Shrimp Étouffée

Place a scoop of rice in the center of the bowl
Then add the shrimp and sauce along the side of the rice
Use Tabasco on top.

Shrimp Stock: Start with making your seafood stock by using the heads and tails of the shrimp.  Put them in a sauce pot and add 1 TBSP pepper corns, 1 celery stalk with leaves chopped, 1 small carrot chopped, 1 garlic cloves chopped, 1/2 onions chopped two cups of water and bring to a boil and let rest. Then strain into a two cup measuring cup..

Tomatoes: 2 Roma tomatoes, cut a cross on the top and a cross on the bottom, blanch in hot water until the skin starts to come off, peel off skin, peel off the skin and chop.

Shrimp: Keep shrimp in frig until ready to use.

Make your own Cajun Spice:
¾ tsp paprika
¼ tsp thyme
¼ tsp oregano
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
¼ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp onion powder
¼ tsp white pepper
¼ tsp black pepper
¼ tsp Old Bay

Start the Roux. 3 TBSP olive oil and 3 TBSP flour.

This is kind of like Gumbo only with tomato:

Fry the roux and whisk until it gets oak color.
Add the 1/2 onions  chopped and sauté in the roux with a whisk.
Add the 1 chopped celery, 1/2 green pepper chopped and 1/4 cup scallions chopped
Add the tomato and some beer and the some of the seafood stock
The idea is to make it a thick stock so add liquid until it starts to thicken and get a gravy
Add the shrimp and cook on medium for 20 minutes
Étouffée literally means to smother the food in gravy

 

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Maque Choux (Corn Vegetable Stew)

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This is a purely Cajun dish. But, up here in the Midwest there is wonderful sweet corn. In fact, the best sweet corn I ever ate. Between my garden and my neighbor’s garden, there are enough veggies and fresh herbs around to make a fresh Maque Choux (corn vegetable stew). The corn came from a farmer nearby.  The really nice part about growing vegetables versus playing golf or fishing, you can drink a LOT of beer and wine waiting for your vegetables to grow. Just sayin.

I add a little sausage for flavor. My mother used to make it this way. Other recipes I’ve seen use andouille sausage, bacon or tasso (Cajun ham). The reason I chose Kielbasa is I will share this with my neighbor and as a plain Midwestern version. You can spice this up all you want, I’m not a big cayenne pepper fan.

I want the browned meat b/c I will use the meat “fond” for added flavor. As you know a “fond” is a French term that means “base” or remaining little bits of meat. But, there are many versions that do not include meat served as a side. I will serve this as a main dish.

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Ingredients:
10 oz. Turkey, Beef and Pork Kielbasa (Brown sausage in olive oil)
1 TBSP olive oil

6 uncooked fresh ears of corn – cut the corn using a sharp knife digging into the cob and getting the milk of the corn (There is no way you can do this without getting corn on the floor.)

Mirepoix (Used at first for the natural sugar and flavors)
½ cup quarter chopped celery stalks, I prefer the center stalk
1 cup or 1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup of green bell pepper, chopped

2 cups diced tomatoes – I used one Roma and one yellow

¾ cup scallions (green onions)

8 TBSP unsalted butter
Thyme – fresh
Kosher salt (pinch)

Dash of white wine
½ cup of chicken stock

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Cooking Directions:
• Lightly brown the sausage in olive oil and remove
• Add the (Mirepoix) onion, celery, bell pepper and sauté four minutes. Add the dash of white wine to release the fond while sautéing and scraping the bottom of the pot
• Add the butter and melt
• On low heat add the corn and mix until the corn is buttered.
• Add thyme, return the meat, pinch of salt, ½ cup chicken stock and cook covered on medium heat 15 minutes
• Watch the pot, don’t let it over cook
• Add the remaining ingredients and cook another 15 minutes on medium to low heat. Add more chicken stock if necessary (There should only be just enough fluids to steam the corn and release the corn milk)

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Deer Sausage Gumbo

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(click on pics to enlarge)

I’m doing more Gumbos out here again.

It’s deer season and all the hunters are practicing their rifle skills. It sounds like a war zone outside. No, I’m not shooting Bambi. I make a trip to the meat house and buy deer sausage and while there I get a jar of honey from the local beekeepers. The local honey is so much different from the honey I buy at the store. I can actually taste the sweet flowers in the local honey.

The deer sausage I buy is mildly hot and is mixed with pork. I love this old store. I’m like a blind dog in a meat locker. The sausage has the right amount of smoke flavor.

Roux

The roux (oil and flour) is not only the thickening agent for the stock; it is the main flavor for the entire dish. The key to a roux is patiently cook by whisking the equal parts flour and oil until it becomes dark brown on a steady medium heat; add chopped onions and sauté. After about 5 minutes, then add the celery and bell pepper. The aroma that occurs between the roux and the onions is incredible and can’t be missed in the flavor from that point forward.

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Ingredients (shown in the picture above, click on pic to enlarge):

Mirepoix (Vegetables)
1 small onion – chopped
1 bell pepper – seeded and chopped
1 celery stalk – peeled and chopped
2 garlic cloves – cut into small coins
4 scallions (green onion) – chopped
5 either boiler or pearl onions

Meat
1 Lb. deer sausage – sliced

Seasoning, Herbs and Stock
Salt and pepper
Fresh oregano (or a dash of dried)
1 small bay leaf
2 cups chicken stock

Roux
4 TBSP all purpose flour
4 TBSP olive oil

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Because this is venison sausage, it can be very oily so I like to brown it first to remove some of the oil and in doing so browning it also adds a little more flavor.

In a Dutch Oven, add the flour then the oil and whisk into a paste. Turn heat to medium and as the flour begins to cook whisk every minute or so. Then add the onions and sauté. To see how to make a roux visit Roux.  Add the chicken stock and cook on low 20 minutes.

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Add the rest of the ingredients and cook another 30 minutes.

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Serve over rice.  This dish was sooooo goood!

White Cypress Beef and Andouille Sausage Gumbo

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(click on pics to enlarge)

This recipe is actually my own version using beef shoulder. I found a recipe called Lagniappe Stew that comes close. Only, the Lagniappe Stew recipe involves the use of beef brains, kidneys, heart and other assorted guts. Listen, I have eaten a lot of weird things in my time; but, I am going to need to be very hungry to eat that stuff. Grind it, make sausage out of it, but don’t tell me anything about it.

I have become a master at tenderizing cheap cuts of meat. The best tool in my arsenal for that is a slow cooker (crock-pot). It can’t get any easier. In the morning I chop a half onion and put in the floor of the crock-pot, place the beef on top, add a 1 cup of dry white wine, cover – cook all day on a low heat setting. Later when ready to prepare the dish, I add the tenderized beef and all its juices from the crock-pot.

On meat selection in general, I find it best to be prepared with a series of dishes that makes the best use of a variety of inexpensive “on-sale” cuts of meat and smaller quantities. Beef chuck shoulder is a very tasty cut of meat and chewy, but perfect for tenderizing. Typically a beef chuck shoulder roast will be sold in 2 ½ to 3 Lb. packages for maybe $11. When I get home I cut it into 3 equal parts and cut away unwanted fat and freeze it.  All the meat used in this dish cost me all of $4. I can’t buy a burrito meal at Taco Bell for less than $8. Not sure about your grocery bill, but each month I pay Walmart more than my mortgage.

As an aside, in Louisiana you will see the word Lagniappe (Pronounced: Lan-yap) used a lot in signs and advertising. It means “something given as a bonus or extra gift”.

Roux

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The roux (oil and flour) is not only the thickening agent for the stock; it is the main flavor for the entire dish. The key to a roux is patiently cook by whisking the equal parts flour and oil until it becomes dark brown on a steady medium heat; add chopped onions and sauté. After about 5 minutes, then add the celery and bell pepper. The aroma that occurs between the roux and the onions is incredible and can’t be missed in the flavor from that point forward.

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Ingredients (shown in the picture above, click on pic to enlarge):

 

Mirepoix (Vegetables)
1 small onion – chopped
½ onion chopped – for the slow cooker
1 bell pepper – seeded and chopped
1 celery stalk – peeled and chopped
2 garlic cloves – cut into small coins
4 scallions (green onion) – chopped

Meat
1 Lb. of beef shoulder – trimmed of fat – precooked in slow cooker – cut into squares
1 stick of Andouille pork sausage – sliced

Seasoning, Herbs and Stock
Salt and pepper
Fresh oregano – four stalks (or a tsp. of dried)
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 TBSP Worcestershire
1 cup veal stock
1 cup of dry white wine (strain and save the juices from the slow cooker)

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In a slow cooker (crock-pot) add onions, beef chuck and 1 cup of white wine.  Cook on low with the lid on for 8 hours.  (Enjoy the smell!)

Roux
4 TBSP all purpose flour
4 TBSP olive oil

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In a Dutch Oven, add the flour then the oil and whisk into a paste. Turn heat to medium and as the flour begins to cook whisk every minute or so.

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Turn heat to medium and as the flour begins to cook whisk every few minutes or so as not to let the roux burn. You will see the flour begin to bubble.

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In a little while you will see the flour begin to turn brown. A baked bread smell will begin to emerge.

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Whisk more until the roux turns a dark oak color.  Whisk every two or three minutes.

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While the roux is hot add the onions and sauté four-five minutes making sure not to burn the roux or the onions. You will see the roux begin to brown even more.

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Then add the celery, garlic and bell pepper and cook a couple of minutes.

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Add the stock and drippings from the crock-pot 1/2 cup at a time watching the roux begin to foam.

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Then add the meat, add little more veal stock, bring to a boil, reduce heat to the lowest setting and cook covered for 30 minutes.

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Add the scallions, salt and pepper, thyme, fresh oregano leaves and Worcestershire. Cover and cook another 30 minutes.

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Serve over rice.

Shrimp, Chicken and Andouille Sausage Gumbo


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(click on pics to enlarge)

Gumbo is a perfect meal for a winterish day. It is very easy to make. For me, it is a labor of love and heritage. There are a lot of choices.

My Godmother makes the best seafood Gumbo I ever ate. She packs a lot of flavors in her Gumbo. Down here in the South I consider her Gumbo the “real deal”. Hers leans more toward the Creole side. My mother made a Filé Gumbo using filé powder, which is ground sassafras leaves. I’m not a real fan of filé. But, I think the finishing herb drives the final touch. Some people use bay leaf, some use filé, some use both.  I use bay leaf and fresh oregano from my garden.

There are other choices to consider – the oil and the peppers (heat).

Most people use vegetable oil or canola oil and some use olive oil. I use olive oil for several reasons. Mostly, I think the flavor suits the vegetable profile better but more importantly, it handles the heat better when making a dark roux.

With respect to peppers, I know people who add jalapeño peppers and others add lots of Tabasco pepper sauce and others add a Creole Seasoning containing cayenne pepper. I de-seed a jalapeño (limit the heat) and add it to the vegetables and then add a little Tabasco sauce when serving. This allows the person to control their own destiny with the pepper heat when serving. The other thing to calculate is the Andouille sausage has ground pepper flakes, cayenne pepper and chili powder in it. If you live in a place where you cannot get Andouille sausage, use your favorite smoked pork sausage and toss in a small dash of red pepper flakes. The base of this Gumbo depends on a mild pepper back flavor, but not an over-powering pepper flavor.

Roux

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The roux (oil and flour) is not only the thickening agent for the stock; it is the main flavor for the entire dish. The key to a roux is patiently cook by whisking the equal parts flour and oil until it becomes dark brown on a steady medium heat; add chopped onions and sauté. After 5 minutes, then add the celery and bell pepper. The aroma that occurs between the roux and the onions is incredible and can’t be missed in the flavor from that point forward.

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Ingredients (shown in the picture above, click on the pic to enlarge):

Mirepoix (Vegetables)
1 small onion – chopped
1 bell pepper – seeded and chopped
1 celery stalk – peeled and chopped
1 jalapeño pepper – seeded and chopped
2 garlic cloves – cut into small coins
4 scallions (green onion) – chopped

Meat
1 chicken thigh – with skin and bone
1 chicken breast – skinned and deboned
1 Lb. of shrimp – shelled and cleaned
1 stick of Andouille pork sausage – sliced

Seasoning, Herbs and Stock
Salt and pepper
Fresh oregano (or a dash of dried)
1 small bay leaf
1 TBSP Worcestershire
2 cups chicken stock

Roux
4 TBSP all purpose flour
4 TBSP olive oil

In a Dutch Oven, add the flour then the oil and whisk into a paste.

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Turn heat to medium and as the flour begins to cook whisk every few minutes or so as not to let the roux burn.  You will see the flour begin to bubble.

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In a little while you will see the flour begin to turn brown.  A baked bread smell will begin to emerge.  2015-11-15 Gumbo 009

Whisk more until the roux turns a dark oak color.  Whisk every two or three minutes.

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While the roux is hot add the onions and sauté five minutes.  You will see the roux begin to brown even more.

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Then add the celery, bell pepper and jalapeño pepper.

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2015-11-15 Gumbo 016Then add the chicken and the Andouille sausage.

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Add the rest of the stock, bring to a boil and then cover, turn the heat to the lowest setting and cook 30 minutes.

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At 30 minutes remove the chicken and remove the bone and skin, cut into pieces and return to the pot, add the garlic and scallions, add the shrimp, herbs, Worcestershire and salt and pepper.  Cover and cook another 30 minutes on low.

Serve over a bed of rice and sprinkle Tabasco sauce.

I also made a bread for dipping in the stock.

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This was so good.  The meat was tender and flavor was wonderful.

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