Eating Jambalaya always brings me back to the time I worked on Bourbon Street in New Orleans. I think the year was 1995. I had taken a job working with my father on a steel crew. We spent two weeks breathing diesel fuel exhaust while welding white metal plates on the new Crystals fast food restaurant. It was hard, miserable work, but I loved the time I spent after work exploring the area. In particular, I loved all the street musicians, the architecture of the French Quarter, the Voodoo shops and especially the FOOD! I remember how much I would look forward to our lunch breaks, when I could scope out some little cafe or diner and order Jambalaya, Gumbo, or hoagies filled to the brim with cajun-spiced shrimp (before I had to deal with celiac disease).
The following dish brought back a flood of memories, and put a huge smile on my face! Although it doesn't contain Andouille Sausage (a staple of many Jambalaya recipes), it tastes great nonetheless. It's also a lot healthier, since it uses low-fat Turkey Bacon instead. This dish tastes better the longer the spices are allowed to set into the food. I swear, the best it tasted was as a "leftover" meal, a full two days after I made it. Of course, you can easily make this dish vegetarian by substituting bacon with "facon," it's all up to you. But regardless, I'm sure you'll love it!
- 1/4 pound turkey bacon (make sure it's GF!)
- 1 pound fresh (or frozen) sliced okra
- 1 cup chopped onions
- 1 (16 oz.) can stewed tomatoes
- 1 (16 oz.) can whole kernel corn, drained
- 1-2 tblsp. butter
- 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
- 1/2 tsp. chili powder
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/8 tsp. ground cloves
- 1/4 tsp. thyme
- 1 tblsp. paprika
- 1/4 tsp. cumin
- Fry turkey bacon in large/deep skillet until crisp and drain. Add butter to skillet with bacon drippings (there won't be much), and saute the okra and onions until cooked - but not browned.
- When the okra and onions are almost done cooking, break up the bacon into small chunks and throw them into the skillet.
- Empty the stewed tomatoes and drained corn into a bowl. Mix all of the spices with the tomatoes and corn, then add to the skillet and stir well. Bring the entire mixture to a boil, and then turn down to simmer for about 10-20 minutes. Jambalaya should not be runny.
- Serve hot over rice, or simply eat on its own. Enjoy!