Edible Alphabet is a free English Language Learning (ELL) program offered by the Free Library's Culinary Literacy Center. The mission is to teach English language and literacy skills through hands-on cooking projects. For the time being, all Edible Alphabet classes are being run virtually in the interest of public health and safety. During weeks when virtual classes are on break, we will be sharing weekly recipes from our class curriculum and participants.
This week, I’m sharing an Edible Alphabet recipe we made in our most recent (and virtual) English course: Vegetarian Jambalaya. This recipe is adapted from Leanne Brown’s excellent cookbook, Good and Cheap (also available in Spanish under the title Bueno y Barato). This one-pot meal comes together in under 30 minutes, is packed with flavor, vegetables, and protein, and rings in around $0.65 per serving! As always, this recipe can be customized to your palate. For a milder version, discard the seeds of the jalapeno and reduce or omit the cayenne. For a meatier version, add cooked sausage, chicken, or shrimp in place of the black-eyed peas. One of our class participants couldn’t track down black-eyed peas so she used black beans and her dish turned out fantastic.
Our next series of Edible Alphabet virtual classes will be starting in a few weeks, so register now! For those interested in exploring the food culture of Louisiana further, check out the Free Library’s collection of cajun and creole cookbooks available for download or contactless pick up from a neighborhood library near you. Looking for a soundtrack while you cook? Check out the online Jazz Music Library, available to all Free Library cardholders (and read more about Philadelphia Jazz Legends in this series).
- 1 medium onion
- 3 stalks celery
- 1 green bell pepper
- 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
- 3 cloves garlic
- ½ jalapeño
- 2 large tomatoes
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tsp. paprika
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- ¼ tsp. cayenne
- ½ tsp. dried thyme
- ½ tsp. dried oregano
- 1 tsp. soy sauce
- ¾ cup long-grain white rice
- 3 cup vegetable broth
- 1 can (15 oz.) black-eyed peas
- Dice onion and celery. Seed and dice green pepper.
- Heat vegetable oil in a pot at medium-high heat.
- Add onion, celery, and green pepper to the pot and cook for 5 minutes, until vegetables are translucent but not brown.
- Mince garlic and jalapeño. Chop tomatoes.
- Add garlic, jalapeño, tomatoes, bay leaves, paprika, garlic powder, cayenne, thyme, oregano, salt, pepper, and soy sauce. Cook for 1 minute.
- Add the rice and slowly pour in the vegetable broth. Lower heat to medium and let cook for 15 minutes.
- Add black-eyed peas. Cook until rice absorbs all the liquid (5-10 more minutes).
- Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.
For more information about Edible Alphabet and the Culinary Literacy Center, visit freelibrary.org/cook or email kitchen @ freelibrary.org. Enjoy this recipe? Leave a comment and stay tuned for more Edible Alphabet recipes in the coming weeks!