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.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Slow-cooked Red Beans Over Rice


  • 1 lb. dry red kidney beans (large or small)
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped
  • 3 ribs celery, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped bell pepper
  • 2 tsp Colgin liquid smoke
  • choice of meats (sausages, smoked ham hocks, bacon, or salt pork)
  • water (enough to fill your crock-pot to about 1/2" from the rim after first adding all the other ingredients).
  • salt and season to taste (cayenne pepper, black pepper, basil, thyme, etc.)

Try to acquire dried red beans which are less than 6 months old. You can either soak the red kidney beans over night for absorption, or you can bring them to a quick boil on the stove for a few short minutes, remove them from the heat source, cover and wait 1 hour, and get basically the same results. Drain and rinse under warm water.

Add all the above ingredients in a 5 quart crock-pot (except for the salt) and slow-cook for several hours--until the meat and beans are tender enough to eat. Stir occasionally without bruising the beans. This is a simple recipe, yet one which is delicious over cooked long-grain white rice.

If you are going to use meats which are cured with salt (such as salt pork), you can expect a little longer cooking time and less tender beans. For absolutely great taste use andouille sausage if you can find it at your local grocer. If not, you may be able to find it online, or substitute a good smoked sausage made of beef and pork. Yum! (C'est Bon)... Enjoy! Signature Icon

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Lafayette Oysters Po-Boy

    shrimp po-boy
  • 2 dozen large oysters, fried
  • 1 fresh loaf French bread, large
  • 1 cup cabbage, shredded
  • tartar sauce
  • red sauce
  • salt and pepper to taste

Begin by frying a couple dozens large oysters using the Gaspard's Spicy Catfish Nuggets recipe (just substitute oysters). Deep fry until they float to the top. Continue to fry on both side until done.

Prepare a half-dozen at the time but don't over-cook. When a light golden-brown color is reached (about 3 minutes at 375 degrees F.) remove the oysters from the hot oil with a slotted spoon and place them onto some paper towels to cool and to absorb any excess oil. Repeat the process until all the oysters are cooked.

You will make two main cuts on the French bread. One at the beginning, which will dissect the loaf in half lengthwise, and a cross-cut to the middle, when you are finished, which will separate the sandwich to form two equally-proportioned po-boys. (I always cut mine on a 45 degree angle for appearance.)

On the bottom-half of the loaf, evenly distribute the shredded cabbage then apply red-sauce along the entire length.

On the top-half of the loaf do the same by spreading a generous amount of tartar sauce. Complete your sandwich by arranging the fried oysters on the bottom-half of the loaf, season to taste, put the bread-cap back on, perform your final cut ... and voilà!--two Oyster Po-Boys...Cajun style!

If you end-up with a few left-over oysters just eat them as a snack and enjoy).

Ahheee! ... C'est Bon!
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Sunday, January 18, 2009

How to Fillet a Flounder

Filleting a flounder is simple in concept, but tricky in execution. Its good to be prepared with a very sharp boning knife about 8" long, a honing tool, a large cutting board, and cool running water to keep things clean.

Its important to mention that there are several acceptable methods to fillet a flounder. I'll describe the method I use, which I find to be efficient and does not waste any precious meat. With practice, you might alter this method to suit your preferences.

With the freshly rinsed flounder laying flat on a cutting board with the head facing to your left, make your first cut diagonally from the top of the flounder starting just behind the head, behind the pectoral fin, and all the way to the vent. This should be a relatively straight cut, all the way through the fish.

Discard the head, gills, and viscera, then rinse the fish clean. Cutting through bone will dull your knife quickly, so rinse your knife and give it a couple of passes with a honing tool.

Now, make a clean cut along the lateral line all the way to the tail. Do not cut all the way through the fish, but allow your knife to glide just above or below the backbone ridge, and cut all the way down to the rib cage.

With the blade angled toward you, and using the tip of your knife, make long cuts that run parallel to the lateral line, and remove the meat from the rib cage as you gently pull it back with your free hand. Flounder meat is very delicate and easy to bruise, so be careful not to damage the meat. Also, be very careful making this cut because your free hand is exposed to the sharp edge of your knife. Allow the tip of your knife to pierce through the skin just inside of the skirt at the bottom of the fish. Cut the flesh away from the bone along the top of the lower skirt line all the way toward the tail, but do not cut all the way through at the tail. If you do this properly, there should be little or no meat left above the exposed lower rib cage, and the fillet should still be attached at the tail.

Flip the meat over at the tail so that the skin side is down, and the fillet is positioned from left to right. Rinse your knife and give it a couple of strokes of the honing tool.

Carefully cut through the meat at the tail, but not all the way through the skin. Use your left hand to keep the fish from sliding. With a moderate downward angle of the knife blade make a single clean decisive cut from left to right to remove the fillet from the skin. This can be tricky because the skin is very thin and easy to cut through.

Repeat this process to on the top and back of the flounder to complete the job. When you are finished, you will have four fillets. Rinse them in cool water, then pat them dry with a paper towel. You can place them in a plastic zip lock bag and keep them in the refrigerator if they will be consumed within a day or two. Otherwise, use a Seal-O-Matic and put them in the freezer where they will keep for a couple of months.

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Saturday, January 17, 2009

Cajun Red Sauce

  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tbs lemon juice
  • 2 Tbs horseradish
  • 1 tsp Tabasco

All of the ingredients are 'to-taste', but this is a good starting point. Mix all the ingredients in a glass bowl. Adjust the horseradish to suit your taste. Cover and refrigerate for a couple of hours. This recipe can be used immediately, but is best if kept refrigerated overnight.

Red sauce and tartar sauce are common accouterments to many Cajun seafood dishes. Both of these sauces are great with shrimp, oysters, and fish - however they are prepared. Mastering the preparation of these two sauces will help you put the finishing touch on your favorite Cajun meal. The best part is they can be made in advance.

My wife likes to clean out a couple of used plastic 'half-n-half' bottles from the grocery store. They fit nicely in the refrigerator door, and they have a handy pour-spout thats good for chunky or thick sauces. Plus they have a sealable lid that keeps your sauce tasting fresh for a while. Whenever you need red sauce and tartar sauce (and we tend to need them a lot around here), just shake it up, pour it out, and enjoy.

Bon Appetit!

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Friday, January 16, 2009

Flounder Po-Boy

  • 1 eggflounder po-boy
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 lemon, juice and zest
  • 4 small flounder fillets
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 tsp dried parsley flakes
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 4-6 Tbs olive oil
  • French bread
  • tomato sliced thin
  • shredded lettuce or cabbage
  • tartar sauce or red sauce
  • Tabasco

Rinse flounder fillets in cold water. Pat dry with a paper towel. In a small mixing bowl gently beat the egg, cornstarch, lemon juice and lemon zest together with a dinner fork. Set aside. Combine bread crumbs with parsley flakes, kosher salt and ground black pepper in a wide, shallow glass dish. Dip the flounder fillets in the egg mixture and place them in the bread crumbs to coat. Sauté fillets in a large non-stick skillet with olive oil for 3 to 5 minutes over medium heat until golden brown.

Drizzle a small amount of olive oil on the tomato slices, add some kosher salt and pepper. Lightly toast sandwich size French bread cut in half long-wise, add shredded lettuce or cabbage tossed with the sauce of your choice, tomato, the flounder fillets, squeeze of lemon with a few dashes of Tabasco. Works perfect with shrimp or oysters, too. Its one of my favorite ways to make flounder.

Flounder season is my favorite time of year for fishing. You never really know when its going to start -- the flounder keep to their own schedules, and don't bother too much with the Gregorian Calendar. We only know to start looking for them in late summer and early fall.

The first time someone catches a flounder, everyone knows the season is on! And it only lasts for a few weeks. Over the years I have learned to switch gears during flounder season. Its time to fish hard, but slow down. When the season is over, we won't see them again for another nine months or so. If I manage to keep a dozen nice fillets in the freezer after we've had our fill, its been a really good year.

They are not very fun to catch, nor are they very aggressive, and they don't put up much of a fight. If you try to horse them in, they are likely to come off the hook. A good net and strong composure are definitely must-have accessories.

The appeal of flounder is not on the line, but it is in the kitchen. The delicate white meat is easy to bruise, but if cooked right its sweet flavor make it some of the best table fare that comes out of the sea.

Learning to fillet a flounder takes good practice and a sharp knife. And, its important to know that a flounder produces four fillets! Two on the top, and two on the bottom. Don't overlook that belly meat, its the best part!

Once I pulled up to the dock in my boat, and noticed a fisherman cleaning his catch. I walked up to see that he had a nice limit of flounder in the cooler. He would clean two fillets off the top, then throw the carcass in the water. I was shocked! I asked the man, "Hey - do you mind if I take those flounder carcasses to bait my crab traps?" He said, "Sure, go right ahead!". I went home with four carcasses, promptly cleaned them and had eight flounder fillets! We ate well that night, I tell you what!

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Cajun-French Toast (Pain Perdu)

  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tbs. sugar
  • 1 cup milk
  • dash of nutmeg
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • powdered sugar (optional)
  • fresh or prepared blueberries (or your favorite syrup)

Mix first five ingredients together, beat thoroughly. Pour mixture in an open container (such as a casserole dish) large enough to dip the slices of bread. Fry the soaked bread slices in hot butter until browned on both sides. Dust with powdered sugar, top with blueberries or syrup and VOILA!...Cajun-style French toast!

Note: kids like it better when you remove the bread crust. Not a problem! You can use the crust for banana puddings, bread puddings, or slow-dry them and make your own bread crumbs...or, you can break 'em up and feed the birds outside.

When my niece, who lives in Austin, called me and said she and her two preteen boys would be arriving here in Hooks for a visit, I knew that a fancy breakfast had to be in order. Something I know they were not familiar with. So I decided on Pain Perdu, a Cajun-French expression for “lost bread”, and appropriately named because one made this dish out of day-old (or older) sliced bread—just prior to becoming stale and unfit for human consumption...in other words, bread which would be "lost" if you didn't use it straight away. The French word pain means bread--and not an agonizing physical human condition.

There are many variations to French toast. The basics are milk, eggs, sugar, dash of salt, and butter. Whatever spices the kids like you can add to the mixture. It could be nutmeg, cinnamon, berries and toppings of various sorts.




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Sunday, January 11, 2009

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Cajun life according to Grandpa (audio)


Audio

Background Music: "Party Girl's Blues" by Savoy-Doucet Cajun Band on Sam's Big Rooster

In this podcast, Jacques describes Grandpa's take on Cajun Life and Justin Wilson. Signature Icon
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