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Joyeux Noël! Cajun Christmas Cooking

Nov 21, 2017 06:06PM ● By News Desk

Joyeux Noël! 

In Acadiana, eating well means living well, especially during the holiday season. Essential ingredients for traditional Cajun Holiday favorites include Family, Faith, and Laughter. This Christmas, bake in heartfelt memories that nourish the soul long after the season has passed. Make new memories with a few of our favorite classic and not so classic recipes.

Bon Appetit!

Big John's Chicken and Sausage Gumbo (On Da Quick)

This is a great recipe. It’s quick and easy to make. We’re using pre-made (store bought) dark roux for this gumbo. It saves time, and unless you’re in a cooking competition, nobody is going to know the difference. I recommend buying your chicken pre-cut and de-boned. Most local grocery stores will do this for a small charge.

Ingredients Serves about 6 to 8

3-5 lbs. (deboned - skinless) Chicken thighs and/or breasts
1 Jar of Dark Roux

Salt, Black Pepper and Cayenne
1 1/2 cups chopped white or yellow onions
1/2 cup chopped green bell peppers
10 -12 cups Chicken broth
1-2 lbs. smoked Pork sausage, sliced into 1/4-inch slices
4 tablespoons finely chopped green onion tops (shallots), to be added 10 minutes before serving.
Filé powder (optional)
4-5 cups of cooked rice

Now You Cookin’

In a large, heavy Dutch oven, or a black cast-iron pot, add 4 quarts of water and bring to a slow, light boil. Add 4 heaping tablespoons of roux to the water. As the water temperature continues rising and reaches a rolling boil, add 1 tablespoon of salt, the chopped onions, and bell peppers, stirring often. Let boil for 15-20 minutes, or until the roux has dissolved and the onions have softened. While waiting on your boiling water, generously season the chicken with salt, black pepper, and a dash or two of cayenne. If you have not done so already, this would be a good time to start cooking your rice. After the water has finished boiling for 20 minutes, add the chicken broth, chicken, and sausage, stirring occasionally until the gumbo again comes to a boil. Let boil another 30-45 minutes (minimum), or until the chicken is tender, occasionally stirring. With a teaspoon, sample the gumbo broth, and add more seasoning if desired. Depending on how thick you like your gumbo, you may want to add additional chicken broth or water.                

When ready, serve your gumbo into deep soup bowls over steamed rice. Make sure you put the filé powder on the table so your guests can season according to their own taste. Enjoy!

Lache Pas La Patate Salade Homemade Potato Salad

Regardless of the season, no holiday meal is complete without homemade potato salad.

Each region and every family has its own rendition of this timeless dish. Below is our beloved Cajun take on grand-mère’s potato salad - with just a little kick thrown in for those who prefer their dishes on the spicy side.

Ingredients Serves about 10

3-4 lbs. red potatoes, scrubbed
8 hard-boiled eggs, coarsely chopped

Homemade mayonnaise

Boil the potatoes in lightly salted water until fork-tender. Drain and cool. Peel the potatoes and coarsely chop. Now, make your mayonnaise. 

1 egg
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 cup vegetable oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Pinch of sugar
Hot sauce

Blend the egg and the lemon juice in a food processor or blender for 15 seconds. With the processor or blender running, gradually pour in the oil through the feed tube. The mixture will thicken. Add salt, pepper, sugar and hot sauce, and pulse to blend. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour before using.

NOTE: Because the mayonnaise is made with a raw egg, chill immediately and use within 24 hours.

Once you made your mayonnaise, combine the potatoes and eggs in a large serving bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Add the mayonnaise and your favorite condiments, and toss gently. You don’t want to break the potatoes. Below are ideas for garnishes you may wish to add to top off the best potato salad you ever put in your mouth - besides your mama’s recipe.

1/4 cup minced celery
1/4 cup finely chopped green onions
2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley

Beulah’s Slacker Corn Grits

Several Acadiana restaurants have made corn grits extremely popular over the past few years. This versatile dish makes an excellent side for a variety of poultry, pork, beef, and seafood entrees, and is perfect to serve at any time, whether breakfast, lunch or dinner. However, making corn grits at home can be a real pain. Luckily, we’ve found a surefire recipe that will knock your socks off, and you can make it at home in 10 minutes.

Ingredients Serves 6-8

1, 24 oz. bag of “Bob’s Red Mill” Corn Grits – Polenta (Yeah, that’s the secret ingredient)
6 Cups of water
1 Teaspoon salt
3 Tablespoons butter
Optional Toppings: Cheese of choice, bacon, mushrooms or zucchini.

In a small to medium-sized non-stick pot, bring the 6 cups of water to a boil. Add salt, and gradually stir in 2 cups of Bob’s Red Mill Corn Grits. Add butter and mix well. Continue stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes, then reduce heat and simmer for another 5. Cover, and turn off heat. Top it off with your favorite cheese, bacon, or sautéed mushrooms and zucchini. So easy to make, easier to enjoy! 

Beefy Stuffed Bell Peppers

In the mood for a quick, easy and delicious meal? These beefy stuffed bell peppers are perfect for any given night, but especially delightful for a colder evening with its warm, zesty flavors and perfectly baked, self-containing bowl. With an assortment of colored bell peppers available, don't shy away from mixing and matching the oranges, reds, greens, and yellows to brighten up the dinner. The warm and cheerful colors will bring a smile to all those at the dinner table. What once could be deemed a specialty item reserved only for nights out to dinner, now can be simply and comfortably prepared in your own home in under an hour.


6 large bell peppers, assorted colors
1 lb. ground beef
½ cup chopped onion
1, 16 oz. can diced tomatoes
½ cup long grain rice (optional)
1 cup water
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (about 4 ounces)
¾ cup crispy bacon bits

Cut off the tops of green peppers; discard seeds and membranes. Chop enough of the tops to make 1/4 cup, set aside. Cook the whole green peppers, uncovered, in boiling water for about 5 minutes; invert to drain well. Sprinkle insides of the peppers lightly with salt. In a skillet, cook the ground beef, onion, and 1/4 cup chopped pepper until meat is browned and vegetables are tender. Drain excess fat, and add drained tomatoes, salt, Worcestershire, and a dash of pepper. Pour water in a separate pot, bring to boil and add rice cook until rice is soft. If needed, add more water. Add rice to beef mixture, and stir in cheese. Stuff peppers with meat mixture, and place in a 10x6x2 baking dish. Bake covered in a 350-degree oven for 30 minutes. In the last 5 minutes, add any remaining cheese to the tops of the peppers.