Kick it Up a Notch!

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Kick it up a notch! If the world seems cold to you, fire up the stove and cook up some warmth. I grew up on a small farm and we had limited funds so going to the local Co-op grocery store to purchase packaged foods or an array of expensive spices was not an option. I remember salt and pepper were my main source of seasoning. We grew an extensive garden so I would use such herbs as dill, mustard seeds, chives and parsley when fresh in the warmer seasons and then dry them to use in winter. I believe using my imagination without all the extras made me a better cook because my techniques and skills had to develop to produce a flavorful result. Today I appreciate all spices, and enjoy using them in all my cooking. I love to dazzle my foods with them because when a recipe connects to your senses it takes on a more memorable and lasting impression.

I chose a jambalaya recipe for this blog because of the warmth of the cayenne pepper, chili powder and all spice that are in the preparation. You can spice it up to your taste and even add some hot pepper sauce. So try some spices this wintry season to warm your body and penetrate your soul.

Creole Shrimp Jambalaya

4 tbsp. butter

1 medium white onion chopped

½ cup celery chopped

1 medium green pepper seeded and chopped

3 gloves garlic crushed

2 cups cubed cooked ham

2 tbsp. tomato paste

2 dried bay leaves

1 tbsp. fresh thyme chopped finely

¼ tsp. cayenne

¼ tsp. chili powder

⅛ tsp. all spice

½ tsp. salt

½ tsp. black pepper

1½ cups long grain white rice

1 540 ml can chunky stewed tomatoes

2 ½ cups chicken broth

1½ pounds fresh large shrimp peeled

1 tsp. paprika

½ cup finely chopped parsley

Melt butter in a large Dutch oven; add the onion, celery, green pepper and garlic and sauté over medium-high heat until tender and fragrant. Add the ham and cook until the ham browns slightly. Stir in the tomato paste and cook until the tomato paste takes on a darker hue.

Add all the seasonings then stir in the rice, add the stewed tomatoes and the chicken stock then bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for 25 minutes covered or until the rice is cooked. Place the shrimp on top of the rice, cover and continue cooking until the shrimp turn pink and are cooked through.

Sprinkle the paprika over the Jambalaya and fluff with a fork gently mixing it through out the Jambalaya.

Sprinkle the parsley on top and serve.

If you would like a lower carbohydrate option you can replace the long grain rice with quinoa. You can also add more spices if you prefer and can serve with hot sauce to spice it up more.

#shrimp #jambalaya #spice #entree #comfortfood