Have you ever been to New Orleans? Have you ever partied on Beale Street while drinking Hurricanes? Ever been to Mardi Gras? I can only say yes to one of those. I have been to New Orleans, twice actually. The first time, on a mission trip with my youth group when I was a senior in high school. We did venture to Beale Street one night with our youth group and I have to say that my little sheltered self was in shock. It was a little scary down there at night. The second time I went to New Orleans, I was 21 and went to Lalapalooza with a bunch of friends at the University of New Orleans. It was CRAAAZY and even scarier than Beale Street. I'm just a small town girl. My idea of a walk on the wild side is being out until 2:00 a.m. I don't flash people. I don't have tattoos and I don't pierce things, other than my ears - not that I have a problem with any of those, I've just never done it myself (I'm a chicken butt). But, what I did love about my experience in New Orleans, was the food. YUM!
I found this awesome recipe at Our Best Bites - one of my new favorite recipe blogs, which is run by two ladies, Sara and Kate. They rock and have tons of great recipes!! Check them out. Here's my new fave:
2 1/2 c. white rice
5 c. water
2-3 Tbsp. butter
1 green pepper, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 bunch green onions, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
A lot of garlic (probably 5-6 cloves), minced
1/2 lb. high-quality smoked sausage
1/2 lb. ham (you can also substitute leftover fauxtisserie chicken, shrimp, or other shellfish; however, you'll also need to compensate for the smokey flavor and the salt from the ham, so be prepared with liquid smoke and salt to taste. And you'll want it to have a distinct smokey flavor.)
**I used shrimp**
1 8-oz. can tomato sauce
Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning (you could use another Cajun or Creole seasoning, but this brand is widely accessible and cheap) to taste
Combine rice and water in a medium-large saucepan and cover with lid. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low and cook 20 minutes or until rice is cooked. Remove from heat and allow to stand an additional five minutes.
While rice is cooking, finely chop sausage and ham (in your food processor if you have one)
and set aside. Melt butter over medium heat in a very large skillet. When butter is hot and bubbly, add onion, green onions, green pepper, and celery and cook until tender. Add chopped meat and cook, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes. Add tomato sauce and then add cooked rice. Now start seasoning with the Cajun seasoning. It's hot, I won't lie, so if you find that it's getting spicy enough for your taste but it's still not salty enough, leave the Cajun seasoning alone and just finish seasoning it with Kosher salt. Cook for about 10 more minutes, stirring frequently. Serve and enjoy! And be sure to save some leftovers--it tastes even better the next day! (Okay, that comment about eating it the next day - mine didn't make it that long so I can't verify that it's actually better the next day. HEE! HEE!)
Doesn't that look good? See that 1 1/2 cup serving there? Wouldn't y'all be proud of me if I told y'all that's all I ate? Just wondered. I actually ate two FULL bowls. This stuff ROCKS!