Jan/Feb
2015

Get Your Cajun On: Classic Louisiana favorites to spice up your winter

Written by Dawn Sanborn, Photography By Dawn Sanborn Photography
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This Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday), celebrate by introducing your friends to these classic Louisiana favorites. Easy-to-make, spicy Jambalaya can warm up any winter day in Minnesota. Serve it alongside an Oyster Po’ Boy, a legendary New Orleans sandwich that’s big on flavor. Then satisfy that sweet tooth with light and fluffy, sugar-dusted beignets. The Lost Cajun, one of Rochester’s newest restaurants, graciously provided their recipe for this classic New Orleans treat.

Jambalaya

  • 1 pound andouille sausage, sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thigh meat, cubed
  • 2 small onions, diced
  • 1 medium bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh garlic, minced
  • 4 Tbsp. Old Bay Seasoning, divided
  • 1 Tbsp. Creole seasoning
  • ½ Tbsp. ground black pepper
  • ½ Tbsp. white pepper
  • ½ Tbsp. red pepper
  • ¾ Tbsp. thyme leaves
  • 3 or 4 medium bay leaves
  • 5 cups chicken stock
  • 12-oz. beer
  • 1 lb. or 2 ½ cups long grain rice

Season chicken thighs generously with 2-3 Tbsp. Old Bay Seasoning. Refrigerate overnight. Brown the andouille sausage in a large pot. Set aside. Brown the chicken in the sausage drippings. Add oil, if needed. Set aside. Saute onions and bell peppers, adding oil, if needed. Add red, black and white peppers to mixture and cook until veggies are translucent, about 5-7 minutes over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook for another minute stirring and scraping bottom of pot. Stir in the remaining Old Bay Seasoning, Creole seasoning, thyme and bay leaves. Stir in chicken and sausage. Cover and cook over low heat for 10 minutes. This will give the seasonings time to release their oils and flavors. 

Deglaze pan with beer, stirring about 2 minutes. Add the stock and bring to a boil. Fold in rice. Return to a slow boil and cook uncovered for about 5 minutes, stirring and scraping pan bottom so rice does not stick. Reduce heat to the lowest possible setting and simmer, covered, for at least 30-35 minutes or until rice is tender. Do not remove the cover while the rice is steaming. When rice is done, turn off heat and let stand till liquid is absorbed. Remove bay leaves. Serves 6.

Note: Don’t limit yourself to just chicken and sausage. Jambalaya is a versatile dish! Feel free to add other meats, such as shrimp, other sausages or ham.

Oyster Po’boy With Remoulade Sauce

For the remoulade:

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp. sweet paprika
  • 1–2 tsp. Cajun or Creole seasoning
  • 1 tsp. pickle juice (dill or sweet, your preference)
  • 1 tsp. hot sauce
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced 
  • Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl or with a food processor. Leave for 4-6 hours before serving. Keep refrigerated. Makes about 1 cup.

For the po’boy: 

  • 1 large loaf of crusty French bread, cut into 4 equal pieces and sliced lengthwise
  • Olive oil cooking spray
  • ½ cup flour
  • 1 ½ cups seasoned breadcrumbs or cornmeal
  • 1 Tbsp. Creole seasoning
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 lb. large oysters
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ cup oil (for frying)

Brush the insides of the rolls with olive oil or cooking spray. Grill them over high heat or toast in an oven, preheated to 400°F. Set aside. Mix the flour and breadcrumbs or cornmeal in a bowl and season with salt and Creole seasoning. Whisk the eggs in a shallow dish. Dip each oyster in the egg, then sprinkle with flour mixture and set on a plate.

Heat oil in a large skillet. Fry oysters in hot oil for 7 to 8 minutes, turning once, until both sides are golden. Transfer oysters to paper towels. 

To assemble the sandwiches, spread the inside of each piece of bread with 1 Tbsp. of remoulade. Distribute the fried oysters evenly. Add some lettuce and tomato and top with more remoulade sauce. Serves 4.

Beignets

Courtesy of The Lost Cajun Restaurant, Rochester

  • 1 egg
  • ¾ cup lukewarm water
  • 1 Tbsp. yeast or 1 packet instant dry yeast
  • 3 tsp. oil
  • ⅛ cup sugar
  • ½ cup evaporated milk
  • 4–4 ½ cups flour
  • 2 Tbsp. baking powder
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • Lots of powdered sugar

Whisk together flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside. Mix yeast with lukewarm water in stand mixer. Add all other ingredients and mix. Add 3 cups of flour mixture and mix thoroughly. Add additional flour mixture until dough pulls away from bowl but is not sticky. Do not over mix. (You may refrigerate dough up to 24 hours. Allow dough to rest at room temperature before frying.)

Preheat oil in a deep fryer to 350°F. Roll the dough out to about ¼-inch thickness and cut into 3-inch squares. Deep-fry, flipping constantly, until golden in color. Drain for a few seconds on paper towels, then sprinkle generously with powdered sugar. Serve hot. Makes about 10 beignets.

 

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