One thing that many cooks don’t think about is that load of spices in their spice rack and what can be done with it. Also, as many cooks know, it’s convenient to always have a few standard spice blends on hand to make getting a meal on the table quicker, not to mention easily adding some more interesting flavors.
My most often used spice blend is a creole seasoning that works well on chicken prepared all sorts of ways, particularly grilled on the BBQ, fish, and occasionally beef. It’s great to spice up steamed or sauted vegetables or even spice up a baked potato. I found myself going through several supermarket blends like Tony Cachere’s Creole Seasoning, Cajun’s Choice, prepackaged Emeril’s Essence, and a local blend from Savory Spice. If I had to choose a supermarket brand I would have to pick Cajun’s Choice. The Savory Spice blend is really good when I’m near their storefront to pick one up. Recently I’ve had enough chicken to BBQ that I’ve found that making my own is more convenient and much cheaper than purchasing the blend. It’s very easy to do and I’m not inclined to skimp on spicing things up in volume.
I found that many of the prepackaged blends are more salty than they are spicy. Tony Cachere’s falls into this category which is one reason I like Savory Spice’s blend or Cajun’s Choice blend better. So I set out to find a basic creole blend recipe to see how close it would come to the commercial varieties and adjust the things that would suit my style of cooking. The recipe below is the Emeril Essence creole blend as published on FoodNetwork.com I build this same recipe now with just half the salt. This gives me more flexibility to make things spicier without being overwhelmed with salt.
You may have to restock some of your spice drawer or you may find you already have all of these ingredients on hand.
2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons salt ( I use half this amount, 1 tbsp)
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper ( you can add more if you want more pop )
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme
I tried the full recipe above with one batch when I decided the next batch would would cut the salt in half. Other than that I think it’s a great place to start for a creole seasoning. In fact you could leave out all of the salt and just know to do your own salt on any usage.
This couldn’t be easier. Just get an empty jam jar or small canning jar. I use individual canning jars that I pick up at my local hardware store. They come in all sorts of sizes and you can get what works for you. I have a jar that will hold a double recipe. Then, simply measure out the ingredients right into the jar and when you’re done put the lid on and shake it up. You’re all set with your own homemade spice blend.