Category Archives: Cajun/Creole Soul Food

Blackened Salmon With Broccoli Rabe

 Blackened Salmon With Broccoli Rabe

After several consecutive weeks of too much celebrating, (just kidding) I’m trying to focus on eating healthful, clean meals. Tonight, I’m taking advantage of salmon left over from last night’s dinner and pulling together a light, Cajun-inspired dinner that’ll be ready in about twenty minutes.

Blackened fish is so easy that even my kitchen-averse spouse is able to make it. The key to the dish’s healthy flavor is not too much oil and lots of Cajun seasoning, a dynamic mix of seasonings such as salt, garlic, cayenne, chili powder, onion, and paprika. Fill up by pairing the sautéed Broccoli Rabe with some roasted potatoes.

 

Serves 4| Hands-On Time: 20 min| Total Time: 20 min

Blackened Salmon With Broccoli Rabe

 

Ingredients

4 6-ounce pieces skinless salmon fillet

2 tablespoons Cajun seasoning or blackening spice mix

1 bunch broccoli rabe (about 1 pound)

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 shallots, sliced

kosher salt

1/4 cup golden raisins

1 lemon, cut into wedges

 

 

Directions

Heat a large skillet over medium heat.

Coat both sides of the salmon with the seasoning and cook, covered, until opaque throughout and blackened, 3 to 4 minutes per side.

Meanwhile, in another skillet, bring the broccoli rabe and ½ cup water to a simmer.

Cook the broccoli rabe, covered, tossing occasionally, until tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain and transfer to a plate.

Wipe out the second skillet and heat the oil over medium heat. Add the shallots and ¼ teaspoon salt and cook until softened, about 3 minutes.

Mix in the raisins and broccoli rabe. Serve with the salmon and lemon.

 

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Southern Red Beans and Rice

Southern Red Beans and Rice

red beans and rice

Prep time: 10 min Cook time: 2 hours Yield: About 4 to 6 servings

Ingredients

1 pound of dried red kidney beans

1/2 pound of bacon, chopped

1 large onion, chopped

1 green bell pepper, chopped

1 large stalk of celery, chopped

2 cloves of garlic, minced

Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste, optional

1 teaspoon dried basil

2 bay leaves

1/2 tablespoon of canola oil

1 package (14 oz.) smoked sausage or Andouille sausage(very spicy), ham bone, ham hocks, hamchunks, or any combination

2 quarts of water

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, optional

Kosher salt to taste, if needed – BUT ONLY AT THE END!

Hot, cooked rice

Sliced green onion, for garnish, optional

Hot sauce, for the table

Instructions:

Rinse and sort beans and place into a deep pot, adding water to cover beans plus about an inch or so. Discard any malformed or floating beans. 

Do not add any seasonings or salt! Bring to a boil; boil for 5 minutes uncovered, turn off heat, cover and let soak for one hour. Drain and set aside in a large pot.In a separate skillet, cook the bacon until lightly cooked and still limp. Add the onion, bell pepper, and celery to the bacon and sauté the veggies until tender. Add the garlic, black and red pepper, basil and bay leaf into the vegetable mixture and let seasoning meld with the veggies for about 3 minutes, stirring. Add the bacon, veggie & seasoning mixture to the pot of beans. Meanwhile slice sausage in half lengthwise and cut into 1/4-inch chunks. Add oil to skillet you used for the veggies and lightly brown the sausage. Transfer to the bean pot. If you have any leftover ham chunks, cut those up too, brown them and add them in.

Add 2 quarts of fresh water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cooked uncovered for 1-1/2 to 2 hours, or until beans are tender and slightly thickened. When beans are just about done, slide in a half stick of butter. The butter adds richness to the beans and makes them just super delish, but is totally optional if you want to leave it out. They are good without it. If you need to thicken them up more, just remove about a cup of the beans and mash them with a fork, returning them to the pot. Serve over hot, cooked rice and garnish with sliced green onion, if desired. Pass hot sauce at the table.

~Cook’s Notes~

Note: Do not add any salt until the end, and then only if it needs it. There is some salt present from all the meats involved, so taste and adjust your seasonings toward the end of cooking, adding salt here if needed. I very often find that the pot needs no additional salt at all. Taste, add salt if needed, taste again and adjust seasoning as needed.

Serving  Suggestion:

 

 Southern Red Beans and Rice and cornbread

New Orleans Louisiana Shrimp Etouffee

shrimp EtouffeeNew Orleans Louisiana Shrimp Etouffee

    I made Shrimp Etouffee’ for a southern style banquet in 1986.  This one is just Louisiana Shrimp recipe I have.  The shrimp  are great! Flavorful, tender, great! I figured what better dish to give the Shrimp a test run than the New Orleans Cuisine classic, Etouffee.  Be forewarned, this dish is not for the health conscious; as a matter of fact, you may want to keep a defibrillator in the dining room. There’s butter and plenty of it!
I always buy shell on shrimp, why? For the same reason I buy bone in cuts of meat. Stock. The amount of shrimp you’re using for this recipe will produce just enough Shrimp Stock, plus a little extra (recipe below). Shrimp stock only needs to cook for about 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Shrimp Stock

The Shells and tails from 1 or more pounds of Shrimp
1/2 Cup chopped Onion
1/4 Cup chopped Celery
1/4 Cup chopped Carrot
2 Garlic Cloves
2 Fresh Bay Leaves
1 tsp. Black Peppercorns

Add all ingredients to a 2 qt. saucepan. Cover this with cold water, it should be about 2 – 2 1/2 Cups. You’ll need 1 1/2 Cups for the Etouffee. Bring almost to a boil, reduce the heat to a low simmer. Simmer for about 45 minutes to an hour. Strain.
The Etouffee recipe:

New Orleans Cuisine’s Louisiana Shrimp Etouffee Recipe

2 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. Creole Seasoning
4 tbsp. Vegetable Oil
3/8 Cup A.P. Flour
1/4 Cup Onion, Finely Chopped
1/4 Cup Celery, Finely Chopped
1/4 Cup Bell Pepper, Finely Chopped
2 tbsp. Minced Garlic
1 1/2 Cups Shrimp Stock
2 tsp. Homemade Worcestershire Sauce
1 tsp Hot Sauce (I like Crystal or Louisiana Gold)
1 Stick Unsalted Butter
1/2 Cup Green Onions, thinly sliced
1 lb Good Quality Shrimp, Peeled and Deveined, Save shells for the stock (I use Wild-Caught Louisiana Shrimp)
Salt & Freshly Ground Black Pepper to taste
1 Recipe Creole Boiled Rice

While your stock is simmering heat the oil over medium heat. Add the flour and stir to make a red-brown Roux 7-10 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in 1 Tablespoon of the seasoning, the Holy Trinity (Onions, Celery, Bell Pepper), and the Garlic. Set aside. (Up to This step can be done in advance.)

When the stock is finished and strained, bring 1 cup of it to a boil. Whisk the Roux and vegetable mixture in and reduce the heat to a simmer. Add 1 Tablespoon of the seasoning, Worcestershire, and the Hot Sauce. Simmer for 5 minutes.

Have your Creole Boiled Rice ready and your serving dishes warmed before starting the next step.

In a large Cast-Iron frying pan, melt 1/2 stick of the butter over medium heat. Add the Green Onions, Shrimp, and remaining 1 tsp. Creole Seasoning. Sauté until the Shrimp just start to turn pink. Add 1/2 Cup more of the Shrimp Stock and the remaining 1/2 stick butter; cook until the butter is melted and incorporated into the sauce, 3-5 minutes, constantly shaking the pan back-and-forth (versus stirring). If you sauce starts to separate, add a splash of stock and continue shaking the pan.

Mound 1/2 cup of Creole Boiled Rice on each serving plate (2), Divide the Etouffee onto the two plates. Serve immediately.

Creole Boiled Rice

2 cups salted boiling water with 2 tablespoon butter melted in it.
1 cup medium grain white rice
4 Fresh Bay Leaves (If you have to use dried, do so, but damn….. the fresh are so much better!)

Bring the water to a boil with the bay leaves.  Add the rice, stir to make sure the rice doesn’t stick! Do Not Stir again! If you agitate the rice too much, it gets sticky! So give it a good stir, when it comes back to a boil, cover it with a tight fitting lid. Cook for about 11 minutes, but taste it, when the water is absorbed, the rice should be tender  and fluffy.

Not Your Every Day Smoked Pork Spare Ribs

Not Your Every Day Smoked Pork Spare Ribs

Not Your Every Day Smoked Pork Spare Ribs

Pork Ribs have a long tradition in the old style world of barbecue, ranking with brisket and pulled pork in the competitions as a true art form.  They are marinated in a dry rub, then smoked low and slow, the sauce is added near the end and sizzled on. Just like the champion pitmasters and the best ribjoints do it.

Ribs are the holy grail. Mastering them marks the difference between the tyro, pyro, and pitmaster.  We’re talking Southern ribs here, a style created by early African Americans and as uniquely American as their other great contributions to our culture: Jazz the Blues, Cajun and Creole Soulfood.

A complex spice rub, elegant hardwood smoke, tangy sweet sauce, all underpinned and held together by the distinct flavor of pork. They are juicy and tender and they tug cleanly off the bone but don’t fall off the bone. Their scent clings to your fingers for hours

 

 

Ingredients

6 whole racks of St. Louis cut pork spareribs

Dry rub:

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

2 tablespoons chili powder

1 tablespoon paprika

1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons garlic powder

2 teaspoons onion powder

2 teaspoons kosher salt

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper or to taste (optional)

Mop Sauce:

1 cup apple cider

3/4 cup apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon onion powder

1 tablespoon garlic powder

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped (optional)

2 tablespoons hot pepper sauce

kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

2 cups wood chips, soaked (Sycamore has an absolutely phenomenal flavor)

Directions

In a medium bowl, mix together the brown sugar, chili powder, paprika, black pepper, 2 tablespoons garlic powder, 2 teaspoons onion powder, kosher salt, cumin, cinnamon, jalapeno seasoning, and cayenne pepper. Rub generously onto the pork spareribs. Cover, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or overnight.

Prepare an outdoor grill for indirect heat, or preheat a smoker to 250 degrees F (120 degrees C). While the grill heats up, prepare the mop sauce. In a medium bowl, stir together the apple cider, apple cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon onion powder, 1 tablespoon garlic powder, lemon juice, jalapeno, hot pepper sauce, salt and pepper.

When the coals are gray and ashed over place 2 handfuls of soaked woodchips directly on the coals. Place the ribs on the grill grate bone side down. Cover, and cook for 3 1/2 to 4 hours. Add more coals as needed. Baste with the mop sauce, and throw handfuls of soaked woodchips onto the coals every hour. Keep the temperature of the grill or smoker from going below 225 degrees F (110 degrees C). Ribs are done when the rub has created a wonderful crispy blackened ‘bark’, and the meat has pulled away from the bone. Discard any leftover mop sauce.  Total smoking/cooking time 5 to 7 hours, depending on the number of slabs you have.

Serving Suggestion :

  or this  or even this! 

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