Tag Archives: Cajun/Creole

Dirty Wild Rice with Duck Bacon, Pecans, and Bourbon Sauce

Dirty Wild Rice with Duck Bacon, Pecans, and Bourbon Sauce

Matt and I have been on many, many dates in our thirteen years together (thirteen years, I still can’t believe it!!), but one that particularly stands out to me happened several years ago on Valentine’s Day. He took me to Bar Americain, one of Bobby Flay’s high end restaurants, and I guess because it was Valentine’s Day, I was anticipating a lowly-lit, slightly secluded, quiet and romantic experience.

Dirty Wild Rice with Duck Bacon, Pecans, and Bourbon Sauce

Yeah, not so much! The restaurant’s seating is very New York (read: close together), and the place was absolutely packed that night. We were led to a two-seater table, sitting facing one another, with barely enough room for a small purse between myself and the next two-seater table. All was not lost though. What made the entire night incredibly entertaining, albeit not terribly romantic, is that the couple seated next to us was this elderly man and woman who were having a very spirited argument about the finer details and overall merits of The Real Housewives of … somewhere, I forgot which city.

Dirty Wild Rice with Duck Bacon, Pecans, and Bourbon Sauce

Matt and I gave up on any romantic conversation and instead had fun listening to this couple go at each other’s throats about such a banal topic. Oh, and the food was good too!

What I’m sharing today is what Matt ordered that night, or more accurately, a streamlined version of it, seeing as my home kitchen is not a Bobby Flay restaurant. I’m happy to report that I still got the point across though. This is a play on the New Orleans dish dirty rice, which is typically made with white rice, but Flay twists it up with a combination of Arborio rice and wild rice. Quite delicious! In his restaurant he pairs this with seared duck breast, but I slimmed it down to some duck bacon lardons scattered over the rice, thus keeping the meal to less food overall, plus this let the dirty rice be the star of the plate. You can sub regular pork bacon or even turkey bacon if you can’t find duck bacon.

Dirty Wild Rice with Duck Bacon, Pecans, and Bourbon Sauce

Even with a few changes, this really does taste restaurant quality, and happily reminded Matt of our date years ago. Which was the goal, so that was nice. I highly recommend for a lovely date night at home! Enjoy!

dirty wild rice with duck bacon, pecans and bourbon sauce

Source: adapted from Bobby Flay’s Bar Americain Cookbook by Bobby Flay

1 quart chicken stock
1 package (8-12 oz.) duck bacon, chopped into lardons
Olive oil, as needed
½ lb. chicken livers
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 tbs unsalted butter
1 stalk celery, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 jalapeno chiles, diced, seeded if desired
1 yellow bell pepper, roasted, peeled, seeded, and diced
1 red bell pepper, roasted, peeled, seeded, and diced
1 cup Arborio rice
1 cup cooked wild rice
2 tbs chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
2 tbs pure maple syrup
¼ cup pecans, toasted and chopped
1 cup bourbon
2-3 whole thyme sprigs
2 tbs cold butter, cut into cubes
Louisiana style hot sauce, for passing at the table

Pour the chicken stock into a small stockpot and keep warm over low heat. Set aside.
In a large, high-sided skillet, add the duck bacon lardons over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring until the fat has rendered and the lardons are crisped. Remove to a paper towel lined plate with a slotted spoon.
Pat the chicken livers dry with a paper towel, then season them with salt and pepper to taste. Add olive oil to the skillet if needed (you may have enough fat from the bacon). Add the chicken livers over high heat and cook, turning once, until golden brown and cooked to medium, about 5 minutes. Remove to a cutting board, let cool until you can handle them, then coarsely chop. It’s okay if there’s still a little bit of pink on the insides. Set aside.
Turn the skillet to medium heat and add the butter. Add the celery, garlic, and jalapenos and cook until soft, about 4 minutes. Add the roasted peppers and cook 1 minute. Now add the Arborio rice, stir and cook 1 minute.
Begin adding the warmed stock to the skillet, ½ cup at a time, stirring constantly until absorbed. Continue adding stock and stirring until the rice is al dente, about 20 minutes. You may not need all of the stock.
Now stir in the wild rice, chicken livers, parsley, thyme, and maple syrup. Let it heat through, about 2-3 minutes. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper if needed.
Meanwhile, pour the bourbon into a small saucepan or stockpot, add the whole thyme sprigs, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce by at least half, until it has thickened a bit to a sauce consistency. Add the cold butter, one piece at a time, until it melts. Shut off the heat and remove the thyme.
To serve, transfer the rice to a large serving bowl. Scatter the pecans and reserved duck bacon over top. Spoon into bowls and drizzle with bourbon sauce. Pass the hot sauce if desired.

Creole Shrimp Omelet with Tabasco Slurry

Creole Shrimp Omelet with Tabasco Slurry

I’m guessing you read the title of this recipe post and thought some of the same things Matt and I said aloud as we were eating this meal. Things like whaaaattttt???? And maybe, insane! Deranged, perhaps. And, this doesn’t make any sense whatsoever.

Creole Shrimp Omelet with Tabasco Slurry

It’s all true. Equally true though, is how unbelievably delicious this breakfast (or breakfast-for-dinner if you wish) is. I made it out of sheer morbid curiosity – like, what the hell is Tabasco slurry and how does that work?? – but this ended up being surprisingly addictive and caused much swooning, in between wiping sweat off the brow.

Though it is quite hot and spicy, not for the faint of heart, I will highly recommend this to all y’all Cajun food lovers and chile-heads. The shrimp itself isn’t terribly spicy, but assertive and perfectly plump, folded into a lacy-edged, thin yet rich omelet, and then that Tabasco slurry really makes the whole thing.

Creole Shrimp Omelet with Tabasco Slurry

It’s very sweet yet very hot, and it serves to balance out the dish yet simultaneously add an enormous punch. Even though it made my eyes water, I seriously couldn’t get enough. This recipe definitely falls into the category of Just Crazy Enough to Work, and if you like things spicy, then I can’t recommend it highly enough.

Creole Shrimp Omelet with Tabasco Slurry

Source: adapted from Prune by Gabrielle Hamilton

12 large to jumbo shrimp, about ½ lb, peeled and deveined, including taking the tails off
1 tbs Creole seasoning
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
3 tbs unsalted butter, divided
4 large eggs, divided
2 tbs heavy cream, divided
½ cup confectioners’ sugar
2 tbs Tabasco

Place the shrimp in a medium to large mixing bowl, then add the Creole seasoning plus kosher salt and pepper. Toss to coat well.
In a medium nonstick skillet, heat 1 tbs butter over medium-high heat. When it melts, add the shrimp and cook, stirring frequently, until opaque and cooked through. Remove to a plate. Shut off the heat and wipe out the skillet.
Beat 2 eggs in a small bowl with 1 tbs heavy cream, plus salt and pepper to taste. Add 1 tbs butter to the same skillet and place over medium-low to medium heat (somewhere in between is ideal). When the butter melts, pour in the eggs. Use a rubber spatula to lightly and gently stir the top of the eggs – don’t scrape the sides or bottom of the skillet. Once the sides have set, use the spatula to gently lift them up and let the runny egg in the middle run under the firmer sides. Just before the last bit of the top of the eggs have set, place 3 shrimp on one half of the eggs. Carefully flip the other half over the shrimp. Let sit a few seconds, then transfer to a plate. Repeat with the remaining 2 eggs, 1 tbs heavy cream, and 1 tbs butter.
To make the slurry, briskly whisk the sugar and the Tabasco sauce until smooth.
To serve, place 1 omelet on a serving plate, then top with 3 more shrimp. Drizzle half of the Tabasco slurry over top. Repeat with the other omelet and serve immediately.

Coconut Bread Pudding with Sazerac Sauce

Coconut Bread Pudding with Sazerac Sauce

Over the past eighteen months or so, I’ve purposefully dropped a bit of excess weight, and I’ve done so not by following a standard program that gets advertised on television, but by making some simple lifestyle changes and adjustments. And I’d say the two biggest changes I made were in my exercise habits (as in, now I actually have exercise habits), and my dessert eating habits. I adore baking and making carb-laden and sweet treats, but I’ve learned to focus on the satisfaction and catharsis that comes from making them and less on eating them. Now, I’m more of a dessert taster than a dessert eater.

Coconut Bread Pudding with Sazerac Sauce

Until I made this bread pudding… Holy crap, this bread pudding. This is the dessert that made me unabashedly throw out my newfound healthy attitude towards dessert. I feel I exhibited serious restraint, the kind that deserves shiny medals, to not eat the entire pan in one sitting. I wish I was kidding. I only had one serving a day for two days in a row, which is more dessert than I typically eat, but that was simply the best I could do in the willpower department.

Coconut Bread Pudding with Sazerac Sauce

This is phenomenal, superfluous, amazing dessert right here. This particular sauce is special, boozy, and pairs so beautifully with the coconut in the bread pudding. A Sazerac is a classic New Orleans cocktail made from rye whiskey, Absinthe, and Peychaud’s bitters. The cocktail itself is outstanding, one of my favorites, and I’m very happy but not totally surprised that it translates beautifully to a syrupy sauce for bread pudding.

Coconut Bread Pudding with Sazerac Sauce

I can’t say enough good things here. You must go out and make it, right now!! Enjoy!

Sources: Bread Pudding adapted from Fine Cooking Magazine, Feb/Mar 2016; Sazerac Sauce from Louisiana Cookin’


1 loaf stale challah bread, cut into cubes
1 ½ cups sweetened shredded coconut
4 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
½ cup granulated sugar
2 (13.4 oz.) cans full-fat coconut milk, shaken
2 ½ tsp vanilla extract
¼ tsp lemon zest
¼ tsp salt

1 cup water
½ cup rye whiskey
3 tbs absinthe
2 drops Peychaud’s bitters
1½ cups sugar
1 tsp fresh peeled orange zest
1 tsp vanilla extract

To make the BREAD PUDDING: grease a 9×13” baking dish. In a large mixing bowl, toss together the bread cubes and shredded coconut until well combined. Transfer to the prepared baking dish. Wipe out the bowl, then add the eggs, egg yolk, sugar, coconut milk, vanilla, lemon zest, and salt. Whisk to thoroughly combine, then evenly pour this mixture over the bread. Use your hands to press down on the bread to submerge it. Line it with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 30-45 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 350 F and set a rack in the center of the oven. Bring a kettle of water to a boil, then remove from the heat. Remove the plastic wrap from the bread pudding and place the baking dish in a larger baking dish or large roasting pan. Put the baking dish on the oven rack, then carefully pour enough hot water into the larger baking dish to come up about halfway up the sides of the baking dish with the bread pudding.
Bake until the center of the bread pudding springs back when gently pressed with a finger and knife inserted into the center comes out almost clean, 50 to 60 minutes. Cool in the water bath for 15 minutes, then carefully lift the baking dish out of the water bath. Transfer it to a rack to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature with the Sazerac Sauce liberally drizzled over.
While the bread pudding is baking, make the SAZERAC SAUCE: In a small saucepan, combine 1 cup water, whiskey, absinthe, and bitters. Add sugar, whisking to combine. Add zest, then bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Continue to cook until slightly thickened, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in the vanilla, then cool completely before using. Refrigerate in an airtight container up to 2 weeks.

Emeril’s Chicken and Andouille Gumbo #SundaySupper

Emeril's Chicken and Andouille Gumbo

Welcome to Sunday Supper! Our theme this week is Big Game Day Party Recipes! Thanks to trademark infringement laws, we cannot specifically tell you which football game we speak of, but I’ll give you a hint: it will air February 7th, and it features the Carolina Panthers playing (and hopefully beating) the Denver Broncos. And we all know food is very important for this particular game, so today we’re here to give you tons of ideas for what to serve or bring to your party.

Emeril's Chicken and Andouille Gumbo

I read once that while the rest of the US serves chili on this particular once-a-year Sunday evening, the fine people of New Orleans serve gumbo instead. I purposefully did not do any further research to confirm the veracity of this claim, because eating gumbo while watching the culmination of the NFL season sounded absolutely fantastic to me. If I’m wrong, I don’t want to know.

Emeril's Chicken and Andouille Gumbo

I decided that a heartier gumbo with chicken and sausage, rather than seafood, fit the occasion a little better. I went looking for a perfect recipe and chose Emeril’s. To say it did not disappoint would be a gross understatement. This is some of the best gumbo I’ve EVER tasted.

Emeril's Chicken and Andouille Gumbo

So, the bad news about this recipe is that it’s quite involved and takes forever to make. But, the good news is that it tastes far better the day after you make it. This one is perfect to make the day before, put it up overnight, and then when your guests are arriving, you just heat it up and steam some rice. This is actually an ideal thing to serve if you want to enjoy your own party.

Emeril's Chicken and Andouille Gumbo

I can’t recommend it highly enough, for this particular occasion of which we vaguely speak, or for a wonderful weekend project. It’s so awesome. Go Panthers!!! And be sure to check out the wonderful game day treats from the rest of the Sunday Supper crew!

Source: Essential Emeril by Emeril Lagasse


Stock and Chicken:
1 (4-5 lb.) chicken, cut into parts if desired
2 quarts store-bought chicken stock
2 quarts water
2 medium onions, quartered
2 carrots, rough chopped
2 ribs celery, rough chopped
4 cloves garlic, smashed
4 sprigs fresh thyme
5-6 fresh parsley stems
2 bay leaves
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper

1 cup canola or vegetable oil
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 medium onions, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
3 tbs minced garlic
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
½ tsp cayenne pepper, plus more to taste if desired
1 ½ lbs. andouille sausage, cut into 1/3-inch thick rounds
1 ½ tsp salt, plus more to taste
¾ tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 bay leaf
1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced, divided
1/3 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Cooked white rice, for serving
Louisiana hot sauce, for serving

First you will need to make the stock and cook the chicken (which happens simultaneously). Place the chicken (or chicken parts) in a large stockpot and cover it with the stock and water. Add the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, partially cover, and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for 1 hour. At this point, the chicken should easily pull away from the bones.
Using tongs, remove the chicken from the stock and set aside until cool enough to handle. Strain the cooking liquid through a strainer lined with cheesecloth. Discard the vegetables. Pull the chicken meat off the bones, discarding the skin and bones. Shred and reserve the meat. Refrigerate until needed.
Once the stock has cooled, start the rest of the gumbo. First you need to make the roux. Place a Dutch oven on the stovetop but don’t turn on the heat yet. Add the canola oil and flour to the pot and whisk vigorously until there are no lumps. Turn the heat on medium-high, stirring with a wooden spoon. Once the roux bubbles and starts to turn color, lower the heat to medium or medium-low. You’ll keep the heat between medium and medium-low the rest of the time you’re making the roux. Keep stirring continuously, adjusting the heat as necessary. If the roux is doing absolutely nothing color-wise, turn it up to medium, and if it’s bubbling or threatening to scorch, turn it down to medium-low. Do not burn the roux – that’s why you never move the heat higher than medium, ever. Keep stirring until the roux is the color of dark peanut butter, or light milk chocolate. This will take about an hour.
Once the roux is ready, turn or keep the heat to medium and immediately add the onions, celery, garlic, bell pepper, cayenne, and sausage. Cook, stirring, until the vegetables have softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the reserved cooled broth to the mixture (if you have a touch of grit you can leave off the last cup of broth with no problems). Also add the salt, pepper and bay leaf. Bring to a gentle simmer. Continue to simmer, skimming off any excess foam or fat that comes to the top, until the sauce is flavorful and thickened to your desired consistency, about 2 hours.
Now add the chicken, most of the sliced scallions (save enough for garnish), and parsley. Stir it in and continue simmering for 30 minutes. Don’t stir much here or the chicken may fall apart on you. Adjust the thickness if necessary, by adding water or more broth. Taste and adjust the cayenne and salt if necessary.
Serve the gumbo in bowls topped with a good scoop of white rice and garnish with the reserved scallions. Pass the Louisiana hot sauce at the table.

Appetizers and Sides

Main Dishes

Desserts and Drinks


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Corn on the Cob with New Orleans “Barbecue” Butter

Corn on the Cob with New Orleans "Barbecue" Butter

New Jersey is nicknamed The Garden State, and until moving to the NYC region, I never knew (or cared – gotta be totally frank here) why. You know why? It’s because of all the gorgeous summer produce those farmers spin out every year! I am suddenly feeling rather lucky to live here and have access to all of this – the tomatoes! The peaches! The corn!

Corn on the Cob with New Orleans "Barbecue" Butter

Once you taste this Jersey sweet corn, you have to take back every single bad thing you’ve ever said about this state. I’m serious. (And if you’re not originally from here and you’ve lived in New York for the past ten years, you *might* (cough, cough) have said something bad about the ol’ NJ).

This corn is so perfect that all it really needs is salt and maybe a pat of butter after grilling it. But that’s a hideously dull “recipe” to blog. And since I try my hardest to keep this space from being the culinary equivalent of watching paint dry, we have to jazz up that corn somehow.

corn on the cob with New Orleans "barbecue" butter

I chose to try out a corn recipe that is reminiscent of New Orleans barbecued shrimp, a classic dish which involves no actual barbecue sauce, but rather spices and an utterly obscene amount of butter. Since corn loves butter, and since the sweetness of corn can take on the very assertive spices of New Orleans quite nicely, this is actually a genius idea. One I didn’t think of myself, I’ll freely admit. Go America’s Test Kitchen!

The cooking method used here is also pretty genius. You’ll need a 9 by 13-inch aluminum roasting pan, and a grill surface large enough to accommodate it. Indoor or outdoor grill, either is perfectly fine as long as it’s big enough. This may be my new favorite corn on the cob recipe. I hope you love it too!

Corn on the Cob with New Orleans "Barbecue" Butter

Source: America’s Test Kitchen Special Collector’s Edition: Best Ingredients, Best Recipes

6 tbs unsalted butter, softened
1 tbs Worcestershire sauce
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp tomato paste
½ tsp minced fresh rosemary
½ tsp minced fresh thyme
½ tsp cayenne pepper
8 ears of corn, husks and silks removed
2 tbs canola or vegetable oil
Salt and black pepper

In a small bowl, use a fork to thoroughly combine the butter, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, tomato paste, rosemary, thyme, and cayenne.
In a 9 by 13-inch disposable aluminum roasting pan, place the butter all over the bottom of the pan, in small spoonfuls. Set aside at room temperature.
Brush the corn evenly with the canola oil, then season with salt and pepper to taste.
Grill the corn over medium-high to high heat (indoor or outdoor grill is fine), until lightly charred on all sides, 5 to 9 minutes. Transfer corn the aluminum roasting pan and cover tightly with foil.
Place the roasting pan on the grill and cook, shaking the pan frequently, until butter is sizzling, about 3 minutes.
Remove the pan from the grill and carefully remove the foil, allowing steam to escape away from your face. Serve the corn immediately, spooning the excess butter in the pan over the individual ears.

Creole Garlic Lemon Shrimp

Creole Garlic Lemon Shrimp

What is it about shellfish that is just so freakin’ sexy? Is it that all shellfish get lumped in with oysters – actual aphrodisiacs – or is it something else? Is it the whole slightly messy eating-with-your-hands thing, which makes consuming the food more primal and sensuous?

Creole Garlic Lemon Shrimp

Whatever the reason, I find a huge bowl of flavorful shrimp accompanied by hunks of bread and glasses of wine to be extremely sexy, date night food; and since Valentine’s Day is this weekend, I thought I’d give you an idea of what to make for your date!

Creole Garlic Lemon Shrimp

This took two tries to get just right, but here it is in all its light, sumptuous, delicious glory. This dish is Creole, not Cajun, so it’s really not spicy. But it is garlicky and lemony and hugely flavorful. Don’t worry about the garlic on a romantic evening – you’re both eating it, so you cancel each other out!

Creole Garlic Lemon Shrimp

Instead of worrying about the garlic, just think about perfectly cooked plump shrimp that give that lush snap when you bite into them, accented with Creole flavors and bright lemony goodness. A sip of wine, a bite of bread mopping up that luscious sauce… Sounds like a great Valentine’s Day to me! Oh, and as an added benefit – this couldn’t be easier and comes together in mere minutes! I hope y’all enjoy it!

Creole Garlic Lemon Shrimp

{One Year Ago: All-Purpose Mexican/Tex-Mex Spice Mix; Curry Powder; Pecan-Crusted Coconut Custards with Brandied Banana Sauce}
{Two Years Ago: Gin and Orange Juice Braised Endives; Beans and Greens Soup}

Source: adapted from Food & Wine Magazine, January 2008

1 lb. large shrimp, shelled and deveined
3 tbs minced garlic
2 tbs Creole seasoning
Kosher salt, to taste
1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
2 tbs olive oil
Juice of 2 lemons
2 tbs unsalted butter, cold
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley

In a large bowl, toss the shrimp with the garlic, Creole seasoning, salt, and bell pepper. In a large skillet, add the oil and preheat over medium-high to high heat until very hot. Add the entire contents of the bowl of the shrimp mixture. Saute, stirring frequently, until the shrimp is just cooked through, 3-4 minutes. Lower the heat to medium-low and add the lemon juice and the butter. Stir quickly to melt the butter. Once melted shut off the heat, stir in the parsley, and serve immediately.

Blackened Catfish Salad

Blackened Catfish Salad

So, who’s snowed in today? Yeah, me too. I have lots of work to keep me occupied, but sometimes I get cabin fever on snow days anyway – I think it’s the whole not having the option to get out that does it. Hopefully today is sane enough for us all! All of you snowed in – what’s cooking and/or baking? I’ve got a very ambitious list, in the hopes that it will stave off cabin fever. We’ll see what gets accomplished!

Blackened Catfish Salad

In the meantime, I’m turning the classic dish I grew up eating, Blackened Catfish, into a main dish salad! This was incredibly delicious. I love blackened anything, I do stop short of just licking blackening seasoning off the countertops, but that should give you an idea where I stand. So of course this salad is right up my alley.

Buttermilk Dressing for Blackened Catfish Salad

A few recipe notes: take the time to dredge your catfish pieces in the seasoning. Don’t just toss the catfish with the seasoning in a bowl. That might make it evenly coated, but it won’t really blacken up for you, and the flavor won’t be as strong. This particular recipe uses a Cajun seasoning blend, which was very tasty, but feel free to sub in any other blackening rub you prefer. And lastly, don’t be like me and forget to add the pecans at the end!! I couldn’t believe I did that. They would add that amazing salad crunch we all love, like croutons, so please don’t miss out on them.

Blackened Catfish Salad

And I think that’s it! Enjoy and be safe today!

{One Year Ago: Balsamic-Lacquered Baked Chicken Wings}

Source: adapted from Chile Pepper Magazine, March/April 2012

1 lb. catfish fillets, halved lengthwise and cut into 2-3” strips
4 tbs Cajun spice rub, or more to taste, plus 2 tsp, divided
Kosher salt, IF your blackening rub doesn’t already have it
Olive oil
½ cup buttermilk, well shaken
2 tbs mayonnaise
1 tbs apple cider vinegar
1 large romaine heart, chopped
¼ head of red cabbage, cored and shredded
About 2/3 pint of cherry tomatoes, halved
1 roasted red pepper, sliced
3 tbs chopped toasted pecans

Prep the catfish as instructed and dry really well on paper towels. Sprinkle the 4 tbs Cajun seasoning in a pie plate. Add salt if your rub doesn’t contain it. One at a time, dredge each catfish strip in the seasoning, getting all sides coated. Set aside on a plate.
Preheat a cast-iron or other nonstick large skillet over high heat. Drizzle in some olive oil. When the skillet is good and screaming hot, cook the catfish strips, in batches as necessary, for about 2-3 minutes per side. Don’t walk away here, they cook up very quickly. Remove with tongs to a plate and let them cool a bit.
Make the dressing: in a small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, mayonnaise, vinegar, and the remaining 2 tsp Cajun seasoning. Add salt if your seasoning mix doesn’t have it. Refrigerate if not using very soon.
Now assemble the salad. Add the romaine, cabbage, tomatoes, and pecans to a large salad serving bowl. Drizzle in a little dressing and toss to coat. Lay the catfish strips over top and drizzle on a little more dressing. Serve immediately.

Andouille and Pumpkin Gumbo

Andouille and Pumpkin Gumbo 5522

I’ve slowly but surely discovered over the years that it’s best to not ignore cravings. Like parking tickets, you can try and pretend it didn’t happen, but they don’t ever really go away until you do something about them. At least for me, it’s better to just eat the one cookie instead of obsessively thinking about cookies for several days and then eating twelve of them.

Andouille and pumpkin gumbo 5538

So a couple weeks ago, when I noticed a mad craving for gumbo, I thought it best to just find a recipe and make some gumbo. And when I came across a recipe for a gumbo with pumpkin (!!!) I was ecstatic, because how completely perfect is this for fall!

andouille and pumpkin gumbo 5549

This is going to be a departure from the dishes I’ve posted this week, all of which would be more than welcome at your Thanksgiving table in a few weeks. This is probably a bit heavy for a first course and quite a bit unconventional for the main dish part. But, it’s a great pumpkin recipe for our season of all things pumpkin. Matt and I found it quite lovely, perfectly Cajun-flavored and hearty, but you know, with pumpkin! And plenty of Andouille sausage, one of the best sausages on planet Earth. In my humble opinion.

Andouille and Pumpkin gumbo 5556

I hope you will enjoy it!

{Two Years Ago: Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Apples, Onion and Candied Pecans}

Source: slightly adapted from Week in a Day by Rachael Ray

1 small pumpkin, about 1 ½ lbs.
Olive oil
Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper
1/3 cup canola or vegetable oil, plus more for drizzling
1 lb. Andouille sausage, chopped
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp sweet paprika
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
2-3 ribs of celery, chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
½ lb. fresh or frozen okra, trimmed and sliced (thawed if frozen)
2-3 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 large fresh bay leaf
1 (12 oz.) bottle of pumpkin ale
2 cups chicken stock
2 (14 oz.) cans diced or stewed tomatoes
Hot sauce, to taste and for serving
Scallions, thinly sliced, for garnish
Cooked white or brown rice, for serving

Preheat the oven to 400 F. Cut the top off the pumpkin and discard the stem. Using a spoon, scoop the seeds out and discard or save for another use. Cut the pumpkin in half, then cut the halves into quarters and the quarters in half. Place them skin side down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silpat. Drizzle them with a touch of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 45-60 minutes, until they are cooked and tender but not mushy.
Remove from the oven and when cool enough to handle, remove the skins and chop into bite-size pieces. Set aside.
Meanwhile, in a Dutch oven or soup pot over medium-high heat, add a small drizzle of olive oil and the Andouille. Cook until browned and a nice amount of fat has rendered. Remove with a slotted spoon and set on a paper towel lined plate.
Lower the heat to medium and add the canola oil, then stir in the flour. Cook, stirring with a wooden spoon for about 20 minutes, until the roux is brown and very fragrant. Adjust the heat as necessary as you do not want it to burn.
Once your roux is ready, add the paprika, bell pepper, onion, and celery. Season lightly with salt and black pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until softened about 8 minutes. Add the jalapeno and garlic and cook 1-2 minutes more. Now add the okra, plus the thyme sprigs and bay leaf and stir a few minutes more. Add the beer, stock and tomatoes. Season with hot sauce to taste and simmer to thicken 20-30 minutes.
Add the Andouille and pumpkin and stir to combine and warm through. Serve in bowls, garnished with scallions, and with a scoop of rice on top.

Louisiana-Style Shrimp and Andouille One Pot

Louisiana-Style Shrimp and Andouille One Pot 5150

A random grocery store run to Fairway a couple weeks ago turned out to be a major score, when I found a rare-to-this-area item sitting nonchalantly on the shelves: Abita Pecan ale. Now, I can find Abita regular brew, but the company also puts out a pecan harvest ale, and that I could never before locate anywhere in NYC. Happy dance time!

Louisiana-Style shrimp and andouille one pot 5134

Before buying it here, I’d only had it one time in my life. That time was with Matt in New Orleans, where the beer itself is brewed, and their pecan ale is seriously the best beer I’ve tasted, ever. With sincere apologies to the Shiner.

Abita Pecan Ale 5155

I figured it was perfect for this recipe, a simple one pot that can be thrown together for tons of Cajun flavors, and one that really requires a Louisiana beer. Obviously, using regular Abita (or another brand of Louisiana style beer) would be perfectly fine.

Louisiana-Style Shrimp and andouille one pot 5160

This was a very lovely dish. Bold flavors, just saucy enough, just messy enough, and pairs so perfectly with that amazing pecan beer. I’m still excited over it. And yes, I’m rationing my stash, trying to make it last, since who knows if I’ll ever see it in NYC again… Anyways, I hope you enjoy this easy one-pot! Oh! Very important – puh-leeze don’t forget a hunk of bread to mop up the delicious holy trinity sauce.

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{One Year Ago: Hatch Chile Cheese Bread, Apple Pie Bagels, My Mom’s Apple Cake}

Source: adapted from Week in a Day by Rachael Ray

Olive oil
½ lb. Andouille sausage, thinly sliced or chopped
3 tbs unsalted butter
1 bell pepper, any color, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
2 ribs of celery, chopped
2 thyme sprigs
2 fresh bay leaves
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp crushed red chile flakes
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 tbs sweet paprika
2 tbs flour
1 (12 oz.) bottle of beer (I used Abita, from Louisiana, which I highly recommend)
1 cup chicken or seafood stock
1 tbs Worcestershire sauce
Louisiana-style hot sauce, to taste
1 ½ lbs. medium-to-large shrimp, peeled and deveined
Sliced scallions, for garnish
Crusty bread hunks, for mopping sauce

In a Dutch oven or deep, large skillet, heat a drizzle of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook, stirring frequently, until browned and the fat rendered. Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate.
Add the butter to the hot pan and swirl or stir to combine it with the sausage drippings. Add the bell pepper, onion, celery, thyme sprigs and bay leaves. Cook, stirring frequently, until completely softened and cooked. Add the garlic and chile flakes, and cook 1 minute more. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Now add the paprika and flour. Stir 1 minute to cook the pasty taste out of the flour. Stir in the beer and cook 2 minutes, stirring to scrape up browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Stir in the stock and Worcestershire, reduce the heat to low and simmer about 3 minutes to combine the flavors. Stir in hot sauce to taste. Add the reserved sausage back into the pot.
Lightly toss the shrimp with a little bit of kosher salt, then add it to the simmering pot. Cook over medium heat until the shrimp are opaque and firm to the touch, about 3-5 minutes.
Remove the thyme sprigs and bay leaves, and ladle into either deep bowls, or wide shallow bowls. Garnish with scallions and dig in!

Shrimp and Crawfish Etouffee

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Yesterday was Matt’s and my wedding anniversary (NINE years, y’all!) so it seemed apropos to blog something Cajun today, seeing as our whole relationship wouldn’t exist but for a fateful trip to New Orleans we both individually made eleven plus years ago. Happy Anniversary Matt! I love you!

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Oh, and try this etouffee, it’s insanely delicious! It’s spicy as all etouffee should be, with loads of those beloved Cajun flavors, including the holy trinity, cayenne, and beautiful shellfish. This recipe is restaurant quality, and I’ve eaten in enough NOLA restaurants over the years to know, lol!

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It’s crawfish season right now, so try and find some even if you don’t live near the Gulf Coast. If you can’t find any, no biggie, just use all shrimp. Enjoy!

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{One Year Ago: DrPepper Cocktail}

Source: adapted from Real Cajun by Donald Link

8 tbs unsalted butter, divided
1 medium onion, chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
1 bell pepper, your choice of color, seeded and chopped
1 poblano chile, seeded and chopped
1 jalapeno chile, seeded and chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbs plus 1 tsp kosher salt
1 ½ tsp sweet paprika
2 tsp ground black pepper
1 ½ tsp dried thyme
1 tsp crushed red chile flakes
1 tsp cayenne pepper
4 bay leaves, preferably fresh
¼ cup all-purpose flour
1 lb. crawfish tails, out of the shell, cooked or raw, thawed if frozen
1 lb. small shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails off, cooked or raw, thawed if frozen
4 cups seafood stock
2 scallions, thinly sliced, divided
3 tbs chopped fresh parsley
Cooked white rice, for serving
Louisiana hot sauce, for serving

Place a large stockpot over medium heat. Melt 4 tbs of butter. Once melted, add the onion, celery, bell pepper, poblano, jalapeno, garlic, 1 tbs salt, paprika, black pepper, dried thyme, chile flakes, cayenne and bay leaves. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the veggies are softened and cooked through. Add the remaining 4 tbs butter, and when that is melted, add the flour. Stir continuously for 1 minute, to cook out the raw flour taste. If your seafood is raw, add it now and cook for another 2-3 minutes, until it turns pink and firms up. It doesn’t need to cook all the way through though.
If your seafood is already cooked, do not add it now. Either way, now add the stock and bring up to a boil. Reduce to simmer and let it thicken up for 15-20 minutes. If your seafood is already cooked, add it now, when the sauce is ready to serve. Let them warm through for a minute or two, then stir in the scallion whites and parsley. Reduce the heat to low. Taste for seasoning and add more salt if necessary.
To serve, spoon some rice into a deep or very shallow and wide individual bowl. Ladle the etouffee on top, then garnish with scallion greens. Serve with extra hot sauce.