the salad bar)
1 cup sliced green bell pepper (from the salad bar)
1 cup sliced celery (from the salad bar)
1-pound slice fully cooked ham (about 1 1/4 pounds if it has fat and bone)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon packaged Creole or Cajun spice mix (see Tips, recipe below)
1 cup canned chicken broth or Chicken Stock (see Episode 103)
2 cups cooked long-grain white rice
One 10-ounce package frozen corn
1/2 16-ounce jar hot pickled okra, optional garnish
If the onion, bell pepper, and celery are in large pieces, cut them into 1-inch pieces. Cut the ham into 1-inch pieces. Heat the oil in a large skillet over high heat until hot. Reduce the heat to medium; add the vegetables and ham to the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables soften, about 5 minutes.
Stir in the flour and seasoning until vegetables are completely coated. Add the chicken broth. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Stir in the rice and corn; cook until hot. Transfer to a serving platter and garnish with pickled okra, if desired.
Creole Spice Mix: Mix 4 teaspoons hot paprika, 1 tablespoon kosher salt, 1 tablespoon garlic powder, 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper, 1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder, 1 1/2 teaspoons cayenne pepper, 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano, 1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme in a small bowl. Store in an airtight container. Makes about 1/2 cup.