Vaguely Cajun Spice Mix

This is an integral ingredient in red beans. For most recipes, I put together my spice mixture on the spot, but this I mix up, stash in the cupboard, and inflict a large amount on the legumes when they go into the pressure cooker.

Most Cajun/Creole spice blends include onion powder, garlic powder and salt. I leave out all three of those – the powders because I prefer to use fresh onion and garlic, and the salt because I’d rather adjust that separately from the spices. If you’re putting this into a pot of red beans in which you’re also using canned tomatoes, the tomatoes will already add almost enough salt to the dish; if you were using it in the cooking water for rice, you’d need to add salt.

This, like that paprika-and-celery based classic Old Bay (Bawlmer Merlin, hon!), is also great tossed with freshly stove-popped popcorn.

5 T. paprika
2 bay leaves
2 T. dried basil
2 T. dried oregano
1 T. dried thyme
1 T. freshly ground black pepper
1 T. cayenne pepper
1 T. celery seed

Place all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor. Whir until the bay leaves are disintegrated. Store tightly covered. Paprika is hygroscopic, so if it clumps, just give the jar a good hard rap to dislodge it.


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