Tue09162014

Food & Wine

Big Easy cookout ends summer grilling with a bang

There's still time this season to breathe new life into the traditional American cookout with flavors from New Orleans. Known as the "Big Easy," New Orleans has earned a reputation worldwide for serving big Creole flavor with that little something extra, or "lagniappe."

Adding New Orleans flair to grilled food is easy if you have the right spices. A sprinkle of an authentic, all-purpose blend of Creole spices or marinade is the first step for backyard grilling.

Below are recipes for a complete Creole meal:

Steak Jambalaya

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon oil

1/2 cup yellow onions (chopped into 1/2-inch-long pieces)

2 teaspoons chopped garlic

1/2 cup red peppers (chopped into 1/2-inch-long pieces)

1/4 cup celery (chopped into 1/2-inch-long pieces)

1/4 cup sliced okra

1 teaspoon Creole seasoning

1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes in sauce

1 cup water

1 blackened rib eye steak

Heat oil in skillet. Add onions and garlic; cook until soft. Add peppers, celery and okra; cook until soft. Stir in Creole seasoning. Add diced tomatoes in sauce and water; simmer 1 to 2 minutes.

Remove from heat and fold in steak slices (see rib eye steak recipe below). Serve over dirty rice.

Cool leftovers completely and store up to five days.

Serves 4

Blackened Rib Eye Steak

Ingredients:

4 (10-ounce) rib eye steaks

2 teaspoons Creole seasoning

Heat cast iron skillet on high for 5 minutes. Season steaks on both sides with Creole seasoning. Place seasoned steak in hot skillet. For perfect medium rare, cook 3 minutes, then turn and cook 2 minutes more. The seasoning creates a seal during grilling, which keeps the meat juicy.

Serves 4

Creole Vegetable Kabobs

Ingredients:

4 medium button mushrooms

4 (1-inch) slices zucchini

4 (1-inch) slices red pepper

4 (1-inch) slices yellow squash

4 cherry tomatoes

Creole-style marinade

Creole seasoning

Soak four 8-inch bamboo skewers in water for 30 minutes before using.

On each bamboo skewer, place 1 mushroom, zucchini slice, red pepper slice, yellow squash slice and cherry tomato. Place kabobs in container. Pour in enough marinade to completely cover kabobs and marinate 2 to 4 hours.

Remove kabobs from marinade and sprinkle with Creole seasoning. Grill until vegetables are slightly soft and nicely marked.

Serves 4

Dirty Rice

Ingredients:

2 ½ cups cold water

1/2 cup chicken livers and gizzards

1/2 cup cubed pork shoulder

1 tablespoon butter

2 tablespoons diced onion

1/2 tablespoon chopped garlic

2 tablespoons diced celery

1/4 cup sliced frozen okra

2 tablespoons minced green onion

1/2 tablespoon Tony Chachere's Creole seasoning

1/2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 cup uncooked converted rice

Place chicken livers, chicken gizzards and pork shoulder in cold water. Bring to boil and skim off any fat or foam that rises to top. Reduce heat to simmer and cook 30 minutes.

Strain off chicken and pork. Reserve liquid and finely chop meat.

Melt butter in large saucepot. Add vegetables and garlic. Sauté until vegetables are soft.

Add reserved liquid from meat and the rest of the ingredients plus Creole seasoning, Worcestershire sauce and rice, and bring to boil. Reduce heat to simmer, cover and cook 15 to 20 minutes, until rice is cooked and most liquid has cooked away.

Serves 4

- Recipes courtesy of Omaha Steaks, Tony Chachere's Creole Seasonings and The Glad Products Company.

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