Welcome to Real Cajun Cooking - Pure and Simple

RealCajunCooking.com 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 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, videos and humorous anecdotes to entertain. So enjoy! Don't forget to tell all of your family and friends about Real Cajun Cooking.

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Black-eyed Peas and Cabbage

Black-eyed Peas


Black-eyed Peas & Cabbage
  • 1 lb. dried black-eyed peas
  • 2 slices of hickory smoked bacon
  • 2 Tbsp onions, minced
  • 2 Tbsp bell pepper, minced
  • 1 tsp garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp Colgin liquid smoke
  • Water
  • Salt and pepper to taste.

As is the case with thousands of other families across America, I also take part in the annual tradition of cooking-up a mess of black-eyed peas and cabbage in an effort to increase my luck for the coming New Year. Heaven knows we are gonna need all we can muster up. (Okay. Stop ... no politics! Moving on.)

Contrary to popular belief, black-eyed peas don't have to be soaked overnight or for any significant period of time because the peas have a thin skin and are relatively easy to cook.

Over medium (or lower) heat, black-eyed peas can be done in just a few minutes. It's the pot liquor that makes all the difference in how your peas will taste, however.

Think 'minced' and not 'chopped' when it comes to your vegetables. A couple tablespoons of minced onions and bell pepper - and about 1 teaspoon of minced garlic sautéed in the fat from a couple slices of smoked bacon creates a wonderful flavor and delicious taste. And, you can salt and pepper to your own liking.

Using a 2 quart pot begin by adding just enough water to cover the peas and sautéed vegetables by about an inch,  (or by a finger and a half as we say in Cajun speak),  and begin the slow process of cooking them to perfection, while stirring occasionally (around 1 - 1 1/2 hrs.). Keep an eye on the peas because you may have to add a little more water occasionally as they absorb and cook.You will know when they become tender enough by taste-testing.

Set them aside until the boiled cabbage is done.

A pound of dried black-eyed peas, when cooked, should yield between 5 and 6 cups.



  • 1 head of cabbage, leaves separated
  • 3 or 4 pork chops
  • 2 Tbsp oil
  • 1 Tbsp Colgin liquid smoke (hickory)
  • 1 measure DIY Cajun Seasoning
  • Additional salt and pepper (if desired) 

Cooking cabbage (boiled) is also easy to do and the way I prepare my cabbage, by popular demand I might add, is to include 3 or 4 pork chops with it. This is how I prepare my boiled cabbage.

The first thing I do is season the heck out of the pork chops with one measure of DIY Cajun Seasoning (easy to make - check it out), and fry them up in my cast-iron skillet on medium-high heat in a couple tablespoons of oil.

I fry the chops for a couple minutes on both sides until they are well browned, but I don't cook them all the way because they will finish cooking with the slow-boiling cabbage.

The next thing I do is get my kitchen shears and cut-up the chops into bite-size pieces and add this to the boiling cabbage.

If you are using a heavy cast-iron skillet, chances are in your favor that a crust will form at the bottom of the skillet (it usually does when you cook meat fast on high heat).This is a good thing.

We Cajuns call this crusty material the 'gratin' - which is commonly used to complement and enhance the flavor of various meat gravies.

Here's a little secret: keep the skillet hot but add in about 2 or 3 ice cubes and stir them around the skillet and they will magically loosen the crust (or 'gratin') and will produce a savory bouillon that you can add to the cabbage mixture to enhance the overall flavor.

Once you have liquefied the crust and added it to the stock pot along with the cabbage leaves and cut-up pork chops, you just go about your business of boiling cabbage like you always have (low and slow).  Adding a little salt and black pepper always helps.

I like to also include a tablespoon of Colgin liquid smoke (hickory flavor) and not that other brand. Keep mixing and tumbling the cabbage leaves in the pot occasionally so they don't burn. The only difference with cooking cabbage this way instead of the traditional way is that you now have a delicious pot liquor and a few bites of meat to go with your good luck food.

See there! Your luck's already changing.

I hope you like this great recipe for the coming New Year.

Catch ya later.

Bon Appetit! ... and a happy New Year! Ahheee!!
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Smoked Turkey Breast

  • 2 cups non-iodized sea salt
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp ground thyme
  • 1 Tbsp rubbed sage
  • 1 Tsp black pepper
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 fresh turkey breast, apx 2.5 lbs
  • 2 gallons non-chlorinated water
  • good oak, hickory, or apple-wood charcoal
  • indirect heat outdoor smoker

  1. Add water plus dry ingredients to container and mix well
  2. add turkey breast to liquid and put into fridge
  3. soak in fridge for about 1 1/2 hours (approximately 30 min per pound of turkey)
  4. add charcoal to smoker, and bring up to steady 250 degrees
  5. place turkey breast in center of the smoker, and shut the lid
  6. turkey should cook for apx 45 minutes per pound, or until internal temperature is 170 degrees.
  7. remove turkey breast from smoker, and let it rest for at least 15 minutes
  8. remove the skin, and slice it any way you want

There's nothing like home-smoked turkey breast.  Using this method, it will come out tender, moist and delicious.  Serve it with all the fixins, or just slice it up and have a terrific turkey sandwich.  Enjoy!

3-Meat Cajun Cornbread Dressing

This 3-Meat Cajun Cornbread Dressing is more than just a dressing. It can become an entire meal in itself.


  • 1 lb. pork steak, chopped
  • 1 lb. ground beef, lean
  • 1 lb. chicken livers, boiled and pureed
  • 6 - 8 med. onions, chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 cup green onions, chopped
  • 5 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 pkg Lipton Beefy Onion soup mix
  • 20 oz. chicken broth
  • 3/4 lb. butter
  • 4 boxes Jiffy cornbread (cooked)
  • 1 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
  • Tony Chachere's Original Creole seasoning (to taste)

Bake cornbread and set aside. You will need at least 8 cups. The more cornbread you add to this recipe, the less soupy it will become. If the mixture is too soupy, either add more cornbread or increase the oven baking time until you have obtained the desired texture.

Boil the chicken livers using just enough water to cover them. You can add a teaspoon of Tony's seasoning to give it a good taste. Mash the livers, (puree is better), and set aside for later use. Using some of the butter, brown the other two meats. Add the rest of the butter in a stock pot and saute' all of the vegetables except the garlic and green onions. (Garlic and green onions should be added to prepared foods toward the end of the cooking process.)

When the vegetables have cooked down a bit add all the meats, include the water from the boiled livers and the chicken broth; mix well. Simmer for 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Add a small amount of water at the time, if needed, to maintain a thick soupy consistency. Thirty minutes before the meat/vegetable mixture is cooked, add the minced garlic, green onions, Lipton Onion Soup mix and Worcestershire sauce.

When that is done, add the cornbread to the meat/vegetables and mix well. Place all the mixed ingredients in a large baking pan (12" x 14"). Bake at 350 degrees F. for 30 minutes, or until the desired texture is reached. 16 servings. This can be a stand-alone food or a side-dish which greatly compliments any holiday main entries, i.e., baked or deep fried turkey, as safe turkey stuffing, pork roasts, beef roasts, baked ham, outdoor barbecues, etc.

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Smothered Okra - No Tomatoes

Okra Plant
It may be a tongue twister to quickly repeat the words "southern smothered" five times, but the smothered okra produced from this recipe is very pleasing to the palate--especially when prepared the old-fashioned way--Cajun style, and without tomatoes.

San les tomates is a French expression which means "minus the tomatoes".

Tomatoes and green peppers are acidic and they work to obscure the incredible natural flavors of the okra pods. They also weaken the nutritional benefits that this versatile vegetable provides. The cooking method for smothered okra is uncomplicated and painless, as I shall demonstrate.


Smothered Okra
  • 8 cups sliced okra (1 1/2 lbs.)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 slices of smoked bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • dripping from 2 slices of cooked smoked bacon
  • 1 medium white onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp. garlic
  • salt and black or white pepper to taste


Using medium heat, add the vegetable oil and bacon drippings into a large skillet (use a stainless or aluminum skillet to maintain the okra's greenish color, a cast-iron skillet will produce a darker meal--still okay, though)

When the oil heats-up and begins to smoke, add the remaining ingredients and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the mucilage (slime) disappears (20 - 30 minutes).

Constantly stirring the cut okra is very important if you want to keep it from sticking to the bottom of the skillet. Bon appetite!

Tomatoes and Cajun Cuisine

It was after Spain colonized Louisiana in 1763 when the value of tomatoes in Cajun-prepared foods became fashionable.

The Spanish colonists distributed tomato seeds among the settlements. The humble tomato was easy to grow and began to flourish in the rich soils of the Mississippi Delta. It became popular among the African slaves, Native Americans, Creoles, as well as the Acadian settlers, who began using the vegetable/fruit in a variety of prepared meals.

Louisiana’s history is colorful, to say the least. During the historical struggles of the New World, in less than 100 years, she succumbed to the empirical powers of France, Spain and the United States of America, which inevitably produced an overlapping of cultures.

It is reasonable to believe that there was a willing exchange of knowledge and skills about cooking and preserving foods among the New World settlers. We see evidence of this between Creole and Cajun styles of cooking. (Courtbouillion is one example)

The first Acadians did not (could not) grow these and other tropical and sub-tropical plants in the Canadian Maritimes. Nova Scotia's climate made it next to impossible to plant and gather many of the plant foods which are now considered part of Cajun cuisine.
Peppers and tomatoes, for example, need a warm climate to become fruitful and therefore could not be grown successfully in that region (Hardiness Zone 6b). It is also safe to assume that there were no seeds available in that region at the time.
It was not until much later, when the Acadians migrated to south Louisiana, when they began using tomatoes and peppers in their prepared foods. These add-in ingredients were never part of the original recipes, however.

Interesting Facts about Okra Plants
For thousands of years Africans have used okra as a valued food source and medication to treat a variety of ailments.
The plant may have originated in East Africa where it grew wild in the highlands of Ethiopia and it was cultivated along the Nile River Valley in Egypt. From there it made its way to the four corners of the world via traders.
Queen Cleopatra used the okra seed pods for food, and the mucilage as skin nourishment. Some speculate that was how she attained her radiant beauty.

It is a miracle the beauty and cosmetics industries are not all over this.

It is understandable that with some folks the slime in okra is a turn-off. It may conjure-up visions of gooey monsters in those old flix like The Blob and Ghost Hunters. Nevertheless, according to the USDA, the benefits of okra are worth noting.

Raw Okra

Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
129 kJ (31 kcal)
7.03 g
- Sugars
1.20 g
- Dietary fiber
3.2 g
0.10 g
2.00 g
90.17 g
Percentages are relative to US recommendations for adults.Source: USDA Nutrient database

Health Benefits of Okra
  1. The superior fiber found in okra helps to stabilize the blood sugar by curbing the rate at which sugar is absorbed from the intestinal tract.
  2. Okra's mucilage (the gooey/slime) binds cholesterol and bile acid carrying toxins dumped into it by the filtering liver.
  3. Okra helps lubricate the large intestines due to its bulk laxative qualities. The okra fiber absorbs water and ensures bulk in stools. This helps prevent and improve constipation. Unlike harsh wheat bran, which can irritate or injure the intestinal tract, okra's mucilage soothes, and okra facilitates elimination more comfortably by its slippery characteristic. Okra binds excess cholesterol and toxins (in bile acids). These, if not evacuated, will cause numerous health problems. Okra also assures easy passage out of waste from the body. Okra is completely non-toxic, non-habit forming has no adverse side effects, is full of nutrients, and is economically within reach of most individuals, unlike over-the-counter drugs.
  4. Okra fiber is excellent for feeding the good bacteria (probiotics). This contributes to the health of the intestinal tract.
  5. Okra is a supreme vegetable for those feeling weak, exhausted, and suffering from depression.
  6. Okra is used for healing ulcers and to keep joints limber. It helps to neutralize acids, being very alkaline and provides a temporary protective coating for the digestive tract.
  7. Okra treats lung inflammation, sore throat, and irritable bowel syndrome.
  8. Okra has been used successfully in experimental blood plasma replacements.
  9. Okra is good for summer heat treatment.
  10. Okra is good for constipation.
  11. Okra is good in normalizing the blood sugar and cholesterol level.
  12. Okra is good for asthma. Okra's vitamin C is an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, which curtail the development of asthma symptoms.
  13. Okra is good for atherosclerosis.
  14. Okra is believed to protect some forms of cancer expansion, especially colorectal cancer.
  15. Eating okra helps to support the structure of capillaries.
  16. Some information shows that eating okra lowers the risk of cataracts.
  17. Okra is good for preventing diabetes.
  18. Okra protects you from pimples and maintains smooth and beautiful skin. We understand the reason why Cleopatra and Yang Guifei loved to eat okra.
There are other medicinal uses of okra, like its protection against trans fats.

Okra is easy to grow anywhere during the summer season in cold countries and throughout the year in tropical areas. You can even plant it in a container garden at the terrace in condominium buildings. 
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Baked Shrimp with Lemon-Garlic Butter

This Baked Shrimp with Lemon-Garlic Butter recipe is so simple to prepare and VERY delicious, too... especially when using Wild White Gulf of Mexico Shrimp, which are known worldwide for their sweet and succulent flavor.

16/20 Count Wild White Gulf of Mexico Shrimp
I prefer to use a regular cookie tray like a Wilton 15.25" x 10.25" x  1" when preparing this Cajun favorite. It's a perfect pan because it can hold enough cooked shrimp to serve more than just a couple folks at a dinner party (unless, of course, you invite one of my Cajun relatives).

Try it next time when you get the chance. If you are a shrimp lover like me, I know you will absolutely love this delicacy.

Just recently I purchased several pounds of the 16/20 count Wild White Gulf of Mexico Shrimp from my supplier, CajunGrocer, in Lafayette, Louisiana. I am here to tell you cher, that they are the best that money can buy and you don't have to spend a fortune to buy 'em.

Most of the time I try to order my gulf white shrimp with the heads on because believe or not, they are less expensive with the heads on, and I get a much bigger bang for my buck because I use the heads to make a broth, which I then include in special meals like seafood gumbo. It's excellent for other dishes, too -- like etouffee, piquant, and jambalaya.

I also use shrimp broth in some batter/coating recipes for frying catfish nuggets, oysters, and other seafood. When I am finished boiling and extracting all of the flavors from the heads, I bury them in my garden to feed my vegetables. Nothing wasted! It becomes an excellent fertilizer. Everything has been recycled. And, that's good.

One other thing... the larger the better. When I can get the 9-12 count of gulf whites, I get even more use from the shrimp heads because they are large enough, at that size, to contain a fair amount of meat.

I like to call it the rib-eye of large shrimp. Just pry apart the top portion of the heads from the bottom, clip the legs off with kitchen shears, wash under cool running water, dredge them in your favorite tempura batter and deep-fry at 365 degrees F. for about 3 minutes. It tastes amazingly like freshly fried soft shell crab.

If you would like to take a gander at the latest prices on Gulf of Mexico Wild White Shrimp you can visit my favorite supplier by using this link: Cajun Grocer.

Tell them that RealCajunCooking.com/ sent you.

It takes just 2 or 3 days [ground] to get your order delivered to your door. The shipping rates are reasonable. Your shipment is packed in dry ice and these extra-large shrimp are individually quick frozen (IQF) -- which means you can remove as many as you want individually, without having to thaw the entire bag.

It takes about 20 minutes, or so, for IQF shrimp to thaw out. Use cool water. Once they are thoroughly thawed remove the heads from the body and make your shrimp broth before discarding the heads.

The amount of water that you use will determine the strength of the broth.  I also like to add the shrimp shells to my broth preparation because it offers even more overall flavor.

Note: You may want to use just a tiny bit of salt when preparing the broth to help extract the flavors from the heads and shells, but not too much if you plan to use the discarded refuse as fertilizer for your vegetable garden.

Adding too much salt in the preparation of the broth will affect the soil and consequently the growth of your garden plants if you decide to use it as fertilizer.

If you have any questions please leave them in the comment section below and I will be glad to answer them.


  • 2 lbs. of 16/20 count Wild White Gulf of Mexico Shrimp, peeled, deveined and butterflied to the tail (leave tails on)
  • 1/4 lb. melted butter (or 1 stick)
  • 1/4 cup dried oregano or Italian seasoning (your choice)
  • 1 large lemon, squeeze the juice out for later use then cut into thin slices
  • 2 tsp. of Old Bay with Garlic & Herb Seasoning 
  • 1 tsp. salt

  1.     combine the melted butter. lemon juice and seasoning into a 2-quart bowl
  2.     whisk all of the ingredients well for a few seconds
  3.     add the peeled shrimp and mix together gently and coating thoroughly
  4.     top the cookie tray with heavy duty aluminum foil
  5.     layer the top of the foil evenly with lemon slices
  6.     add the shrimp on top of the lemon slices until the entire tray is filled
  7.     place tray midway in a  preheated 350-degree oven and cook for 12 -15 min.
Voila!  Simple and delicious! An excellent hors d'oeuvres for your lucky guests.

Bon appetite!... Ummm... C'est Magnifique!
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Baked Jalapenos|Bacon-Draped Stuffed Pepper Poppers

Baked Jalapeno Pepper Poppers make a great snack for almost any occasion.

Mammoth jalapeño peppers; ground beef and pork; cream cheese, thinly sliced hickory-smoked bacon and a 350° F oven are what's required to produce these wonderfully tasting cheese-filled hot pepper poppers.

I am always on the look-out for the large jalapeño peppers at my the local market but this year I decided to grow some myself in my herb garden so I can have plenty at hand at a moment's notice.

That is what it takes to make up a batch of these baked peppers. If hot tasting food is part of your dietary indulgences, then you will certainly be pleased when you bite into one of these spicy-hot appetizers--guaranteed to open up the sinuses.


  • 12 large jalapeño peppers, cut in half lengthwise
  • 1 lb. breakfast pork sausage
  • 1 lb. lean ground beef
  • 1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese
  • hickory-smoked bacon, thinly sliced


  1. cut the peppers in half and remove seeds and inside ribs
  2. brown the two types of meat together and remove any oil
  3. mix meats and cream cheese together until well blended
  4. stuff each pepper half, slightly bulging
  5. stretch and drape bacon slices over peppers
  6. arrange the pepper halves (face up) in rows on a cookie sheet
  7. bake at 350° F for about 30 minutes (until bacon turns crispy)

Note: In the prep stage, cut the bacon slices into 3 equal lengths. Gently stretch the cut bacon in all directions before draping it over the peppers. This means you should have enough with 8 slices of bacon to cover all of the appetizers.

When the peppers are done you may serve immediately, or you may freeze them to use at a later date.

When you are ready for a few appetizers just pop them in the microwave oven for a minute or two until they become piping hot.

You may want to serve ice cream as a desert. (smiling).

Bon Appetit!

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Gaspard's Cajun Dirty Rice Recipe (video)

Gaspard's Cajun Dirty Rice Recipe is an easy meal to make and a very tasty side dish which goes well with barbecue, smoked or fried turkey and chicken, and is also a great stand-alone meal.


  • 1 lb. lean ground beef
  • 1/2 lb. hot breakfast sausage
  • 1 lb. long grain rice (3 cups)
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 can beef stock
  • 1 packet of Lipton's Beefy Onion soup mix
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 small bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 bunch of green onions, chopped
  • 2 sprigs of fresh chopped parsley (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste

In a large cast iron skillet begin by browning both meats over medium heat. About half-way through the browning process add the Lipton's Beefy Onion soup mix, the chopped onions and bell peppers and continue to cook (uncovered) until the vegetables have become translucent.

Next, stir-in the can of beef stock and continue cooking and stirring for about 15 minutes before adding the chopped green onions and parsley.

Finally, stir-in the cooked rice and mix well.

Serve piping hot. Makes 10 -12 servings. Enjoy! Ahheee!!
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Scary Stories | Loup Garou | Cajun Werewolf

A Haunting We Will Go. Please Don't Forget the Garlic.

The four Cajun fur trappers in this bloodcurdling story eventually found themselves trapped (like rats) in an old hunting and fishing cabin deep in the dark and foreboding swamps of south Louisiana.

The date was October 31, 1969 -- Halloween night.

Place: Indian Bayou, Louisiana.

Follow along as the unsuspecting Cajun quartet leads us on a journey of unimaginable freight as they experience, first hand, the full meaning of what it feels like to be truly terrified. Forget the popcorn, but NOT the garlic.

It was a long day and hard work running and setting rat traps for miles along the mosquito infested water's edge of the winding bayou.
It was also a few minutes before nightfall when the four trappers gathered at an old fishing camp where they planned to spend the night.
The cabin was an inheritance and now belonged to Gaspard, one of the members of the trapping party.
His deceased uncle left it to him several years earlier. The small weather-beaten shack had not been used by anyone since the old man's death.
The inside of the old fishing cabin had a tight seal to prevent mosquitoes from entering.
Old army cots,  which were still folded in place against one of the inside walls,  provided the trappers instant access when it came time to get some shut-eye.
Despite the harsh weather conditions it had experienced through the years, the old shack was still in good shape. Good enough to serve as a temporary shelter for the night.
No one wants to be caught outdoors in a south Louisiana swamp after the sun goes down.
A warped overhead sign hanged above the door of the small fishing camp.
The crooked hand-painted letters spelled, "TIDE OVER" and was almost illegible because, like the old cabin, it too had weathered many violent gulf storms over the years.
Like boats, Cajuns traditionally give their fishing camps names.
Most names have a story behind it, but no one knew why Gaspard's dead uncle gave his camp the name "TIDE OVER".
Behind the camp, catercorner to the porch, was a walk-way which jutted several feet out onto the waters of the bayou.
Gaspard's uncle had built a make-shift dock about mid-way and that was the place where the trappers safely secured their boats.
The bounty of nutria was stored in a large metal cooler near the back door.
The quartet had settled in for the night.
They had already bagged a couple dozen large rats so now it was time to pop-a-top on a few cold ones.
After skinning and tanning the animal skins, Cajun trappers would sell their hides to a French consortium who made fashion products with them.
The meat of the large rats was sold to the locals for consumption or for crawfish bait.
Soon the screened windows of the little camp were aglow and casting feeble yellow light into the labyrinthine darkness of the surrounding swamp.
Insects buzzed against the window screen and now and then a big moth would flutter there for a while before the darkness would swallow it up again.
The men made a quick meal of some catfish they had caught earlier in the day and washed it down with ice-cold beer.
Soon the lights were dimmed and the tired trappers contentedly took to their beds.
From outside, amid the comforting chirping of the crickets and katy-dids, the familiar snuffling of the raccoon and the possum could be heard.
Every now and then a little “plunk” from the still bayou water meant a fish was jumping or a frog had caught a meal.
Surrounded by the all encompassing darkness and the hypnotic symphony of sounds from the insects and bull-frogs, the trappers were soon asleep.
Baudier was the name of the first man to wake up, jolted, all of a sudden, but by what he did not know?
Blinking in the darkness, he listened. He sat up. And, he listened some more.
He heard nothing ... absolutely nothing ... not a sound. Not a cricket, not a katy-did, not a snuffle or a plunk, or a croak. He heard nothing.
“Chotin!” he whispered to the man on the cot next to him.
“Chotin! Wake up, man! Dere’s sometin’ wrong out dere!”
Chotin, a large figure of a Cajun man, slept shirtless with his pants and white shrimp boots on. Suddenly he sat up, too, and blindly gazed into the darkness toward Baudier’s voice.
“Maannn! What is wrong wid you?” Chotin droned.
“You waked me up from a good sleep, I tell you. Dis better be good!”
“Shhh!” said Baudier. “Listen!”
 Baudier looked around the small cabin until he focused on Chotin's face.
“Hear dat?”
Chotin listened, but he heard nothing.
“Hear what?” , Chotin asked with a scowl on his face.
As Chotin asked the question he became acutely aware of the dead silence outside.
He whistled in the direction of the front door using a low-pitch so as not to awaken the other men in the cabin. But, there were still no sounds coming from outside.
“Chere! Dere ain’t notin’ out dere!”
But, Tirout and Gaspard did hear Chotin's whistle and sat up too.
“Man, what yous doin’?” asked Gaspard.
“Shhhh!” came a hoarse little whisper from Tirout.
“Listen! What’s dat?”
Together they heard it. It was the sound of a thump, followed by another thump, followed by a couple of splashes ... then two more thumps.
The trappers were terrified by the approach of  the thumping sounds and were wondering where they were coming from?
Then they heard another thump, and then another, coming from the little spit of land where the traps were set. 
The splashes put the sound near the boats which had been tied-up at the dock.
Waiting, sweating, not understanding what had them so frightened, but too scared to ignore their gut, the four trappers sat petrified, in the dark, while they listened to something approach in the absolute stillness of the night.
Thump! Thump!
“Gawd!", said Baudier as he cleared his throat. When the white eyes of the other men turned on him he said, “Dat sounds like feet to me!”
Then all eyes turned toward the screened windows.
Just then came three more thumps in succession followed by the definite sound of something stepping onto the wooden porch alongside the camp.
The men had never before been so frightened in all their lives. The feeling of terror inside the little fishing camp hit a peak as a sniffing, snuffling, snorting kind of sound filled the air around them.
 SOMETHING was out there and it was SMELLING for them!
Beads of sweat broke on Baudier’s forehead and dripped down into his eyes.
He glanced at the windows which were sparsely illuminated by the moonlight as it shown down on the shack between the passing clouds high above the canopy of moss laden cypress trees - like a scene from a horror movie.
He could feel the others looking, too.
There never was any doubt as to what Baudier saw next before he passed out, because the other men saw it too!
A huge animal head slowly went past the windows. It had the head of a dog - blown-up to enormous size. They saw the creature in vivid profile against the shimmer of the full-moon.
Long dog-like ears stood straight up to hear every sound. The glassy-yellow monstrous and watery eyes that, had they turned to look inside the camp, would surely have caused the shaking Cajuns to die of fright on the spot!
Drool hung in long sinuous strings from its grisly teeth, and, perhaps worst of all, was the scraping and screeching of what could only be long nails scratching along the outside wall.
Suddenly, the creature bent down, probably to walk on all fours because the next sound was like a big dog scampering on the wooden porch planks.
The thumping led away to the rear of the camp and suddenly there came a loud metal “CLANG!” The beast had found the old cooler where the nutria were stored.
With growing terror and disgust the Cajun trappers sat in the darkness of the camp and listened while the horrible loup garou devoured every single one of the large nutria rats they had trapped in the swamp that day.
Guttural gulping and horrible cracking of skulls and bones filled the men with dread, but they dared not move so long as the loup garou was feasting.
Long moments passed that seemed like hours, then suddenly, to their horror, Baudier began to awake and he was groaning loud enough for the werewolf to hear!!
All the white eyes in the pitch-black room turned upward and each man began to pray, while Baudier continued to groan. Suddenly, the horrible eating stopped. The loup garou was listening!
They heard a limp and sad little thump. The men knew the beast had dropped a nutria to the wooden floor of the back porch. A rustling and clicking noise meant the beast had surely heard Baudier’s pitiful groaning.
Chotin, Tirout and Gaspard thought about all the things they would miss in life – boudin sausage and Miller Lite beer, bingo and deer hunting and their boats and wives – when suddenly, from out in the swamp, they heard a sound that made the hair on their bodies rise and stand straight on end!
“Aaaarooo!!” came the howl. The noises on the porch outside stopped.
Another loup garou was out in the swamp calling for its mate!
In a flash of thumps, snorting and splashes, the loup garou bounded away from the little camp, leaving the trappers in a drenched, watchful peace.
They clung together, with the revived Baudier holding on for dear life, until the pale gray light of day could be seen through the windows. Then, all together in a group, they moved toward the back door and opened it.
What greeted them was such a feast of horror that none would soon forget it!
Nothing was left of their trapped nutria except some patches of brown fur ... and some bones ... and a lot of blood.
The men moved around to inspect the area. They found huge prints, like the footprints of a large canine, all around the camp. It was Baudier who pointed out the scratches on the outside walls.
Suddenly Tirout stopped.
“Listen!” he called out in a hoarse whisper.
They listened.
Out of the silence they heard a single cry.
It was the “caw” of a lone black crow from the very top of distant cypress tree.
As they watched, the old crow spread its wings and flew away. As it did it seemed to the men, that life in the swamp might be returning to normal.
“You know what dey say, don’t you?” asked Tirout.
“Dey say that dem old gypsy women ... dey go around like big black crows and dey is the only one dat know how to get rid of the loup garou!”
The men watched the crow grow smaller in the distance - wheeling and fluttering down to be lost among the moss-shrouded trees and vines. This was a sign to them that it was safe to move on.
And this, they say in south Louisiana, is a true story of the loup garou.

I hope you enjoyed this anonymous short story entitled "A Taste for Nutria".

And, I hope he or she [the unknown author] does not mind the few embellishments I made.

I don't know if even a boat-load of garlic would have done the trappers any good, do you?

Garlic offers a variety of benefits besides culinary uses and scaring hairy monsters away.

It is a natural insect repellent which can be used on the body and garlic helps us ward off other insidious creatures which lurk inside our bodies, like parasites and harmful bacteria.

It is also claimed to help prevent heart disease (including atherosclerosis, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure) and cancer.

So, it might be a good idea to keep garlic around the house for other reasons besides warding off evil spirits and werewolves.

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Real Beef Onion Soup Mix

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

  • 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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    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.


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


    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!
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    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.


      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

      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!
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      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.

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      Mardi Gras Party Food

      "Lasser les bon temps rouler" in Cajun speak means "let the good times roll!". Let it roll this Mardi Gras season with these tasty Cajun foods:

      Seafood Gumbo
      Seafood gumbo recipes abound. There are many variations to this popular dish - some with other meats besides seafood. Here is one of my favorites - Chicken, Shrimp and Okra Gumbo ... read more

      In a heavy pot add oil, onions, celery, bell pepper and garlic. Cook uncovered over medium heat until onions are tender. ... read more

      Red Beans over Rice
      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. ... read more

      Fried Catfish Nuggets
      These spicy fried catfish nuggets are absolutely delicious! There's no doubt your friends will beg you for this recipe, but don't give it to 'em. Just send them over to Real Cajun Cooking - Pure and Simple so they can discover how to ... read more

      Oysters Shantal
      Wash oysters in cold water. Open oysters and remove top shell leaving mussel intact in lower shell. Place oysters in a baking dish and pour a little sauce over each one. Broil for 7 minutes. ... read more

      Blue-Point Crab Dip
      Cook onions, bell pepper and celery for about 5 minutes. Add mushroom soup, Worcestershire sauce, white pepper, hot sauce and crab meat. ... read more

      Boudin Balls
      This recipe is a slight departure from my original boudain recipe. I omitted the pork kidneys, pork heart and pork liver (because I couldn't purchase those particular items locally). So, without greatly compromising the original, I used the following ingredients ... read more

      Pork Cracklings 
      After trimming a pork tenderloin roast I cut up the fat (which had a small amount of meat attached to it) into 3/4 inch cubes and fried them in a #10 cast-iron skillet for about 30 minutes or so. ... read more

      Peño Puppies
      Thoroughly mix all of the ingredients except for the buttermilk. Slowly add buttermilk and stir until a thick batter is formed. ... read more

      Zesty Cajun Onion Rings
      For this recipe I always try to use someone else's beer for my batter so I don't have to use mine. And, I try to get it before she takes the first drink - if I can. No beer? Not to worry. You can use about 1/4  teaspoon of ... read more

      King Cake
      I must confess. I have never baked a King Cake, but I do eat them and they are delicious. My friend Danno at NolaCuisine.com has graciously allowed me to post his King Cake recipe here for your enjoyment. ... read more

      These are only a few ideas you can use for your Mardi Gras party. Visit our site at http://realcajuncooking.com for many more examples of Cajun foods that you can serve at your next party.

      Bon Appetit!  Ahheee!!
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      How to Boil Shrimp, Crabs or Crawfish

      Boiled Shrimp
      If you know how to boil shrimp, crabs or crayfish the way Cajuns do it, then you are in for a delicious treat. As we are heading into the 2017 harvest, get ready to impress your family and friends with this traditional method of preparing them. It's easy and fun.

      To do an exemplary job we must include the right kind of seasoning to the water in which the shrimp, crab or crayfish are to be boiled but not before purging them first using cool clean water and regular table salt, for a few minutes, in a different container. Our family and friends have regularly used a #2 galvanized washtub for that occasion.

      Boiled Crab
      The saline solution during the purging process, especially for crawfish, causes the crustaceans to regurgitate any of the pond water from which they were harvested, and the thrashing around for a few minutes while in the salt water solution helps to clean the underpart of the mudbug and crab shells and tails which will sometimes collect tiny bits of muddy or sandy residue. You may want to stir them around a bit with a broom handle or long spoon to help them along if you would like to speed up the cleaning process. This will agitate them and the water.

      Boiled Crawfish
      The basic seasonings for the boil consist of salt, ground red cayenne pepper, and black pepper (easy on the black pepper, tho). This is the secret of bringing out the flavor of boiled seafood as served by Louisiana Acadians (Cajuns). It is important to remember that these types of seafood will completely cook in a short period of time. Overcooking can cause problems with texture, taste and the ability to easily peel or clean them. So, take precautions.

      The seasonings presented herein were our own family's special blend which we used long before Zatarain's seasoning became a popular brand.
      1. bring your seasoned water to a boil in a large pot then add the shrimp, crabs or crayfish
      2. bring to a boil again and cook rapidly for 5 minutes in a large uncovered pot
      3. be sure to have enough water to cover the seafood
      4. remove from heat, cover the pot and let them set in the hot seasoned water for about 5 minutes
      5. the covered pot will retain the heat while the mud bugs, shrimp or crab cools. This allows them to absorb more of the seasoned water in which they were boiled 
      6. spread a few sheets of newspaper on a large table and evenly lay the seafood out within reach of your dinner guests
      7. don't forget to add containers around to collect the discarded shells after eating 

      Tip: Remember to boil only live crayfish or crabs. Discard any dead ones before hand. They certainly won't taste good, and they could make you sick. So, get rid of the dead ones.

      When boiling a large amount of crayfish or crabs (20 lbs. or more) you may want to add small new potatoes, small to medium size onions, hot smoked pork sausage (hot Italian sausages are the best) cut into 2-inch links, and you may even include corn on the cob. We've added eggs on occasion to add a little more stuff to the pot. Be sure to have plenty of cold beer on hand to tame the hot seasoning.

      Many Cajuns will add dry or liquid crab or shrimp boil, and a cup of oil, to make the crustaceans spicer and easier to peel.

      Our Family Crayfish Farm
       "I was seven years old when my grandfather had this crazy idea of flooding our rice fields after the harvest to produce a second crop--crawfish. Grandfather didn't even finish grade school back in the old days but it did not diminish the fact that he was an innovator, or possessed the ability to accomplish great things.

      The Gaspard Family has a claim of being the first commercial crayfish farmers in the State of Louisiana. The only challenge to that claim came from the Trahan family who resided about 12 miles away in a small one-horse town called Duson. I think Mr. Trahan copied my grandfather's successful operation, with his blessings, and they subsequently began their own crawfish farming operation.

      Back in the day, we used rudimentary harvesting methods to catch crayfish, namely; pyramid shaped henged wire nets with baits affixed in the center of the net with clothespins. Even then, each year we managed to harvest tons of the delicious mud bugs. 
      Later on, we made and used wire traps. The traps were made of  ¾ inch chicken wire formed into a cylindrical shape with a funnel opening at each end. We quadrupled our harvest and the 3/4" openings would allow the immature crayfish to escape the cages to live another day while the big ones remained trapped inside.

      We operated our crayfish farm for nearly two decades. Most of the money earned from the farm operation was cold hard cash. This was a windfall for me because it allowed me to buy very first car (a brand new 1963 Chevrolet Super Sport) from the money I made and saved. I was 15 years old at the time.

      As word spread, people would travel from miles around just to fish our ponds. Back then we would rent the nets by the dozen, sell bait and soda to anyone who did not have their own fishing equipment. 
      I remember one time a business man came by to check out our farm. Before he knew it, we equipped him with a pair of waders, a dozen nets, a number two washtub, and a long cane pole. He fished a couple hours and walked away with about 100 pounds of crayfish. I've never in my life seen a Yankee that excited before.

      Folk would place the nets at the very end of the pole and from the levee would strategically place them about 15 feet apart... never getting their feet wet. A dozen nets would usually do the trick. If you didn't walk away with about 100 pounds in an hour, or so, it probably meant you were just playing around and not too serious about fishing.
      Back in the day we sold our crayfish for 10 cents a pound when people would harvest their own. If we caught them for you it cost 20 cents a pound.

      Later on, when I was in high school, my grandfather would give me all the proceeds from the fish farm just for managing it while he was away pursuing other interests. Some weekends I would pocket around $300 - $400. Not bad for a lanky pimple-faced teenage farm boy..

      Crayfish season would last only about 4 months until it was time to plow up the fields and prepare for the next rice harvest. This is when I would go down to the coast to catch shrimp and crab. I used a throw net to catch shrimp and nylon string with chicken necks tied to the end of it to catch crabs. We always had a freezer full of seafood. Those were the good old days."

      Bon Appetite!
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