In Louisiana March Means Crawfish Boil Season Is Here

The month of March may best be known for the start of spring, but in Louisiana March means crawfish boil season is here.  Louisianians love to boil, peel and eat these freshwater crustaceans in quantity and quality. We do love our seafood here in the boot, and from March to June we set the tables, plan the menus, and prepare the seafood dishes around a crawfish boil.  Crawfish taste almost like lobster, with the differences between the two basically amounting to cost, size and seasoning.

Boiled-Crawfish-on-plate

Crawfish are native to the swamps and marshes of south Louisiana and farmed crawfish ponds of the Gulf Coast region.  Louisiana produces approximately 150 million pounds of crawfish annually, and also ranks as the nations number one provider of shrimp, oysters, crabs and alligator. Boiled to seasoned perfection, the crawfish boil is a weekend backyard gathering, festival or fais do-do in the making.

crawfish app

Those in the best price for crawfish in your area know you need an app for that.  The Crawfish App is a free app available on iTunes.  The app uses your device’s location or an entered address to list crawfish vendors in the area. You have the ability to view by price, reviews, or distance.

crawfish boil supplies

It’s amazing how a crustacean can create culinary excitement throughout the cities and parishes.  We love to host a crawfish boil or two or ten during the season for friends, neighbors, coworkers and family.  Fire up the pot and bring on the onions, garlic, celery, potatoes, lemons, crab boil and culinary imagination.  I’ve been to crawfish boils where the host chef adds smoked or andouille sausage, okra, carrots, cabbage and fresh mushrooms to the seasoned boil.  The flavor and the taste can be summed up in three words. C’est. Si. Bon!  Food is the language of Louisiana, and ours is a flavored speak.

Zatarains shrimp crab boil

Zatarain’s Shrimp & Crab Boil

Here’s a tip from the Places In The Home test kitchen~ add a drop of Zatarain’s liquid shrimp & crab boil to potato soup.  Delicious.

LouisianaCrawfishBoilrecipeImage

Zatarain’s® Crawfish Boil

Ingredients

3 pounds yellow onions

6 heads garlic

6 lemons, halved

1 package (73 ounces) ZATARAIN’S® Crawfish, Shrimp and Crab Boil – Complete

4 pounds small red potatoes

1 sack (35 to 40 pounds) live crawfish, cleaned

1 bunch celery, cut in bite-size pieces

¼ cup ZATARAIN’S® Concentrated Shrimp and Crab Boil

1 box ZATARAIN’S® Crawfish, Shrimp and Crab Boil – In a Bag

12 frozen half ears corn on the cob

Directions

Fill an 80-quart crawfish boiling pot with a basket 1/3 to ½ with water. Place pot on a jet-style propane burner on high heat. Add onions, garlic and lemon halves.  (You can use a small laundry bag for lemons and garlic. Or just leave the onions in the mesh bag they come in from the grocery with tags removed.)

Bring to full rolling boil. Stir in Crab Boil Complete.  Add potatoes (in their mesh bag from the grocery or a laundry bag).  Reduce heat to medium-low. Boil 20 minutes or until potatoes are fork-tender. Remove potatoes.

Return water to full rolling boil on high heat.  Add crawfish, celery, liquid Crab Boil and Crab Boil bag.  Return water to full rolling boil on high heat. Start checking doneness just before water returns to full rolling boil.  As soon as small gaps start to appear between the head and the tail on the largest crawfish, they are done.  Turn off heat.  Add frozen corn and cooked potatoes.  Let stand 15 minutes.  Remove corn and potatoes. Let crawfish stand for a minimum of 30 minutes, but 45 minutes is better. Serves: 20

To clean crawfish: Pour live crawfish into a washtub or ice chest; cover with water.  Drain.  Repeat 3 to 4 times until crawfish are clean.  Drain. Discard any dead crawfish and debris.

~Zatarain’s

Turn up the heat, the music and the good times with a crawfish boil.

cest-si-bon

Tasty Tailgating Recipes For Tailgating Times

Tasty tailgating recipes for tailgating times are on my mind.  Our favorite team is picked, we’ve rallied our friends, and the ideas for tailgating recipes are flowing.  Tailgating is a parking lot or stadium grounds pregame ritual based on the principle of celebrated camaraderie and good food and drink shared among home team friends and fans.  Tailgating sets the pregame football excitement in motion.

tailgating recipesFirst Tailgating- Adams State Grizzlies vs. Texas A&M–Commerce Lions

As fall and football season make their collective presence known, the party atmosphere is everywhere.  Selecting tailgating recipes takes time and thought.  Dishes pleasing to the masses and the pocketbook as well as ones that prove easy to prepare determine many tailgating menus, ours included.  Here’s the starting lineup of tailgating recipes for this season’s tailgating times beginning with the pass a good time crowd-pleaser, Cajun Lemonade.

cajun-lemonade

Cajun Lemonade

Ingredients

2 cups light rum

1 (12-oz.) can frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed

1 teaspoon Louisiana hot sauce

1 (1-liter) bottle club soda, chilled

Crushed ice & garnishes:  sugarcane sticks, lemon slices

Directions

Stir together first 3 ingredients. Add club soda just before serving. Serve over crushed ice. Garnish, if desired.

Southern Living 

Original_Abigail-Barnes-Paper-and-Cake-pub-pretzel

Pub-Style Pretzels and Beer Cheese Sauce

Ingredients
1 ½ cups warm water
1 packet active yeast
4 cups all-purpose flour (will need extra for kneading)
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 large egg
½ tablespoon sea salt
1 tablespoon flavored seasoning of your choice (This recipe uses McCormick Grill Mates Molasses & Bacon)

Smoked Gouda and Cheddar Beer Sauce Ingredients
Yield: about one cup
½ cup of beer (This recipe uses Sierra Nevada for its strong taste. Use a wheat beer or blonde ale for a milder taste.)
½ cup grated smoked Gouda
½ cup grated sharp cheddar
2 tablespoons sour cream
1 ½ tablespoons flour
¼ teaspoon ground mustard
¼ teaspoon paprika
salt & pepper to taste

Directions
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Place a non-stick baking mat on a cookie sheet.

In a large mixing bowl, add yeast to warm water. Stir until dissolved. Stir in salt and sugar. Once mixed, add flour one cup at a time. Mix thoroughly until dough is thick and no longer sticky.

Create a floured surface for kneading. Knead dough for approximately 5 minutes. Separate dough into even sections, about six.

Roll dough into ropes (Image 1), making width even throughout. Make pretzel shapes by creating a circle with the dough. Twist ends and press down to finish shape (Image 2).

On a plate, mix sea salt and seasoning together for sprinkling. Beat egg in a small bowl and brush on pretzel tops. Place pretzels on baking sheet, and sprinkle salt mixture on top.

Bake for 10 minutes. After the first 5 minutes, switch to broil. Keep an eye on them to avoid over-browning. Remove from oven and serve warm with beer cheese dip.

Smoked Gouda and Cheddar Beer Sauce
In small saucepan, heat beer on low until it bubbles. Slowly whisk in flour, then add cheese (Image 3).  Whisk until smooth.

Add sour cream, mustard and paprika while whisking. Add more flour for a thicker sauce, or more beer for a thinner sauce. Sprinkle salt and pepper to taste.  Yield: 6-8 pretzels

-HGTV

castella-salad-olives-1-gallon

Tailgating Olive Dip

Ingredients

8 oz. cream cheese
1  cup  olives, chopped (I use green salad olives)
½ cup mayonnaise
2  tbsp. juice from olives
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
1  teaspoon hot sauce, optional
½  cup finely chopped pecans

Directions

Soften cream cheese. Mix remainder of ingredients.  Best to prepare the night before to allow flavors to marry.  Keep chilled during transport. Serve with pita chips or cracker of choice.

tailgating-food-ideasBetter Homes and Gardens

Imitation is the highest form of tailgating tablescapes flattery.

flamin-cinnamon-cider

Flamin’ Cinnamon Cider

Directions

In a large saucepan heat cider over medium heat until hot, but not simmering.  Add candies; stir until melted.   To serve, float apple slices on the cider mixture.  If desired, top with orange peel strips.

-Better Homes and Gardens

cider-bottles

I like items that pull double duty.  Is it an urn for a fall foliage centerpiece or is it a stylish holder for bottles of liquid fall in a glass aka apple cider?

wood-planterClancy Wood Urn Planter

board-traySur la table

point-reyes-farmstead-cheese-company-original-blue_1_1

bone-handled-cheese-knivesBone Handled Cheese Knives

pickled-tomatoes

bread-bags

Bread Bags 

purple-raffiaWraphia

copper-bowl-with-handlesHammered Copper Bowl with Handles

paper coneBamboo Leaf Cone

caramel peanut popcorn snack mix

Caramel Peanut Popcorn Snack Mix

Ingredients
15 cups popped popcorn (about 3/4 cup kernels)
vegetable cooking spray
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. firmly packed dark brown sugar
½ cup butter
½ cup dark corn syrup
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup lightly salted dry-roasted peanuts
wax paper
1 (10.5 oz.) package candy-coated peanut butter pieces (such as Reese’s Pieces)

Directions

Preheat oven to 325°. Spread popcorn in an even layer on a lightly greased (with cooking spray) heavy-duty aluminum foil-lined 13- x 18-inch pan. Stir together brown sugar and next 3 ingredients in a small saucepan over medium-low heat; bring to a simmer, and simmer, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Pour over popcorn, and stir gently to coat.

Bake at 325° for 25 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes. Add peanuts during last 5 minutes. Remove from oven, and spread on lightly greased (with cooking spray) wax paper. Cool completely (about 20 minutes). Break apart large pieces, and stir in candy pieces. Store in an airtight container up to 1 week.

Southern Living

corn-and-black-eyed-pea-salad1

Corn and Black-Eyed Pea Salad aka Death Valley Salad 

Ingredients

2 cans black-eyed peas
2 cans white corn, drained
2 cans yellow corn, drained
1 bell pepper, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 medium purple onion, finely chopped
1 medium bunch green onions, chopped
1 teaspoon black pepper, optional
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup white vinegar

Directions

Chop bell pepper, celery, purple onion, and green onions, add to large bowl.  Add black-eyed peas,  drained white & yellow corn.  In separate mixing bowl combine sugar, oil, and vinegar, mixing well.  Pour over salad, cover, and refrigerate overnight.

Kitchen Daily

four-chile-chili

Four-Chile Chili

Ingredients
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 ½ pounds ground sirloin or chuck
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 large Spanish onion (1 ½ pounds), coarsely chopped
8 large garlic cloves, minced
3 large jalapeño chiles, seeded and minced
3 tablespoons ancho chile powder
2 ½ tablespoons sweet paprika
¼ cup tomato paste
Two 28-ounce cans peeled Italian tomatoes, coarsely chopped and juices reserved
3 cups chicken or beef stock or canned low-sodium broth
Two 19-ounce cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed
2 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, seeded and minced
1 tablespoon dried oregano
Pinch of cinnamon
Coarsely chopped cilantro, for serving
Sour cream, for serving

Directions
Heat the olive oil in a enameled cast-iron casserole. Add half the ground beef in large chunks and season with salt and pepper. Cook over moderately high heat until brown on the bottom, about 4 minutes. Stir and cook until most of the pink is gone, about 3 minutes; keep the meat in large chunks. Transfer to a plate and repeat with the remaining meat.

Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the fat from the casserole. Add the onion, garlic and jalapeños and cook over moderately low heat, stirring often, until softened, about 6 minutes. Add the ancho powder and paprika and cook over low heat, stirring often, until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, until the paste is glossy and starts to brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and their juices, the chicken stock and the cooked beef and any accumulated juices. Bring to a simmer over moderately high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 1 ½ hours, stirring occasionally.

Add the kidney beans, chipotles and oregano and simmer for 30 minutes longer. Season with salt, pepper and a large pinch of cinnamon. Remove from the heat and let stand for at least 20 minutes. Reheat before serving.
Serve the chili in bowls, topped with a generous sprinkling of cilantro. Can be refrigerated for up to 4 days and frozen for up to 2 months.

-Food & Wine

chili-spoonsFood presentation, especially when tailgating, should be fun. These Chili Cook-Off Wooden Spoons from Personalized Gallery take first, second and third place in the category of how fun!

tailgating-serveware-ideas

Serveware ideas include mahogany wood chargers, sugar molds used as a utensils holder, cast iron skillets in assorted sizes, Lodge cast iron mini serving bowls perfect  for  chili, soup and stew, cake stands, chalkboard picks, baker’s twine, take out boxes, and galvanized hot dog trays (clearance priced right).

purple-burlapBurlap is the original if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it tailgating accessory.  I like to keep burlap on the list of tailgating decorating and tablescape items because of its durability and inexpensive price tag.  Versatile for table covers, table skirts and table runners, burlap is a very forgiving fabric. Spills happen.  If a stain should occur, cover it up with a serving tray or platter of food (hey, every good tailgating host and hostess does it) for the duration of your tailgating soiree.  There’s no use in crying over spilled chili, dip, cocktails, etc…  Between tailgating times, head over to the fabric store or online retailer near you for several more yards of this tailgating friendly fabric.

Jack-Cheese-Fondue-100134722_w

Jack Cheese and Smoky Chipotle Fondue

Ingredients

4 slices bacon, halved crosswise
1/4 cup finely chopped green onion
1/4 cup finely chopped red or yellow sweet pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
4 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese (16 ounces)
2 8 – ounce carton sour cream
2 -3 teaspoons finely chopped chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
French or Italian bread, cut into bite-size cubes
Tortilla chips or tortilla chip cups
Directions

In a heavy, medium saucepan, cook bacon till crisp. Remove bacon; reserving 1 tablespoon drippings in pan. Drain bacon on paper towels; crumble bacon and set aside.

Add green onion, sweet pepper and garlic to saucepan. Cook and stir over medium heat about 5 minutes or till vegetables are tender. Stir in flour. Stir in cheese, sour cream and chipotle peppers. Cook and stir over medium-low heat until cheese is melted and mixture is smooth.
Transfer cheese mixture to fondue pot over a fondue burner or slow-cooker on the low-heat setting. Top with crumbled bacon. Keep warm up to 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Serve with bread cubes or tortilla chips.

-Midwest Living

 

hummingbird-cupcake

The Hummingbird Cupcake

Prepare cupcakes according to box directions.  Allow to cool.  Stir 1 cup chopped toasted pecans and 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon into canned frosting.  Garnish with fresh pineapple wedges, banana chips, and pecan halves.

Southern Living

LSU pitcherGo Team Go Serving Pitcher.  Pick one up on your way to the game at Cracker Barrel.  Yes, Cracker Barrel.  

Citrus Tea Punch

Ingredients

6 cups water, divided

½ cup sugar

3 whole cloves

2 family-sized tea bags

1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick

1 cup orange juice

1 (6-ounce) can thawed lemonade concentrate, undiluted

Ice

Lemon slices (optional)

Directions

Combine 4 cups water and sugar in a heavy saucepan; bring to a boil. Cook until sugar dissolves; remove from heat.  Add cloves, tea bags, and cinnamon; steep 5 minutes.  Strain mixture through a sieve into a pitcher; discard solids.  Add remaining 2 cups water, juice, and lemonade concentrate; stir well.  Chill.  Serve over ice, and garnish with lemon slices, if desired.

-My Recipes

enjoy

The Summer Entertaining Season

Memorial Day signals the beginning of the summer entertaining season. That’s ninety some odd summer days and nights brimming with opportunity to gather together with family and friends.  Is there a summer is here big party blowout in your Memorial Day weekend future or is the plan for something in the neighborhood of quality over quantity for just you, yours and a few close friends?  Here are five tips to help you master the summer entertaining season.

Summer Entertaining Season Tip #1

Regardless of the numbers involved, the ultimate party favor you can give to you and your guests is an enjoyable and relaxing time.  Endless hours of planning and preparing does not a successful party guarantee.  However, what does come very close to guaranteeing a successful party is setting an at ease example.  Guests usually take the party lead from the attitude of the host and/or hostess which sets the tone for a comfortable let the good times roll atmosphere.

The Summer Entertaining SeasonPinterest

Summer Entertaining Season Tip #2

Popular points of culinary and entertaining interest set an inviting place at the summer table.  I like to take my tablescape in a casually elegant direction.  I know there is quite a bit of considerable thought put into achieving the anything but uptight, stuffy finished result through the right accents, lighting, selected place settings, serveware and flowers, but I want the memo to read effortless chic. This look is achieved with simple finds from my usual haunts- antiques shops, new to you shops, dollar stores, arts and crafts stores and the always handy in-house treasures, trinkets and trash closet.  Visually impressive table settings need not be an expensive or exhausting endeavor.

sliced-watermelon

 

Summer Entertaining Season Tip #3

Kick off the summer sippin’ season with the unofficial official fruit of summer, the watermelon.  Watermelon Strawberry Citrus Sangria, anyone?  Dazzle the thirsty through sight and taste.  Nothing says welcome to our summer soiree quite like a cool summer appropriate beverage.

watermelon-strawberry-citrus-sangria-700Shape via Joy the Baker

Summer Entertaining Season Tip #4

Summer just isn’t summer until something is basted, marinated or smothered in a stellar Southern BBQ sauce.  In Louisiana we don’t need an excuse to jazz it up, fire it up and kick it up, but if we did, summer would be all the excuse needed. Good barbecue is what we call summer stock.  We aren’t afraid to turn up the heat, spice or seasoning, but when entertaining we dial back the kick to a respectable c’est si bon level to accommodate the taste bud timid.  Good cooks and even better hosts know a little goes a long way in the flavor department and account for all tastes considered.

Summer Entertaining Season Tip #5

Balance is key.  Entertaining mirrors interior design and decorating in regards to balance.  When selecting the music for the party playlist, I aim to keep the types, styles, genres and decades balanced somewhere between current hits, grooving to the oldies, what movie is this from, smooth and easy jazz, lounge lizard standards and the soundtrack to high school and college days gone by.  Balance the bar to the standard rule of party planning with help from the handy drink calculator from Total Wine & More.  Balance safety with responsibility.  As always, drink and host responsibly.

Love your style!

A Regional Favorite With A Kick: Hoppin’ John Grits

Mardi Gras is always on a Louisianian’s mind, especially when it comes to regional cuisine. We like a little kick in our Mardi Gras festivities, and a lot of kick in our food. Hoppin’ John is a Southern favorite recipe of black eyed peas, ham and the Cajun trinity- chopped onion, bell pepper and celery. Although traditionally served with rice, another southern favorite adds a culinary twist and turn.  Grits are about as Southern as you can get,and another house favorite of the Places In The Home gang. This recipe for Hoppin’ John Grits resulted in an unanimous chorus of C’est si  bon, cher!

hoppin'-john-grits

Hoppin’ John Grits

Ingredients

1 ½ Tablespoons olive oil

2 cups ham hocks

1 cup dry black eyed peas, soaked overnight or quick boiled

3 cups water

1 can chicken broth

1 onion, peeled and chopped

1 bell pepper, chopped

2 stalks celery, chopped

1 Tablespoon minced garlic

2  teaspoons parsley flakes

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon pepper

2 bay leaves

green onions for garnish, optional

Directions

Quick boil for black eyed peas.

black eyed peas

Bring 3 cups of water and 1 cup black eyed peas to a rolling boil. Boil for 1 minute. Pour off all water.

sliced ham

Heat olive oil in pan. Sear ham on both sides.  Before adding to the water, I prefer to saute the Cajun trinity in ½ Tablespoon olive oil and an additional ¼ teaspoon pepper (the kick).  This step is totally optional.

cajun trinity

Add water, chicken broth, peas, chopped onion, bell pepper and celery.  Stir well, bringing to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and add remaining ingredients. Cook for 1 ½ -2 hours or until peas or tender.  If liquid cooks down too much add additional water or broth.

Hoppin' John black eyed peas

Grits

Ingredients

4 cups water

1 cup grits

½ teaspoon salt

6 teaspoons butter or margarine

milk or half and half to taste

Directions

Bring water to a brisk boil.  Add grits and salt into boiling water.  Whisk together, reducing heat to medium-low and cook 5 to 7 minutes or until thickened. Whisk occasionally during cooking to avoid lumps.  Add 1 teaspoon butter or margarine per serving and desired amount of milk or half and half , stirring to blend.  Serves 6.  Plate grits and top with Hoppin’ John. Green onions may be added as garnish.  Laissez les bons temps rouler!

enjoy

Shrimp Étouffée

A Louisiana, Lenten season and seafood lovers favorite, Shrimp Étouffée (eh-too-fey) is a rich thick dish with a light roux as the base.  To prepare this taste of home, we begin with a blonde roux.  Shrimp is always in supply and demand, and it is the star of this dish.

peeled shrimp

The Cajun holy trinity of onions, bell pepper and celery, garlic, a melange of other seasonings and the core staple of the Louisiana kitchen pantry, rice, round out the flavor notes.  The French word étouffée means to smother, and Louisianians have long mastered the art of smothering a plate or bowl of rice with étouffée or gumbo.  It’s the c’est si bon way!

Shrimp Etoufee

Shrimp Étouffée

Ingredients

¼ cup vegetable oil

¼ cup flour

1 8oz. bottle clam juice

1 cup water

1 medium onion, peeled and chopped

1 bell pepper, chopped

1 ½ teaspoon minced garlic

1 stalk celery, chopped

½ cup fresh parsley, finely chopped

3 green onions, chopped

2 bay leaves

1 Tablespoon Creole seasoning

½ teaspoon celery seed

1 Tablespoon paprika

2 pounds small or medium shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice

2 Tablespoons butter

hot sauce to taste

Directions

For the Roux:

Heat vegetable oil in skillet. Stir in flour with fork or wooden spoon and mix well to avoid lumps.  Continue to cook over low heat, stirring often, until golden caramel brown.

etouffee roux

It will take approximately 15 minutes to reach desired color and texture. Roux should not have a burnt taste.  If you burn the mixture, begin again.

roux-gumbo

Once the roux is done the adding begins!  Put roux, water and clam juice in a dutch oven or deep pan over medium high heat.

chopped onions bell pepper parsley

While these are heating, saute the onion, bell pepper, celery (the Cajun holy trinity) and garlic in a tsp. of olive oil in a separate skillet until slightly soft.

Cajun trinity

When softened, add to roux, water and clam juice.  Reduce heat to medium and allow to cook for approximately 5 minutes.  Add bay leaves, Creole seasoning, celery seed, paprika, parsley and ½ of the green onions.

cooking etouffee

Stir to blend and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer 15 minutes.  Remove bay leaves.  Taste to determine if additional salt or other seasonings is needed and add at this time.  Stir well and cook additional 5 minutes.  Add shrimp and lemon juice.  Cover and cook over low heat until shrimp is pink and tender, approximately 5-10 minutes. Étouffée will thicken.  Stir in 2 Tbsp butter.

shrimp etouffee

Serve over cooked white rice and garnish with remaining green onions. Add hot sauce to taste.

cest-si-bon

 

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo Pot Pie

It’s always gumbo season here at Places In The Home.  My late mother-in-law ate dinner with us at least once a week.  As a young bride with many recipes still to learn and perfect, my mother-in-law took me under her culinary wing and taught me how to make chicken and sausage gumbo.  Over the last thirty years I have refined and reinvented her recipe to make it more my own.  Chicken and Sausage Gumbo Pot Pie is what I came up for #NationalGumboDay.

chicken-and-sausage-gumbo-pot-pie

Gumbo, a Créole dish known for the ingredients okra and filé, is a regional favorite with origins from the French, Spanish, Indian and African residents of the area.

gumbo-file

Part soup, part stew, and all flavor-gumbo is made with meat or seafood, tomatoes, onions and bell peppers.

gumbo-seasoning

There are many instant roux and boxed gumbo dinner mixes on the market here in Louisiana.  I’ve used most of them at one time or another, but instant roux remains my best friend on the gumbo playground.  Roux is a flour and oil paste for thickening soups and sauces.

Roux

½  cup flour

½  cup vegetable oil

Heat oil in a black skillet over low heat.  Add flour in a little at a time, stirring.  Stir constantly until brown (20 to 30 minutes).

Chopped onion, bell pepper, garlic, creole seasoning, white wine, green onions, bay leaves, chicken and sausage complete the list of ingredients. Tabasco sauce, filé, and rice round out the serve with staples. The Places In The Home majority does not like tomatoes or okra in a gumbo, so to accommodate their delicate palettes I omit these two ingredients.

sautéed-onions

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo Pot Pie

Ingredients

1  cup Tony Chachere’s instant roux mix

8  cups water

1  can chicken broth

6  boneless, skinless chicken breast tenders

2  1lb. packages smoked sausage, sliced

1  large yellow onion, peeled & chopped

1  bag seasoning blend

1  bunch green onions, chopped

1 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. celery seed

1 tsp. kosher salt

½ tsp. fine black pepper or to taste

OR in place of salt and pepper season with 1 tsp. Créole seasoning or to taste

1 cup dry white wine

2  cans refrigerated crescent rolls

Directions

Heat water and chicken broth in Dutch oven over medium heat until hot. Add prepared or instant roux mix. Cook, stirring often until roux is dissolved.  Next, add garlic powder, salt, pepper or Créole seasoning and celery seed.  Stir to incorporate.  Add chicken breasts, cooking over medium heat until tender.  Slice sausage and lightly brown in separate skillet.

chicken-sausage-peppers-onions

Remove sausage from skillet, drain and blot excess grease.  Add 1 tablespoon butter, chopped onion and seasoning blend to skillet, sauteing until softened.  Carefully spoon cooked smoked sausage and sauteed onions and seasoning blend into the gumbo pot.

gumbo-roux-boiling

Add the white wine and give it a good stir. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for approximately 1 hour, allowing flavors to marry.  This is the time I pour a glass of white wine for the cook, allowing flavors to merry! Although French bread, buttermilk cornbread or crackers go well with gumbo for dipping, culinary creativity struck and I thought I would try something new with this latest pot of chicken and sausage gumbo.

sausage-chicken-onions

Cook 2 cups of long-grain rice (2 cups rice to 4 cups salted water). Place a heaping tablespoon of cooked rice into each crock or oven safe soup bowl. An ice cream scoop works great to dish up an even serving of rice. Fill the crocks or bowls with gumbo.  Top with chopped green onions, a sprinkle of filé, and/or hot sauce to taste, if desired.

Cover the top of each crock two crescent rolls making sure to completely covering the top.  Bake according to crescent roll package directions.

cest-si-bon

 

 

 

Green Tomatoes In Phyllo Baskets At The Places In The Home Cafe

Creativity is in full force in the test kitchen at The Places In The Home cafe.   A culinary brainstorming session with my brother resulted in this green tomatoes in phyllo baskets recipe.

green-tomato-phyllo-baskets

The recipes is a work in progress and phyllo patience, but it was met with glowing reviews from the family.

Green Tomatoes In Phyllo Baskets

Ingredients

6-8 green tomatoes

1  roll phyllo pastry sheets,  thawed

8 tablespoons melted butter or margarine

1 8 oz. box Tony Chachere’s Creole Dirty Rice dinner mix 0r favorite brand flavored rice mix

½ lb. ground beef

½ lb. medium or hot ground pork sausage

1 tsp. basil

salt & pepper or creole seasoning to taste

8 oz. shredded cheese of your choice

1 tsp. parsley flakes

1 tsp. paprika

1 Pyrex baking dish

aluminum baking pan

6-8 cup muffin pan

sauce pan or microwavable bowl

sauce brush

Directions

Remove phyllo pastry sheets from freezer and allow to thaw according to package directions (two hours at room temperature for quick thaw, overnight in refrigerator for following day use).

Wash and scoop out the inside of  tomatoes.  Place tomatoes in a square Pyrex dish.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper or creole seasoning to personal taste.  Place Pyrex dish into a deep baking pan. Prepare a hot- water bath by bringing a pan of water to a light simmer on top of stove; carefully pour hot water into a baking pan halfway up the sides of Pyrex dish.  Cover with aluminum foil or inverted cookie sheet to promote a slight softening.  If tomatoes are too soft they will become difficult to wrap.

Brown ground beef  and ground pork sausage together.  Add basil.   Drain and add meats to packaged rice mix; prepare as directed. When fully cooked allow to cool.   Remove Pyrex dish filled with softened tomatoes from hot-water bath.  Melt butter and place to side for use with phyllo dough.  Fill each tomato with cooked rice and meat.  Top each tomato with shredded cheese to individual taste. We Louisianians are big on flavor, seasoning and heat.  I adjusted the spice of the recipe to a  medium spice content.  Tone it down or turn it up to your please your taste buds.

Prepare phyllo sheets according to instructions.  I used two layers of dough per tomato.  Very important to work only with needed dough keeping a damp towel over the remaining layers until ready to use.  It makes it easier to handle and reduces tearing.  Lightly brush the edges of each layer of dough with melted butter.  Place stuffed tomato in center of dough.  “Wrap” tomato by bring dough corners to center and twisting.

phyllo-wrapped-green-tomatoes

Place wrapped tomatoes in ungreased muffin pan.  Lightly brush dough wrapped tomatoes once again with remaining melted butter.  Sprinkle with paprika and parsley flakes.  Bake in oven at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.

cest-si-bon