Real Cajun Cooking lets you choose from hundreds of authentic Cajun recipes. Learn to easily prepare and cook original Cajun-style family meals with help from south Louisiana's Cajun cook and connoisseur, Jacques Gaspard, who's been preparing great Cajun meals for several decades. Create the best gumbos, seafood, jambalaya, stews,, salads and deserts – the way they were originally prepared. Besides great original recipes, you will discover a hodgepodge of stories, recordings, music, videos and humorous anecdotes to entertain. So enjoy! Don't forget to tell all of your family and friends about Real Cajun Cooking. They will thank you for it.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Braised Beef Short Ribs and Mushrooms

Braised Beef Short Ribs and MushroomsYouTube Video
Background music entitled "Jole Blon" by Harry Choates 1946 -- Rayne, Louisiana.

When it came to cooking (during my growing-up years on the farm) my grandma kept everything fairly simple. Since we raised all of our own foods, including beef, mutton, pork, chickens, turkeys, ducks, geese and loads of fresh vegetables from the garden, everything she needed to prepare some mighty fine meals was at hand.

She knew exactly what to do to get the tougher cuts of meat tender. I especially enjoyed the taste of the braised beef short ribs which she cooked to perfection -- without all the exotic add-ins which you might find in today's recipes.

After browning the ribs on all sides she would then slow cook them in a cast iron Dutch oven pot on medium heat for a couple hours or so. The dark gravy it produced was great over long grain white rice. This recipe makes 6 - 8 servings. Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 4 lbs. beef short ribs, boneless
  • 2 Tbs. peanut oil
  • 8 oz. button mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 cups of beef broth
  • 1 packet Lipton's Beefy Onion soup mix
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed and minced
  • 1 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce
  • salt and black pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. generously salt and pepper the beef short ribs
  2. add the oil in a skillet
  3. brown the ribs on medium-high heat on all sides then remove from skillet and set aside
  4. next, add 2 cups of broth, vegetables, Worcestershire sauce and boil until reduced to half
  5. strain the liquid through a colander, discard the vegetables then return the liquid to the skillet
  6. add one packet of Lipton's Beefy Onion soup mix and stir in well
  7. reintroduce the ribs to the skillet
  8. cover and slow cook on medium heat until the ribs become tender
  9. add the sliced mushrooms and continue cooking for about 10 - 15 minutes
  10. serve over cooked long grain white rice
Note: Add the remaining third cup of beef broth 1/4 cup at the time as needed to replace the liquid which will evaporate during the cooking process. Enjoy!
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    Wednesday, April 26, 2017

    Real Beef Onion Soup Mix

    Real Beef Onion Soup Mix that you can make at home. So easy!

    Ingredients: 
    • 1 crushed (granulated) beef bouillon cube
    • 2 Tbsp dried minced onions
    • 1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
    • 1 tsp corn starch
    • 1/2 tsp salt (optional)
    • 1/4 tsp granulated garlic
    • 1/8 tsp onion powder
    There are times when I like to use soup mixes to liven-up the tastes of the meals I prepare and I'm particularly fond of a well-known mix with the highlighted words 'Beefy Onion' on the package (Lipton). But the fact is that one cannot find a single hint of beef products in the mix. Hmmm?

    Semantics! I think that's when advertising companies slightly bend the meaning of words to represent something totally different. It sometimes confuses consumers, like me, into thinking they are buying something which they are not. I hate to say it but it happens to me all the time.

    In this example, their use of the descriptive word 'beefy' means something which tastes similar to beef,  (not the real thing), thus allowing the imitation beef flavor to stand out from the rest of the average onion soup mixes on your supermarket shelf. And, they charge a premium price for it.

    While it's true that well-placed words on product packages can increase sales, it's also true when consumers don't take the time to analyze all the ingredients on labels they may not discover the differences between the imitation flavors and the real McCoys.

    If you read the box labels on the most popular brands of onion soup mixes, for example,  you will discover that each packet contains roughly 4 tablespoons of well-mixed ingredients. Much of this is salt which may be gratifying for instant soup lovers and good for quick gravies, but not useful for many types of cooking.

    When salt is added at the beginning of the cooking process it usually toughens that which is being cooked, unless it is done on low heat for longer periods of time. Slow-cooking crock pots make excellent vessels for that particular cooking technique.

    In the old days, meats which were preserved with rock salt in large 20-gallon ceramic containers would retain the salinity. The salty meats, therefore,  had to be soaked in fresh water for dilution prior to cooking. Then the process of cooking for prolonged periods with low heat was utilized to achieve tenderness.

    Moving on.  All you have to do is break down the onion soup mix formulas into their integral parts and play around with different combos until you discover that magic taste and VIOLA! ... you just saved yourself a ton of money over the coming years.

    Creating your own brand of 'beefy' onion soup mix at home will save you about 75% of the cost of buying it in the store. Plus, you come out with the real deal, a better deal and a better blend, too. It feels good to know you can make it fast, at a moment's notice, right from your own pantry and spice rack. You don't have all the preservatives and stuff that are in the packaged brands, either. 'Nuff said.
      Mix together thoroughly and you are ready to go. Use your mix as you would with any store-bought variety.

      Hint: If you want to make your mix "Extra Beefy", you can always add another crushed bouillon cube. You can also add about a half-teaspoon of ground cayenne pepper to 'Cajunize" your mix. This reminds me. Check out my  DIY Cajun Seasoning mix and you will discover yet another pure and simple way to save money and end up with a superior product.

      Save and Enjoy! Ahheee!!


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      Tuesday, March 14, 2017

      Bacon-flavored Ol' Time Homemade Cathead Biscuits

      Cathead Biscuits made with hog lard was a very tasty treat at breakfast time when I was a kid growing up on the farm and had a very distinct taste which separated it from today's traditional methods of making biscuits.

      Hog lard was the most used cooking fat in our home at that time. There were also occasions when we used the rendered fat of other animals (chicken and beef) in which to prepare specific meals which were associated with the cut of meat being cooked.

      If you have never experienced the taste of an omelet or scrambled eggs using a couple teaspoons of chicken oil, then you have missed out on some wonderful taste. To learn how to render oil from chicken skins see an earlier post entitled "Cacklin Cracklins".

      Retail hog lard has begun to slowly disappear from the marketplace (even in the deep south) as it is steadily being replaced with processed industrial oils like soy and Canola--the same stuff used in lubricating machinery, running diesel engines, in the formulation of toxic pesticides, as well as for cooking. You can learn more about the toxic effects of soy and Canola oil as a food substance by visiting here.

      Today we are going to bake-up a batch of Ol' Time Homemade Cat Head Biscuits made with bacon drippings. I suppose the reason they might be called "Cat Head" biscuits might be because someone  fashioned the biscuits by hand a little larger than usual and they wound-up looking similar to, and as big as, a cat's head when they were done baking. That sounds like a plausible story to me, so I'm sticking with it. I do remember when one of 'em could just about fill me up back in the old days when I was a boy.

      I don't fashion the biscuit dough with my hands, however. Instead, I use the opened end of a clean empty food can as my biscuit cutter. It gives me more biscuits of normal size (6 - 8 servings).

      This recipe will add a slight bacon flavor to your batch of cat heads. When using bacon drippings keep in mind that it already contains salt from the curing process. Therefore, in this recipe there is no need to add salt when converting the all-purpose flour into self-rising flour.

      Note: To make 1 cup of self-rising flour add 1 1/4 tsp. baking powder, a small pinch of baking soda and 1/4 tsp. salt to 1 cup of all-purpose flour and mix thoroughly.

      As mentioned previously, there is no need to add salt to make your self-rising flour in this recipe because the bacon drippings already contain enough to create the chemical reaction with the baking powder and baking soda that is needed to make the biscuits rise.

      Tip: Liquified bacon drippings can be put in the freezer for a few minutes and it will solidify enough to be cut-in with your flour mix.

      Ingredients

      • 2 cup self-rising flour
      • 3 Tbs. solid and cold hog lard (bacon drippings)
      • 1 cup milk

      Instructions

      1. preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
      2. add self-rising flour into a food blender
      3. using the "Pulse" feature add 1/3 of the cold hog lard at the time until it mixes-in well with the flour
      4. slowly add and pulse the 1 cup of milk into the blender until a soft dough is made
      5. roll out the biscuit dough on a slightly floured cutting board to about 1/2 inch thick
      6. cut your biscuits into circles (the size of a soup can)
      7. place the biscuits onto a slightly oiled pan (touching)
      8. bake at 450 degrees F. for 10 - 12 minutes

      Serves 6 - 8
      Bon Appetit!
      KT
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      Saturday, March 11, 2017

      Shrimp Etouffee (A-2-Fay)

      Shrimp Etouffee (A-2-Fay) is just a fancy Cajun French expression for 'smothered' shrimp. The gulf shrimp are slow-cooked in a thick and rich garlic butter sauce. We begin by sautéing the Cajun trinity of vegetables--chopped onions, celery and bell pepper--to bring out the traditional and unmistakable flavors of Cajun-style cuisine.

      The meal is simple to prepare and rates highly among the more popular Cajun entrées.

      Ingredients

        Shrimp Etouffee (A-2-Fay)
      • 2 lbs. fresh medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
      • 1/2 cup butter
      • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
      • 1 cup onions, chopped
      • 1 medium bell pepper, chopped
      • 1/2 cup celery, chopped
      • 3 cloves garlic, minced
      • 1 small can tomato juice
      • 1 1/2 cups water
      • salt and pepper to taste

      Instructions
        1. melt butter and stir-in flour, onions, celery and bell pepper, mixing well
        2. cook on medium heat until the vegetables become translucent
        3. blend-in the tomato juice, water, garlic and seasonings
        4. simmer on medium-low heat for 30 minutes, stirring frequently
        5. add the fresh medium shrimp and cook for an additional 20 minutes
        6. serve over cooked long grain rice
         Yields 4 to 6 servings.

        Question: How do you smother chicken?
        Answer: Use tiny pillows and sneak-up on 'em while they are sleeping.

        Ahheee!! C'est bon!
        KT
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        Sunday, February 26, 2017

        Shrimp Au Gratin

        • 2 lbs. shrimp
        • 1 large onion, chopped
        • 3 ribs celery, chopped
        • 1/2 lb.butter
        • 4 Tbs. flour
        • 1 large can milk (12 oz.)
        • 2 egg yolks
        • 10 oz. mild cheddar cheese

        Peel uncooked shrimp. Sauté onions and celery in butter. Add milk and blend. Remove from heat then add egg yolks and blend. Now add shrimp and cook for 5 minutes. Next, add cheese, salt, and pepper. Pour mixture into a casserole and top it with more cheese. Bake long enough to melt cheese. Serves 6 to 8.

        This can be served over cooked rice or toasted bread.
        KT

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