Skillet Shrimp & Rice with Smoked Sausage and Okra

Mardi Gras just didn’t have me Ya Ya-ing this year. I dunno if it was the arctic like snow storms or covid or the wife being on a business trip or generalized cabin fever disorder, but I ended up not making my traditional batch of Gumbo and pitcher of Bloody Mary’s this year. Instead, I made a jambalaya-isk dish with shrimp, pecan smoked kielbasa, and crispy fried okra. The February frigidness put a damper on my spirits, but this dish had me shuffling around my kitchen to zydeco singing, “Laissez les bons temps rouler!”

Ingredients

1 cup dried basmati rice

2 cups chicken stock

1 lg tomato, diced

1 link pecan smoked kielbasa, cut into 1/4” coins

2 stalks celery, diced

1 sm sweet onion, diced

1 sm green bell pepper, diced

1 lb gulf shrimp, deveined

2 tbsp fresh thyme

2 dried bay leaves

1 tsp smoked paprika

1 tsp garlic powder

2 tbsp Gumbo File, or to taste

2 cups fresh okra, sliced, divided

2 tbsp cornstarch

1/4 cup fine cornmeal

1/2 cup AP flour

1 egg + 1/2 cup cool water

salt and pepper

Tony Chachere’s to taste

Tabasco to taste

Peanut oil as needed

Garnish: sliced green scallions

Method

In a large mixing bowl, combine the cornstarch, cornmeal, salt, pepper, and AP flour. In a second mixing bowl, whisk together one egg, about 1/2 a cup water and a few dashes of Tabasco. Set aside.

In a large skillet over med flame add the kielbasa and sear on both sides, about 3 -5 minutes. Remove and set aside on a clean surface.

To the same skillet, add the celery, onion, and bell pepper and sauté until just tender, about 3 minutes. Stir in the rice and toast a couple minutes more. Add next the stock, thyme, bay leaves, Gumbo File, tomatoes, half the fresh okra, smoked paprika, and garlic powder. Bring the stock up to a boil, reduce flame to low, add back in the seared kielbasa, and simmer until the rice is tender and all or most of the liquid has been absorbed, about 15 – 20 minutes. Place the shrimp on top of the cooked rice, cover with a lid, and allow the shrimp to steam at least 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat a skillet over high flame. Add in about 2” of peanut oil and heat until shimmering. Toss the remaining okra in the egg wash then the flour mixture. Fry the okra in batches until golden brown and crispy. Rest the okra on paper towels in between batches, salting it right out of the hot oil as you do.

As soon as all the okra is fried, check to make sure the shrimp is opaque and slightly curled then remove the bay leaves and discard. Fluff the rice with a fork stirring in the shrimp as you do. Add Tony Chachere’s to taste. Divide the rice into serving bowls, top with the crispy fried okra, garnish with green scallions, and finish with several dashes of Tabasco. Serve immediately.

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Geri Lawhon says:

    Wonderful looking recipe. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

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