How big is the biggest skillet in your kitchen? My biggest is a 12 inch non-stick skillet. I also have what the Cuisinart website tells me is a 3 quart covered saute pan. That thing is fairly tall, but it’s still not all that wide. I was under the impression that my 12 inch skillet was a large skillet. After all, at some point a bigger skillet would be too big for the burner on a standard range, right? Martha Stewart seems to think otherwise.
This recipe said to use a large skillet. I was already starting to worry when I added the sausage. That filled the bottom, but the sausage pieces did shrink a little when they cooked. Then I added the onions, celery, and garlic. That filled the skillet about 3/4 full. At that point, I was already lying to myself. The veggies cooked down a little. I cut back the tomatoes from the 8 plum tomatoes the recipe called for (eight?!?! really?!) to 5. By the time I added what amounted to a heaping soup bowl full of diced tomatoes, three cups of water, and a cup of rice, I was willfully ignoring the laws of physics. I covered the skillet, as instructed, and felt the lid press down on the mound of food. What, precisely, did I think was going to happen? What did happen is that the meal cooked away for 15 minutes making ominous noises and occasionally boiling over onto the stovetop. When 15 minutes was up, I lifted the lid to see this:
I should have shot a video of this. The red area in the center was pulsing up and down, not unlike a giant heart. Happy belated Halloween! The recipe said to cook until the rice was cooked and all of the water was absorbed. Well, the rice was cooked and the water remained. I tried cranking up the heat to boil off some of the water, but it wasn’t going to happen. This was, essentially, a stew bubbling all the way to the top of the skillet. So I did what any intelligent human being would do, I added a pound of shrimp and covered it again. The shrimp didn’t really cook under those conditions. I uncovered the skillet and let the boiling off/shrimp cooking process work itself out. Once the shrimp weren’t grey anymore, I called it quits. The stew jambalaya (or, stewbalaya, if you will) was done. It was a sloppy mess, but it was cooked.
I served it with a slotted spoon, and you know what? It was delicious. The andouille sausage spiced the whole stewbalaya beautifully. It was hot and spicy, and we both loved it.
This brings me to my dilemma. I’d love to make it again, but how? I think I’d have to make a half recipe or cook it in my two largest pans. Or, I could do as Martha seems to suggest, and buy an enormous skillet. I found a 20 inch skillet on Amazon, but the description says it’s for camping. Surely I’m not expected to start a campfire, Martha. I think the biggest one I can find for indoor use is this 15 inch skillet. Honestly, I’m not sure it would be big enough for this recipe.
This experience definitely makes me nervous about all of the other skillet recipes in this issue. She drops back to punt to B….