March 2021 Challenge - Cajun and Creole

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Not submitted as entry for the monthly challenge.

Chicken Big Mamou

Grilled Maque Choux

Brown Rice

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I have been building a good supply of chicken scraps at work, so I thought of Big Mamou which takes a rich double stock reduced in half. I made a 4 cup yield stock and then used that stock to make another 4 cup yield stock, which I reduced down to 2 cups of finished product for using in making the sauce, which uses an equal amount of tomato sauce (2 cups).

I saved the schmaltz from making the double stock, to use as my fat for sauteing the minced mire poix and seasonings. Mincing the mire poix makes it almost dissolve into the finished sauce and along with the reduced double stock, not to mention finishing with a ¼ pound of butter, makes for a complex and multi-layered sauce that is far removed from what most people think of when they think of tomato sauce. For the chicken, I sauteed seasoned chicken thighs along with a combined cup of minced green onion and parsley. Topped with the finished sauce and simmered until done.

For the maque choux, I grilled white corn on the cob, red onions, butternut squash, and shishito peppers. Then I cut the corn off the cobs, which I saved along with all the skins and peelings from prepping the other vegies to make broth to use for cooking the brown rice. Prepped the other grilled vegies and made the maque choux, starting off with applewood bacon, then garlic, then the onions and peppers, then butternut squash, and then the corn. Used unsweetened coconut milk instead of cream and simmered until thickened and coating the vegies and finished with green onions.
 
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This really isn't considered anything traditional to Cajun or Creole. Even the term "blackening" didn't get introduced until the 1970's but this particular dish has become a popular "cajun style" dish at some of the big franchise restaurants. It does use a spice blend that is authentic to Cajun/Creole cooking with paprika, cayenne, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, black pepper, oregano, and thyme. Anyway I felt like eating this with family last night. Blackened chicken over alfredo farfalle.

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Sort of Cajun steak ;)
I started by making the spice mixture;
Thyme, oregano, onion powder, paprika powder (i used standard and smoked, pounded peppercorn and dried chili. And realised my garlic flakes had become one big clump, so left them out.
I generally leave the salt out of mixes, so I can salt to taste.
It is one of my problems with store bought spice mixtures. I like spices, so double dose, but then it is way way too salt.

Got the steak out. They call it a porterhouse here, but it has no bone and no filllet. I would call it entrecote. Still a nice piece of meat though

Seasoned steak
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I needed to do something about the missing garlic, so pounded it with some fresh chili and salt
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Slowly added olive oil to make it into alioli
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Got my braai ready and cooked the steak on high heat.
Let it rest and sliced.
Sprinkled lime juice over it and used the alioli as a board sauce
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No idea if any of it is "authentic", but it sure tasted good!
 

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Any ideas what I can use instead of celery for sauce piquante?
I don't have too many options. I could leave it out, use a little star anise or maybe some Thai basil.....????
Got no parsley, no fennel.....
 
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Any ideas what I can use instead of celery for sauce piquante?
I don't have too many options. I could leave it out, use a little star anise or maybe some Thai basil.....????
Got no parsley, no fennel.....
If you're making piquante, you could just leave out the celery. I don't think you'll notice that its missing.

However, you could substitute peppers, especially some sort of hot pepper depending on your heat preference, for the celery. You could also use cabbage, spring onion, bok choi (the white parts), swiss chard (stalks) etc.

If it were me, I would go with the hot pepper.

Cheers! :)
 
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With the pickle meat I made the other day ready to use, I did some dirty rice, along with blackened catfish.

The Players

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Catfish on top, chicken livers, pickle meat.

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And of course you got to have your trinity. Unholy trinity in this case, using red bell instead of green.

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And for the blackening seasoning: HOT cayenne, smoked paprika, hot paprika, garlic powder, black pepper, salt, sugar, allspice, onion powder and thyme.

The Process

Pickle meat gets diced.

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Chicken livers get same treatment, but chopped much finer. Trinity diced.

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Pickle meat into the pot to brown.

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When about done, trinity is added, stirred around, cooked for another 5 - 6 minutes. Then the chicken livers go in, a cup of rice and about two cups of a fresh batch of home made chicken stock, and added about a tablespoon of the blackening spices once I had them mixed.

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Brought to a boil, covered, turned the heat down and let cook for about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, melted some butter, mixed up the spices. Got the catfish well coated. Got a cast iron griddle nice and HOT.

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Didn't smoke up the kitchen too badly. Slapped it on a plate, dished up some rice.


The Product

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That is NOT a visually appealing presentation. But I "gar un tee you" it is one flavor packed meal! Hot and spicy!

mjb.

ps: I am sure a few of you are familiar with the late, great Justin Wilson and his shows.
 
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Lately we've been having some nice, warm sunny Spring weather here in Salt Lake City. Of course, now that my tasso is cured and ready to smoke, it gets cold and wet. Drat.

Maybe Tuesday, my day off, I can sneak in a smoke session, and use the tasso for the next dish. Not sure if I want to do Hoppin' John or Red Beans and rice next. But do hope to get both dishes submitted before the end of the month.

mjb.
 
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Red beans and rice sounds really good. I need to do that some time this week. I'm also a fan of dirty rice.
 
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Okay, got the tasso smoked. Let's get cookin'!!

The Players

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Three types of pork. Store bought andouille, home made pickle meat, home made tasso.

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Beans imported from Louisiana, trinity.


The Process

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Beans were brined overnight. Pickle meat diced like for the dirty rice, browned a bit before the trinity went in.

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Tasso and andouille were diced, tossed in the pot once the veggies were softened. Some of that home made chicken stock poured over. A couple of bay leaves, a couple tablespoons of that Cajun seasoning I made for the dirty rice.

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Beans were added, brought to a boil, then turned down a bit to a fairly active simmer. And cooked for a while. And a while longer. And a while longer. Finally had to go to bed to get some sleep before work, pot stashed in garage fridge, I got some sleep.

Next day beans back on stove.

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Now we're gettin' there!

Got the rice going. DId it differently that usual. I rinsed off excess starch.

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Then I sauted it in a couple tablespoons of butter for a while.

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Then added 1.5 cups water to the 1 cup rice, brought to boil, turned way down for 20 minutes. Turned off the heat, let it sit for about 20 minutes while the beans finally got tender. Time to assemble.

The Product

Fluffed the rice, into the bowl. Spooned the beans around it, a little green onion garnish.

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Wow. I've made this dish before, using bacon, salt pork, and your basic ham. I tell you and tell you true, that home made tasso just makes a real difference! I need to keep a supply of that stuff handy!

And I like the way the rice turned out.

mjb.
 

phatch

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I make the rice in a pilaf style with butter and garlic, something I picked up from Todd Wilbur's copycat of Popeye's Red Beans and Rice. At least I think that's where it was.
 
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Awesome stuff teamfat teamfat and you have the crystal hot sauce in the background! That was a lot of work from start to finish, I'm sure it was worth it!
 
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Awesome stuff teamfat teamfat and you have the crystal hot sauce in the background! That was a lot of work from start to finish, I'm sure it was worth it!

It WAS worth it! This is the best batch of red beans I have ever made! I definitely need to keep home made tasso on hand at all times now.

mjb.
 
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I harvested my ground nuts yeaterday.
Boiled them with cajun spice and salt.
I've been led to believe that boiled peanuts is a Southern thing, and with the cajun spice it should qualify ;)
I saw boiling times of 2 to 9 hours. Checked with my staff and they said 20 minutes, so that's what I did.
They came out nice. Eating them now and letting the remainder cool down in the brine
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That is definitely a thing! In fact, throughout the south in gas stations you will often find boiled peanuts for sale and they usually have a "regular" and a "cajun" so I'd say you nailed it.
 
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I mentioned earlier I was considering doing hoppin john for this challenge. But in truth, it is pretty much exactly the same as the red beans, except you use black eye peas instead of red beans.

I'll put on my thinking cap, try to come up with something more challenging, something I haven't made before. New Orleans BBQ shrimp? Oyster po boy? Gumbo? Wonder if I can buy live mudbugs ( crayfish ) in Salt Lake?

mjb.
 
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