Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Creole Cooking

Creole and Cajun cooking are a way of life in New Orleans, and they love their unique cuisine down here and if the Compagno's are to truly know this place, we needed to understand the food and its roots; so Saturday we took to the stove in order to immerse ourselves into true New Orleans food culture. If we are going to discover what being local is all about, we had better learn to cook the part, some may say a daunting task, but Tom and I say fun, we both love to cook, so this was a real treat for us.

We spent the morning at the New Orleans School of Cooking, learning to make Gumbo, Jambalaya, Bread Pudding and Pralines! All delicious, well what I ate anyway; Tom would be able to tell you about the meat aspects much better than I could, but it looked really good and he said it was spectacular! Which with me being a vegetarian, the chef, Kevin, was awesome at giving recommendations on what to add and/or change as far as making a vegetarian version of these Nola classics, you know for us crazy non-meating eating folk! I can't wait to give them a go in the kitchen!

I am including the Jambalaya recipe here that we got at the cooking school, I've had a few people ask for it; word to the wise we loosely followed it, so I would recommend adding your own flare to it, but it gives a great baseline as to the basics.


Makes 12 Serving

¼ C. oil
1 cooked chicken, cut up or de-boned
1½ lbs. sausage

2 heaping tsp. Joe’s Stuff or Creole seasoning
4 C. chopped onions
2 C. chopped celery
2 C. chopped green pepper
2 C. chopped green onions or tomatoes (optional)
1 tbsp. chopped garlic
4 C. long grain rice
5 C. stock or flavored water
For brown jambalaya: 1 – 2 tbsp. Kitchen Bouquet
For red jambalaya*: 1/4 cup paprika (*You may also use 2.5 cups stock and 2.5 cups tomato juice instead of 5 cups stock/flavored water.)

Season and brown the chicken in oil, lard or bacon drippings over medium to high heat. Add sausage to pot and sauté with chicken. Remove the chicken and sausage from pot, leaving the drippings in the pot.
Saut̩ onions, celery, green pepper and garlic in the drippings until tender. Return chicken and sausage to pot. Add stock and Creole seasoning and bring the mixture to a boil. (If using Kitchen Bouquet for brown jambalaya, add 1 Р2 tbsp. For red jambalaya, add approximately 1/4 cup paprika, stock and tomato juice.)
Add rice. Stir and return to rapid boil. Stir again and remove the pot from the heat. Cover and let the jambalaya rest for 25 minutes. Remove cover and quickly turn rice from top to bottom completely. Add green onions and chopped tomatoes if desired.

For seafood jambalaya, add cooked seafood when rice is turned.

So there it is, I highly recommend you give it try, it won't disappoint!  Bon appetit!

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