Cooking Recipes

Hide
Show

Often, when people think of Cajun cooking, they imagine dishes of gumbo, jambalaya and etoufe. While these are all Cajun dishes, there”s so much more to experience from this slice of American cuisine. Keep reading to learn more about Cajun cuisine, including its origins and key components.

Origins of Cajun Cooking

Cajun cuisine is rooted in French cooking. As French immigrants and descendants of French immigrants settled in Louisiana, they combined their cooking methods with the local ingredients, producing the foods that we consider Cajun today.

Like many other cuisines, Cajun dishes evolved out of necessity. In order to feed themselves and their families, the Cajun people made use of ingredients that were readily available, namely seafood, rice and wild game.

A typical Cajun meal combines meat with a grain (often rice) and vegetables. Here are just a few Cajun cooking classics:

  • Andouille: a spicy smoked sausage made from pork
  • Boudin: a spiced sausage made from pork, pork liver, garlic, rice and onion
  • Dirty Rice: White rice cooked with chicken giblets, bacon, onion, bell pepper, chicken stock and seasonings.
  • Crawfish Bisque: a thick, creamy stew containing crawfish
  • Gumbo: a flavorful stew typically containing okra, fil powder and a variety of meats and/or seafood.

The Holy Trinity of Cajun Cooking

A lot of Cajun dishes call for what is known as the holy trinity of Cajun cooking: onion, bell pepper and celery. Much like mire poix (a combination of onions, carrots and celery) in French cooking, this trio is the base for many Cajun dishes.

Cooking Like a Cajun

To cook like a true Cajun, you need to know a few food preparation methods, including:

  • A Cajun Dishbarbequing
  • blackening
  • boiling
  • frying
  • grilling
  • smoking
  • stewing.

You”ll also need to have some key Cajun ingredients handy, including:

  • bell peppers
  • cayenne peppers
  • celery
  • chicken
  • corn
  • fish (such as catfish, redfish, trout or flounder)
  • onions
  • rice
  • shellfish (including oysters, crawfish, shrimp and crab)
  • tomatoes
  • turkey.

In addition to the above ingredients, Cajun cuisine also uses some less common ingredients, such as:

  • alligator
  • frog legs
  • rabbit
  • turtle.

Cajun Cooking: Too Hot to Handle?

There are many misconceptions about Cajun cuisine, including the one that all Cajun food is extremely spicy. While some Cajun dishes do call for cayenne pepper and/or hot sauce, most Cajun dishes are not excessively hot. Traditional Cajun dishes use pepper to accent a dish, not overpower it.

Cajun Recipes

Here”s a Cajun recipe for you to try in your own kitchen:

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo

Ingredients

  • 1 cup oil(vegetable or canola, not olive oil)
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 cup bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup celery, chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tsp. Cajun seasoning (a blend of equal parts onion powder, garlic powder and salt)
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 2 lbs. Andouille sausage, cut into chunks
  • 4 quarts chicken stock
  • the meat of one whole chicken, boiled and cut into chunks with the skin removed
  • 1 package frozen okra
  • fil powder, to taste
  • cayenne pepper, to taste
  • salt, to taste
  • cooked white rice, for serving

Directions

  1. Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven or heavy soup pot over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly until the flour is a dark reddish-brown. This will produce a roux. If you burn the roux, start over, as burnt roux will ruin the gumbo.
  3. Add the onion, bell pepper and celery and cook until softened, about five minutes. Stir often to avoid burning.
  4. Add the garlic, Cajun seasoning and thyme and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  5. Add the sausage and cook for a few minutes.
  6. Add the chicken stock and chicken and bring to a boil.
  7. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes.
  8. Add the okra, fil powder, cayenne pepper and salt and cook for five minutes.
  9. Serve over rice.

 Posted on : September 18, 2013