When my friend (or “my fella’ ” as Ed Meek would say) Ken Northrop and I were in Oxford for the 100th anniversary of The Daily Mississippian last summer, I was able to reconnect with old friends and meet some former editors of the Ole Miss student newspaper. We exchange cards and addresses and somehow food always came up in the conversation. As someone who has been writing a weekly cooking column since 1975, I’m always looking for culinary ideas and recipes.
A few weeks later, I received a letter from one of those former Mississippian editors, along with some recipes. Lawrence “Larry” Franck was, as my friend Ed Williams noted, an editor who stayed in Mississippi but turned to the practice of law. Ed, retired editorial page editor of the Charlotte Observer, claimed those who stayed in journalism left the state, and those who remained in Mississippi became attorneys.
Larry wrote: “Your tenure as editor was much more tumultuous than my 1952-53 stint; our most serious concerns were dances at the gym, football and college love lives.”
He continued, “I’m a cook, not a chef, so I find recipes I like and use them sometimes with some embellishments of my own making.”
I chose to try his recipe for jambalaya that he said was from a cookbook put out by the Junior League in New Orleans. I cut the recipe in half and prepared this for my Three “M’s” (my daughter Meredith, son-in-law Michael and grand daugher Maggie). We all enjoyed the dinner. Of course, I made some changes in the recipe. Here’s my version:
Shrimp and Sausage Jambalaya
1/2 pound smoked sausage, thinly sliced
1 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
2/3 cup chopped green pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup chopped scallions
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup chopped celery
16-ounce can tomatoes
1 cup chicken broth
3/4 teaspoon thyme
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons Creole seasoning
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup rice
1 1/2 pounds raw shrimp, peeled
In a large heavy pot, sauté sausage; remove with slotted spoon. Add olive oil to drippings and sauté green pepper, garlic, scallions, parsley and celery. Chop tomatoes and add along with their liquid. Add broth and stir in spices. Add rice and sausage; cook for 30 minutes, covered, over low heat, stirring occasionally. After most of liquid has been absorbed by the rice, add shrimp; cover and cook until pink. Serves four.
NOTE: The original recipe said to transfer mixture to baking dish and bake for 25 minutes. I thought that was a bit overcooking, so I didn’t bother.
Email Sidna Brower Mitchell at firstname.lastname@example.org