Posts Tagged ‘Cajun’
It’s not real easy to find true Andouille sausage up here in the winter wasteland. The Louisiana version is a pork, coarse-grained smoked sausage made using pork, garlic, pepper, onions, wine, and seasonings. It’s stuffed in a natural casing and smoked again. There are hundreds of sausage makers in Louisiana, and so there is a lot of variation in taste and texture, but most can be described as flavorful to the extreme. The French version (pictured below) is more coarse; when I lived in Paris, I ordered it at a local bistro, and the offal bits were clearly identifiable, which was a little bit of a put off for me. Most Americans are used to their sausages being made from a smooth slurry.
As is with the Johnsonville Andouille, a smoked pork/beef sausage made for the masses. Ingredients are Pork, beef, and less than 2% of blah blah blah including corn syrup, in a collagen casing.
I think Johnsonville’s New Orleans Spicy Smoked Sausage might be a closer match.
Anyway, I had a hankering to make gumbo today, and grabbed the Johnsonville Andouille. It didn’t add anything to my recipe, nor detract. Most people will find it to be an ordinary smoked sausage, and that’s OK under a lot of circumstances.
Johnsonville Andouille Review
Seafood & Sausage Gumbo Recipe
4 ounces vegetable oil
4 ounces all-purpose flour
1 1/2 pounds raw, whole, head-on medium-sized (16-20 count) shrimp
2 quarts water and 2 quarts more
1 cup diced onion
1/2 cup diced celery
1/2 cup diced green peppers
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1/2 cup peeled, seeded and chopped tomato
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 bay leaves
1 pound andouille or smoked sausage sausage, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1 tablespoon file powder
I fell in love with gumbo years ago, and my love affair only intensified living in New Orleans for nearly ten years. I feel the same way about gumbo as I do about pizza. There’s no such thing as a bad cup of gumbo.
If you read last week’s posts, you’ll know I was back in the Big Easy, and drove down to where the shrimp fleet parks and bought pounds and pounds of fresh shrimp right off the boat, which I toted home in an ice chest. The shrimp were very good size (about 16-20 to a pound), and very cheap compared to what I am used to paying. Fresh gulf shrimp is so much better than the frozen shrimp imported from Asia found in most supermarkets, tho my favorite of all are shrimp from off Key West, large, pink and sweet.
Arriving at home, I snapped off all the heads of the shrimp, remove shells, and dropped them in two quarters of boiling water to make the liquid base for the gumbo. This gives the ‘soup’ a lot of extra body. If you’re in a hurry or lazy, use chicken stock.
Once the broth has been reduced by half, remove from the stove and set aside.
The next component you have to deal with is the “roux” (roo) which is essentially a thickener. Here again, I vary from conventional wisdom, and take four ounces of quality vegetable oil, combined with four ounces of flour in a dutch oven and put into a 350 oven for 1 ½ hours, stirring two to three times during the cycle. The longer you cook, the darker your roux will become and thus the darker your gumbo. Some people prefer a light roux, but my preference is for a darker end product.
When the roux is done, put on low heat and add the “holy trinity” of vegetables (green pepper, onion, celery), and the garlic, stirring constantly for about ten minutes until the vegetables start to take on a clear state).
Add the tomatoes, salt, pepper, thyme, cayenne and bay leaves and stir to mix.
Drain the solids out of the shrimp broth and slowly add the liquid to the roux/vegetable mix, whisking non-stop while adding. Add another two cups of water (or stock) and stir in.
Lower the heat to low and cook for 35 minutes. Turn the heat off and add the shrimp and sausage. Add the file powder (another flavor, but also a thickener) and stir constantly while adding. Cover the pot and allow to rest for 5 – 10 minutes.
Serve in a deep bowl over a mound of rice. Enjoy.
Shrimp Gumbo Recipe
(From our travel archives) I am embarrassed to say I don’t know the origin of these Cajun nicknames. Actually, they are pretty common surnames in Acadiana, but over the years, they have taken on a comical quality when used as given names, akin to “Sven and Ole” in the Upper Midwest, “Pat & Mike” in the Northeast, and I am sure (while unaware of such) similar monikers in other regions of the country. (You can help me out by posting some YOU know in the forum!)
I found this diner by accident one day, nearly a year ago, cutting across the back roads from Lafayette to New Orleans, and going way out of the way. I had stopped that day in New Iberia at Avery Island, ended up spending the night in Morgan City, where the call of the “Rig Museum” (“The Only Place In the World Where the General Public Can Walk Aboard an Authentic Offshore Drilling Platform”) (and that’s a story in itself, as is, apparently, my fondness for repeatedly placing statements in parenthesis!) proved too tempting to pass up.
Exhausted from climbing around “Mr. Charlie” (the rig)(pictured at right), I settled in for the night at one of Morgan City’s finer motels (I am lying = NONE of them would fall under the category of “fine”), and the next morning, zipped across the back roads of the Parish, taking in the sun and magnificent sounds and smells of the bayous, before finding myself in the parking lot of Boudreau & Thibodeau’s in Houma. It was time for breakfast, and visions of charred andouille and eggs were dancing thru my head.
I remembered that the experience was satisfactory, and so, when a friend and I decided to head out to the hinterlands for a non-“A list” kind of dining experience, we first contemplated hitting the North Shore, but decided instead to head for Houma, as she had a craving for what she calls “the world’s best bloody mary,” which is apparently only available at Frank’s Bar in Paradis.
(Actually, to her, EVERY bloody mary is the world’s best!).
A few of those under our belt, it was on into B&T’s for a Saturday night ‘genn-u-whine’ Cajun dinner.
Getting there didn’t happen without some difficulty en route. Being a “typical guy,” of course I am smarter than the highway signs, and took off cross-country to get there. A couple of hours later, several u-turns, and a less than scenic drive down Houma’s ten mile long Main Street (which isn’t named Main), we finally arrived, and were in the appropriately “famished mode” that suits being at B&T’s for good ol’ country eats!
B&T’s dispenses Cajun humor with their food and drink; the walls of the café and the menu are riddled with typical Cajun jokes:
“Why did the chicken cross the road? To prove to the armadillo it could be done.”
“Boudreau call ‘dat fire station one day to report a fire. ‘’Dat dispatcher axed him first of al, Mr. Boudreau, how do we get there? Boudreau ‘tink a minute and ‘den he tell him, “Mais, don’t you sill have ‘dat big red truck?”
The menu is lengthy, and categories include:
Jis Gittin’ Started Fixin’s
Gumbo N Greens
Big an Bigga Burgers
Pick Y’Own Platter
Clotile’s Cajun Cookin’ Specialties
Hot Boiled Seafood
Wet Yer Whistle
Gimme Sum Suga Desserts
Daily Specials, and of course
B&T’s is a place where you can get “down to earth” food, not much of that available that I have seen here in the city. Offerings that would fall into that category, in my opinion, would include Rabbit Stew, Smothered Turtle or Gator, Frog Legs, and even Crawfish Crepes with a Crawfish Cream Sauce.
Tempting as it was to go for “Boudreau’s Breakfast,” which included 2 eggs, 2 bacon, 1 sausage patty, jam, hash browns or grits, 3 flapjacks, 2 toast, and warnings about artery maladies, I opted for a “Pick Y’own Platter,” as it seemed to be the local preference, judging from both the quantities being served and the average size of the clientele. At around five dollars, you can’t beat a breakfast like this, and the drive down will take you slightly less time than waiting in line at your usual uptown breakfast eatery.
Suppa’s and platters include your choice of tossed salad or slaw, baked, mashed or French fries, rice and gravy, dirty rice, potato salad, onion rings, white or red beans and rice, seasoned boiled potatoes, corn or pasta, and toast.
You can choose from two or three entrees to come on your platter, and I opted for the boiled shrimp and catfish, and both were more than ordinary. Quantities are so plentiful that two could share this platter, but at only ten bucks, why?
My companion opted for two pounds of boiled crawdads, and pronounced them delightful.
I washed mine down with homemade fresh squeezed lemonade, which is served in a one-quart mason jar.
Tables are bare except for rolls of paper towels to act as napkins (you’ll need plenty for the boiled platters), and copious amounts of hot sauce and Cajun seasoning choices.
If you’ve left some room, check out their Turtle Sundae on the Half Shell, vanilla ice cream atop a beignet, topped with caramel, pecans and chocolate chips, or their fresh baked gingerbread cake.
Beer and wine is served, altho the wine choices come in 8 oz screw cap bottles, and beer, soft drinks or sweet tea are probably the preferred quaffs for cuisine of this nature.
Service is fast, friendly, and efficient, and two can easily escape with a check of around twenty bucks.
If you’ve a mind to “vacation near home,” and “discover Louisiana,” Boudreau and Thibodeau’s is a damn fine place to start!
Boudreau’s and Thibodeau’s, 5602 West Main, Houma, 872-4711, Open 24/7