It snowed on Saturday. I spent the morning and most of the afternoon catching up on my blog reading and cleaning out the refrigerator. To digress for just a moment, how does the inside of a refrigerator get so dirty? I’m seriously beginning to wonder if the Pee-Wee’s Playhouse refrigerator was not a fictional rendition. All I do is put the food in and take the food out, yet the refrigerator needs cleaned every other week. The only explanation I can come up with is the fruits and vegetables I put in there play football and have dance parties when I shut the door.
Some of the vegetables in my refrigerator looked a bit grim. I buy vegetables with the best of intents, but then I ignore them until it is nearly too late. In an effort to use them before they are beyond the point of hope, I simply chop them up, toss them with a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper and roast them in the oven. I find this is an easy way to add vegetables to the continual rotation of scrambled eggs and rice I eat during the week.
Oh, about that snow. I never think it is going to snow in Charlotte because the news media is always like, “Aaaahhhh, it’s going to snow! Take shelter! Stay off the roads! The snow is coming, the snow is coming, THE SNOW IS COMING!” And then one snowflake falls from the sky.
I grew up in the Midwest, so I had to learn how to drive in the snow. I once got my car stuck in a snow drift in our lane (the thing we drive up to the house on is so long it is a lane, not a driveway), and I was so pissed off about it, I stomped all the way up to the house and promptly took a nap. When it was dark, I finally asked Dad to help me get the car out of the driveway.
I can’t imagine Dad was all that pleased with how I handled that situation. But I was not all that pleased about the snow drifts blocking my safe passage between the road and home. Hence, I learned to drive in the snow (though one may argue I did not learn to drive in the snow all that well) and moved to the South as soon as I was able. Given native Ohioans most likely outnumber native Charlotteans in this great city, I was not alone in my thinking to escape the winter.
Yet part of me misses a good winter snow. I don’t need five months of the junk, but a day or two is fine. So on Saturday I got right out in our little snow, which turned out to be not all that little with over an inch falling in just a couple of hours. I went to the grocery store, not to buy milk and bread, but to buy some more vegetables to roast for this delicious winter Jambalaya.
Sausage and seafood are typically found in Jambalaya. This version of the dish replaces those meats with root vegetables. Yes, you read that correctly. I want you to give up spicy sausage and the fruit of the sea for carrots, parsnips and potatoes. The sweetness of the roasted vegetables and the spiciness of the broth pack such a flavor punch you won’t even miss them. But if you don’t believe me, you can always make Jambalaya Pizza instead. Enjoy!
- For the Root Vegetables
- 1 cup peeled and chopped carrots (approximately 2 large carrots)
- 1 cup peeled and chopped parsnips (approximately 1 large parsnip)
- 1 cup (peeled and) diced yellow potatoes (approximately 1 medium potato)
- 1 cup peeled and diced sweet potatoes (approximately 1 medium potato)
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- ½ teaspoon salt
- For the Rice
- 2½ cups water
- 1 cup rice
- For the Broth
- 1 cup yellow onion (approximately 1 medium onion)
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons tomato paste
- 3 cups vegetable stock
- 1 can chopped tomatoes
- Toss the peeled and chopped vegetables with the olive oil and salt, and distribute them in an even layer across a baking sheet.
- Place in an oven heated to 350 degrees F and roast for 40 minutes. Stir every 10 to 15 minutes to ensure even-roasting. They will be soft when done.
- While the root vegetables roast, prepare the rice and the broth.
- In a medium pot, bring the water to a boil and then stir in the rice.
- Cover and allow to simmer for 35-40 minutes until the water is absorbed and the rice is tender.
- In a deep skillet over medium low heat, combine the onion, the olive oil and the seasonings.
- Saute until the oven is soft, 5 to 8 minutes.
- Stir in the tomato paste, vegetable stock and the can of chopped tomatoes (along with their juice).
- Allow the mixture to come to a boil, then remove from heat and set aside.
- Once the vegetables are roasted and the rice is cooked, stir them into the broth.
- Serve and enjoy.