Monday, September 24, 2012

Butter Beans and Pork Steak Combo

This Butter Beans and Pork Steak Combo is delicious when served over rice or with cornbread. The combination of beans and cut-up pork steaks (in the slightly-salted and smoky pot liqueur) comes together to produce a hearty dish and makes an entire meal in itself. It takes less than a couple hours to prepare, from start to finish, and most of that time is spent stirring the beans occasionally while waiting for that tender moment when everything is cooked to perfection.

Ingredients

2 lbs. pork steaks
1 lb large Lima beans, dried
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic
8 cups water
1 tsp Colgin liquid smoke
2 dashes of Lea and Perrin Worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper to taste

Side dish: (your choice of cornbread or cooked white rice).

For this meal I used a # 10 cast-iron skillet, but any large skillet will suffice.

Instructions

With the skillet, begin by heating the oil on a medium-high heat until the grease becomes searing hot. Prior to frying the pork steaks rub them down well with your favorite seasoning (salt, red pepper, black pepper, etc.). Some folks like just plain old salt and black pepper.

Today,  I used some Slap Ya Mamma seasoning (which is rather spicy) and a generous application of Watkins Pouvre Noir (black pepper), and sea salt.

The object here is to infuse as much of the rub in the steaks so that when you sear them in the hot oil, the seasonings will be immediately locked in the meat by the heat.

Subsequently, this seasoning will slowly release into the pot liquor when you simmer everything on medium-low heat. (This is all the seasoning that is required for this meal besides the liquid smoke and Worcestershire sauce.)

Tip: You do not need to fry-cook the pork steaks all the way because after you cut them up into bite size pieces they will finish cooking in a slow-simmer when you add the meat with the butter beans and water.

Next, pour the 8 cups of water into the stock pot with the onions and garlic and bring to a fast boil.

After you have reached a boil add the cut-up pork steaks, the Worcestershire sauce and liquid smoke. Allow everything to return to a boil once again.

Next, add the large Lima beans to the mix and set your heat to medium-low and allow everything to simmer for about an hour and a half, or until the beans are tender. Stir occasionally.

Serves 8 to 10.

This stuff is larapin good! Bon appetite and enjoy!
KT
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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Introduction

If one were to trace the origins of Cajun-style cooking, a good look at the distant past would be in order. I would wager that many of today’s popular dishes originated in France and were handed over to the descendants of the original French Acadian colonists who occupied the Canadian province of Nova Scotia from 1710 until 1755, before the diaspora.
Nova Scotia offered an abundance of wild game and seafood for the taking. The lands were fertile. It was a perfect place to colonize.
When the Acadians were dispersed (Le Grande Derangement), the largest part of the tiny nation trekked southward along the North American eastern seaboard for hundreds of miles.
The colonists then turned westward to cross the Tennessee and Mississippi Rivers southward which led them to their present location (a 22 parish area of Louisiana known today as Acadiana).
Again, the Acadians settled in a geographical region blessed with a cornucopia of natural foods and fertile soils upon which to farm.
This is our contribution to some of those recipes and to which this publication is primarily dedicated. We also made room to include a few excellent Tex-Mex family meals. After all, the Great State of Texas is where I have retired, so it is appropriate to include at least some of those recipes, too.
As an honest-to-goodness Cajun, I think a true knowledge and understanding of how real Cajun food is prepared and enjoyed, one has to learn from someone who has had personal experience. I do qualify. It started for me deep in the heart of Cajun country in 1949 near an off-the-map village in Lafayette Parish, Louisiana named Indian Bayou.
Over the years, I've traveled and dined extensively throughout North America and noticed that few restaurants serve authentic Cajun dishes the old way, anymore.
Restaurant-prepared Cajun foods have fallen victim to bottom-line economics. Also, they have succumbed to a potpourri of unusual add-ins and spices which do not accurately reflect the foods I grew up on as a kid
The main ingredients in many of the original Cajun meals included onions, bell pepper, celery, garlic, and a few choice salts and seasonings. Cajuns usually cook the onions and celery first and after a few minutes the bell peppers are added, and toward the end of the cooking cycle -- fresh garlic --  to get the ultimate flavor. All Cajuns know that.
Early settlers cooked a variety of wild game, including but not limited to: duck, goose, squirrel, alligator, eel, rabbit, raccoon, possum (the list goes on), which may have contributed to the old saying that a real Cajun will eat just about anything that don't eat him first.
Some folks can't quite get the knack of cooking Cajun foods. That is because they are often too impatient to understand what low-heat and prolonged cooking times can do to enhance the flavor of foods and tenderize the toughest of meats.
You have heard, for example, that gumbo is especially tasty on the following day. That is because gumbo roux needs time to complete its magic -- that of absorbing all of the wonderful flavors of the vegetables, meats and seasoning.
Seasoning, now there’s a hot topic! The spicy tastes usually associated with Cajun foods became popular in the late 18th century when abundant resources of Tabasco, cayenne and other varieties of peppers began to flourish throughout the region.
The Spanish/Mexican influence in the Acadian Parishes grew prominently with the introduction of the world renowned Tabasco Sauce which is grown, harvested and processed at Avery Island in Iberia Parish, Louisiana.
It paved the way for the 'hot and spicy' characterization of Cajun cuisine. Not all Cajun foods are spicy, however. They do not have to be, as you will see in many of our recipes. Just add enough excitement to suit your desire is what we always advise.

Conclusion? There are a few modern and delightful Cajun recipes which can undoubtedly be found on-line. We will try to publish and share them with you periodically -- when we find them. 
However, before the old-time recipes are forever lost and forgotten, we want to share some of them with you, also. You won't find anything fancy here, merely delicious meals which are pure and simply prepared.
Please leave any comments or suggestions that you may have. Thanks for visiting and letting us share with you some great family recipes and traditions.
If you want to be kept informed of new recipes or articles, please subscribe.
Bon Appetite! ~ Jacques Gaspard
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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Popular Cajun Family Recipes

In the Gaspard Recipes Collection you will discover many Popular Cajun Family Recipes that may be slightly different from the hundreds of other Cajun style recipes which are published on the NET. That is because these are the real deal. These recipes are originals.


  1. Gumbo - Easy Microwave Gumbo Roux (video); Wild Duck Gumbo; Chicken-  Shrimp-Okra Gumbo (video); Chicken Gumbo; Shrimp and Okra Gumbo.
  2. Boudain (boudin) - Boudain (aka Boudin); Boudain (Boudin) Balls.
  3. Jambalaya - Cajun Chicken Jambalaya I; Chicken Jambalaya II; Crawfish Jambalaya; Shrimp Jambalaya; Pork Jambalaya.
  4. Etouffee - Crawfish Étouffée; Shrimp Étouffée (A-2-Fay)
  5. Crawfish Boil - How to Boil Shrimp, Crabs or Crawfish.
  6. Cajun Rice - Rice Dressing (aka Dirty Rice); Cajun Fried Rice.
  7. Chicken Stew - Chicken Stew; Chicken Fricassee.
  8. Fried Catfish - Fried Catfish Nuggets; Lemony Fried Catfish Nuggets; Cast-iron Blackened Catfish Filets (video)
  9. Red Beans and Rice Slow-cooked Red Beans over Rice; Cajun-style Pinto Beans.
  10. Cracklins - Cacklin Cracklins (chicken skin); Homemade Pork Cracklings.

These are just a fraction of the Gaspard Family Recipes. Explore our website for more delicious original Cajun family meals.

Bon Appetite! Ahheee!!
KT
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Sunday, August 26, 2012

Cajun Tartar Sauce

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbs sweet pickle relish
  • 1 Tbs dill pickle relish
  • 2 Tbs chopped white onion
  • 1 Tbs chopped capers
  • 2 Tbs lemon juice
  • 1 tsp chopped dill weed (optional)
  • dash of Tabasco

All the ingredients are 'to-taste', but this is a good starting point. Mix all of the ingredients in a glass bowl. Cover and refrigerate for at least a couple of hours. It can be used immediately, but its best if kept refrigerated over night.

Hint: Use lemon juice to adjust the consistency to your taste.

When I was growing up, I prided myself for being the family 'Saucier'. I was in charge of preparing all of the sauces. I could 'eye-ball' the measurements, and I never needed a measuring spoon.

Making a good tartar sauce is an art. The ingredients are simple, but knowing how to get just the right consistency takes a little time and practice. Sometimes I would make it thick, if it was going to be used to dip fried oysters, for example. Other times I would thin it out a bit, if it was going to be used on a flounder po-poy. I think you'll find that this simple recipe tastes as good, or better than most store-bought tartar sauces.

Enjoy!
KT

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Cajun Fried Choupique Fish Cakes

Choupique [source: Wikipedia]
The choupique (pronounced shoe-pick) is a living fossil like the garfish and exhibits many of the same characteristics of garfish. It, too, has developed natural skills as a predator fish and has the ability to quickly adapt to harsh environmental conditions without evolving (see How to Cook Garfish).

Other names for this fish include bowfin, grinnel, beaver fish, mudfish and dogfish.

Choupique can be found throughout the North American southern states in canals, sloughs, ponds, creeks, bayous, oxbow lakes and slow-moving backwaters. Like the garfish, it comes equipped with an inner air bladder and can stay alive, out of the water, longer than most other types of fish. Even in low-oxygen conditions the choupique fish will come up to the surface for air. Fossil remains of this ancient predator fish date back to 180 million years.

[Source]
Choupique Caviar

Unlike garfish, however, its eggs (roe) are not poisonous to humans and other mammals. In fact, choupique caviar retails for around $100, or more, per lb. It has a sweet and mild taste. Like shrimp, it will turn to a dark pink or red color when heated. The eggs are oblong shaped--not round like sturgeon or salmon roe.

Cajun Fried Choupique Cakes

Ingredients

  • 2 - 3 lbs. choupique fillets
  • 2 - 3 lbs. baked Russet potatoes, crumbled
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 Tbsp. onion powder
  • 1 cup of chopped green onions
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 2 lemons
  • 2 measures of DIY Cajun Seasoning (or your favorite Cajun spice combo)
  • Old Bay Original seasoning (for poaching)
  • 2 cups seasoned Italian bread crumbs
  • water (for poaching)
  • peanut oil (or regular vegetable oil)


Instructions

  1. lightly sprinkle both sides of the fillets with Old Bay Original seasoning
  2. in a medium pan, add the seasoned fillets and enough water to barely cover the fish
  3. on medium heat, bring the water to a slow simmer, then lower the heat (do not boil)
  4. cover and poach the fillets until flaky, (about 10 minutes), then remove with a slotted spatula
  5. set the poached fillets aside a few minutes to drain and cool before breaking apart
  6. in a separate bowl wisp together the eggs, chopped green onions, parsley, onion powder and Cajun seasonings
  7. to this mixture add the crumbled baked potatoes and fish
  8. mix everything together thoroughly and form fish patties (about 4" in diameter)
  9. coat the patties with Italian bread crumbs
  10. add about 2 inches of peanut oil in a cast-iron skillet (or other heavy skillet)
  11. fry at 365 degrees F. for about 4 minutes on each side (until golden brown)
  12. cut lemons into several wedges to serve with the fish patties


Note: These fish cakes are wonderful when served with French fries, Peño Puppies and your favorite Cajun Tartar Sauce. Makes 8 - 12 servings.

More choupique recipes. Bon Appetit!

KT
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