Visiting small towns like Alexandria or Bunkie Louisiana were unforgettable; it was the first time as a little boy I was exposed to southern cuisine. Who can honestly say that the present cuisine’s style is a mirror of the past? The treasured cooks from that era were unknown superstars in a kitchen. Dinner was lively; these Icons are almost extinct. This is evident when we examine the images that are feed to us by mainstream television. They look nothing like the folks I observe who created tea cakes or blueberry dumpling masterpieces with basic ingredients. I will agree that two of the most famous cuisine styles are Cajun and Creole method of cooking. This union in my viewpoint was formed out of survival of the underprivileged to put food on the table for their family. The records of the past will tell us that the people who came to Louisiana were immigrants of the Acadians who were descendants of the French and Creoles who were originally descendants of early French and Spanish. Although, the two held opposing views about how certain dishes should be prepared; they shared the passion. All things are possible when love is a universal thread of the equation.
The spirituality, need, and passion of cooking are the reason I believe Cajun cuisine flourished. Cajun cooking jambalaya, gumbo, Crawfish touffe, and fried okra become very practical. These dishes were staple items used for cooking the known recipes of Cajun cuisine people cherish today. The immigrant’s methods of preparing Cajun and Creole cooking differ, however they united both ways of cooking and created an irreplaceable approach to cooking food that has stood the test of time.
Take a look at what would be considered basic inexpensive ingredients for someone who had a meager income during 1725s. For instance, in Jambalaya you will always find rice, peppers, and traditional seasoning, which is a ritual of Louisiana Cooking. Other ingredients found are onions, celery, chicken, crawfish, shrimps, rabbit, smoked Creole, and Cajun Andouille Sausage. Smoking was a method used by many to preserve meats. Cajun Andouille is a smoked sausage that is made of pork, pepper, onions, wine, and seasonings. Some people also used Boudin sausage.
All right, I am going to begin the conversation by talking about Jambalaya. There are a number of ways this meal can be prepared. In Louisiana, canola, olive oil, or vegetable oil can be heated up in a cast iron skillet. Most people used vegetable oil or lard. Next, add chicken pieces and brown each evenly in color all the way around before removing. My aunt enjoyed fresh garlic and believed it had healing properties. It was used in abundance when preparing Cajun dishes. After you have removed everything from the skillet; it is time to saut the onion, peppers, celery, and carrots. Combine and incorporate the sausage, rice, tomatoes/sweet corn, thyme, sea salt, yellow/red pepper, as well as authentic Louisiana hot sauce. Afterward, bring back the chicken and coat it with the sauce. Now allow everything to slow cook and simmer under modest heat. Cooking is about patience and love you put into a dish. The smell will hypnotize neighbors to come to your house. Usually cooking duration will vary based on the contents of the pot from one to two hours at minimum. The last step is to incorporate the crawfish, shrimp, or whatever seafood you fancy at the end. The pink – orange color is an indicator that the dish is cooked to perfection. Crawfish or crawdads are members of the super families Asteroidean and Parastacoidea – are freshwater crustaceans resembling small lobsters to which they are related and are exclusively found throughout Louisiana and the mid-southern states.
Now I want to talk about one of my all time favorite dish gumbo. The word “Okra” in Caribbean Creole languages, French, and other parts of Africa is used to describe a thickening agent. I love okra but not as a thickening agent. Most people who were raised in Louisiana did not eat traditional soups. Gumbo was the soup that was consumed by everybody. A gumbo will not be a gumbo without a roux. The term roux is another word for gravy. Understand that a roux is merely combining a fat with flour and heated it! It is the foundation for most sauces.
With that in mind, the required ingredients for a mother sauce is flour, butter, or vegetable oil, celery, onion, green bell pepper and garlic. You will then prepare the chicken meat, smoked sausage, green onion, chopped parsley, sea salt, fresh-grounded black pepper, red pepper, Tabasco, and rice. It is important to cut your vegetables thinly. Prepare the roux with the Cajun cooking pot. In it, mix the oil and the flour. Remember to taste your creation every step of the process and make certain that you stir it frequently. Step number one; sear the meat. This is a process where you add color to the meat, plus you are sealing in the juices. After 4 – 10 minutes ranging from the size of the meat, begin the holy trinity. Now you are sweating your vegetables (onions, peppers, celery and garlic) until they becomes transparent. Add back the meat and wait until it turns brown. Lower the heat and do not forget to stir as you add cold water and the seasoning you like to your taste. This is stage where it is important to taste and adjust the seasoning to your preference. Let it simmer before adding a thickening agent like okra or simple roux like butter and flour. Cooking time depends on the content or size of the items in your pot. It can be served with the rice to your family.
All things considered, these two recipes are the most desired Cajun recipes when one talks about historic Cajun dishes. Neither one of these dish can stand on its own without rice.
Good food and sharing the cooking tips he has learned over the years. Check out this recipe and let me know what you think? I hope to inspire you prepare quality Cajun meals for the special people who are important in your world. Sharing Cajun food with family and friends is one of those ways to promote goodwill and show that you care.
This article is free for republishing.