Tag Archives: donald link

Cochon Restaurant Revisited

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From Cochon Restaurant – New Orleans, LA.

On my last visit to New Orleans I stopped into Cochon Restaurant, which I had visited a few trips prior and absolutely loved, especially since back then, I was invited back into the kitchen to take some pictures! (Here is the original post, followed by one of my favorite pics from that visit):

Cochon Restaurant

From Nola Cuisine

There were a few dishes that I wished I had tried on my previous dining experience, so I made another go at it. On a side note, Chefs Donald Link and Stephen Stryjewski also recently opened a second Cochon Restaurant in Lafayette, Louisiana.

Cochon Lafayette

Donald Link’s book Real Cajun is one of my absolute favorites (My Review):

Here are the dishes that I had a second chance at sampling, well worth the wait! All of these are actually featured in his cookbook as well!

Fried Chicken livers with Pepper Jelly:

From Cochon Restaurant – New Orleans, LA.

Perfectly fried chicken livers on toast points, slathered with housemade Pepper Jelly and finished with a salad of mint leaves and sweet onions.

Wood Fired Oyster Roast:

From Cochon Restaurant – New Orleans, LA.

Cooked in the restaurants wood burning oven, these baked oysters, topped with a compound butter made with Vietnamese Chili sauce among other inredients, were easily my favorite of the appetizers. The plump Louisiana Oysters with the spicy, garlicky butter sauce were absolutely addicting. Definitely one of my new favorite Louisiana Oyster dishes, of which I have many.

From Cochon Restaurant – New Orleans, LA.
From Cochon Restaurant – New Orleans, LA.

I couldn’t resist trying Donald Link’s Boudin, as I was on a bit of a Louisiana Charcuterie hunt on this particular trip. Fried Boudin Balls with pickled peppers and housemade Abita Beer Whole Grain Mustard:

From Cochon Restaurant – New Orleans, LA.

Definitely a great tasting Boudin! I think they’re using chicken liver, instead of the traditional pork. There is also some poblano pepper in the mix:

From Cochon Restaurant – New Orleans, LA.

Donald Link has a great web show called Taste of Place. Here is his show about Boudin:

Here is my Boudin recipe:

Boudin Recipe

Lastly dessert, Blueberry Buckle with…get this…Hog Cracklin’ Streusel topping! There has to be some kind of award for most creative way to incorporate pork into a dessert, with delicious results!

From Cochon Restaurant – New Orleans, LA.

Of course, I will end this post with a picture of the restaurants woodpile, which is starting to become my signature on the sister site to this one American Gourmand.

From Cochon Restaurant – New Orleans, LA.

Related Posts:
Cochon Restaurant
Cochon Butcher
Real Cajun – Cookbook Review
Boudin Recipe
Pepper Jelly Recipe

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Cajun Grain Rice

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From

I’ve been following the Donald Link’s (Chef and author of Real Cajun) video series called Taste of Place on his website, if you haven’t checked it out, I highly recommend it. He tours farms, goes out with fisherman, and visits with purveyors of superior products, not just in Louisiana, but primarily in the south. He then usually does a cooking video with whatever product was featured.

Long story short, I recently caught the episode where Link visits the farm of Kurt & Karen Unkel who own and operate a rice farm in Kinder, Louisiana (the video is embedded below.) Kurt’s words and philosophies really make sense to me. He’s organic, not because it’s trendy, but because it makes the most sense, for nutrition, flavor, and I’m sure profitability. The rice goes into a slow feed and a husker and into the bag that it’s shipped in. It still contains the germ and all of the other elements that a nutritious rice should.

Cajun Grain
11574 Hwy. 190
Kinder, LA 70648
1-337-207-0966


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I visited the Cajun Grain website after viewing this video and was elated to see that they sell their Cajun Grain Brown Jasmine Rice on Amazon! I immediately ordered two 4 lb bags which arrived a few days ago.

From Cajun Grain Rice – Kinder, Louisiana

I opened the bag and took a deep whiff and you can immediately smell the field. I can’t wait to experiment with this incredible, minimally processed product. I’m thinking Boudin! Here is the video:

<a href='http://www.delish.com/recipes/cooking-recipes/taste-of-place/?vid=69d958d8-e8fb-f448-8430-300be80818bf&#038;videoId=69d958d8-e8fb-f448-8430-300be80818bf&#038;src=v5:embed::&#038;from=sharepermalink' target='_new' title='The beauty of brown rice'>Video: The beauty of brown rice</a>

Kurt has also been featured in the documentary film Harmony, which is narrated by Prince Charles, as well as the New York Times article, Rice Dreams in Louisiana.

You can find and purchase Cajun Grain Brown Jasmine Rice from their website which is below, or on Amazon here:

Cajun Grain Brown Jasmine Rice, Two 4lb. bags.

Cajun Grain
P.O. Box 370
Kinder, LA 70648
337-207-0966

From Cajun Grain Rice – Kinder, Louisiana

Stay tuned as I can’t wait to share some recipes using this wonderful Louisiana product! I am also in full swing in sharing all of the details of my most recent trip to Louisiana! Most recently, my visits to Middendorf’s Seafood Restaurant and the Abita Brewery. It feels good to be back!!

Related Posts:

Review of Donald Link’s Real Cajun

Be sure and check out my ever growing Index of Creole & Cajun Recipes which provides links to all of the recipes featured at Nola Cuisine!

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Real Cajun: Rustic Home Cooking from Donald Link’s Louisiana

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From Cochon Butcher

My copy of Real Cajun: Rustic Home Cooking from Donald Link’s Louisiana arrived last Thursday, and I was like a kid opening his first gift on Christmas morning, shuffling for something to open the box with, flinging aside the bubble wrap to stare into a beautifully photographed crock of Gumbo. The title is in big bold white letters REAL CAJUN, as if to say, ok, enough with the blackening already, enough with the notion that everything Cajun is super spicy, enough with the Bourbon Chicken in the food courts; let’s get down to the nitty gritty. Real Cajun, rustic, simple, home cooked meals.

It seems only fitting that the Chef owner of Cochon, and Cochon Butcher (no, I’m not forgetting Herbsaint), would have homemade Bacon as the first recipe in his cookbook, with the first “chapter” bearing the title La Vie Cochon, with recipes including Tasso, Boudin, Pork Belly Cracklins, and more. The most mouthwatering recipe in this chapter, in my humble opinion, is Smothered Pork Roast over Rice, a simple recipe based on his Granny’s preparation, with a photo so beautiful that I swear you will try to lick the wooden spoon before the sauce drips back into the pot.

I have to admit that I was a little disappointed that he didn’t include more Charcuterie than he did, but I totally understand why he didn’t, keeping it practical for the home cook I guess. (I have my fingers crossed for a follow up book surrounding Louisiana Charcuterie, or a Cochon cookbook.) Don’t get me wrong though, the Charcuterie recipes that are included, Bacon, Boudin, Tasso, Deer Sausage, etc.. are top notch, I can’t wait to try Chef Link’s Boudin recipe, the photo is outstanding as are all of the photos in this book all by Chris Granger. I was looking for Chef Link’s Andouille, Hog’s Head Cheese, and Creole Mustard, but the recipes that filled these spaces totally made up for it and more.

The book’s recipes are wonderful in their simplicity (this is not a restaurant cookbook, although some of the dishes from his restaurants appear) with beautiful photographs that make me long to be in the stifling heat of Louisiana everytime I look at them. Some of the photographs from the book are hanging on the walls of Chef Link’s private dining facility Calcasieu, which is next store and upstairs from Cochon Butcher.

From Cochon Butcher

Real Cajun is mostly cookbook and part memoir, which all builds wonderfully around the recipes, just the kind of cookbook that I love, and reminiscent of another favorite of mine, Marcelle Bienvenu’s Who’s Your Mama, Are You Catholic, and Can You Make A Roux? What comes through in both books is a love of Louisiana, real Cajun cuisine, family, and tradition.

This book is loaded with great recipes, I’ve tried out a few of them now, all were absolutely outstanding. Including Catfish Fried in Bacon Fat. The bacon fat adds an incredible richness to the crisp and moist catfish without taking over the flavor. I also made my own Tartar sauce as an accompaniment with crumbled Bacon added to it; what the hell right, the cholesterol meter is already broken. This is probably the best Catfish that I’ve made:

From Nola Cuisine
From Nola Cuisine

I also made the Chicken & Dumplings, a lot of great technique in this recipe, the best I thought was putting the pan into a 450 degree F oven to finish the dumplings. The stew is very similar to my recent Chicken Fricassee recipe, but the real magic happens when the dumpling batter is added and the whole pan is popped into the 450 oven. By the way, I made this for my wife and my Mom & Dad last night and they said the dumplings reminded them of Thanksgiving Stuffing, I agree. Awesome flavor with the addition of dried Oregano and raw minced onion.

From Nola Cuisine

I also used the Buckle recipe, but used Blueberries as they were the best fruit that I could find, his is made with fresh Peaches which aren’t in season right now. The Blueberry Buckle was dessert last night with good strong French Market Coffee, following the Chicken & Dumplings.

From Nola Cuisine

All in all, I haven’t been this inspired by a Louisiana cookbook since first reading the year 2000 publication of Commander’s Kitchen by Ti Adelaide Martin and the late great Jamie Shannon.

I don’t recommend just anything, but I really think that this a great book, loaded with not only great recipes, but stories to go with each one. My copy is already getting a little worn, the page with the buckle recipe has some dried egg white on it, the back cover has a sticky substance from my kitchen counter. All signs of a good cookbook I guess.

Be sure and check out my ever growing Index of Creole & Cajun Recipes which links to all of the recipe featured on this site!

Also take a look at my Bibliography of Creole & Cajun Cookbooks!

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Jacob’s Andouille

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From Jacob's Andouille

On my last day in Louisiana last month I decided to drive out to Laplace before going to the airport, to visit the self proclaimed “Andouille Capital of the World.” I originally meant to go to all three big one’s, those being Jacob’s, Bailey’s, and Wayne Jacob’s, but I only made it to Jacob’s, I decided I would rather chill out and explore some back roads in the area before a miserable day of air travel.

I did make it to Jacob’s and brought back some Andouille and Tasso to take home with me.

Jacob’s Andouille
505 West Airline Highway LaPlace, LA 70068
1-985-652-9080
Toll Free: 1-877-215-7589

The drive to Laplace from New Orleans is beautiful, driving over the wetlands and on the fringe of Lake Pontchartrain, I really enjoyed the fresh spring air and the sunshine.

Jacob’s is a short drive from I-10 at 505 W. Airline Drive, about a 40 minute drive from New Orleans and about 20 minutes doubling back to the airport.

Another option, like I said in an earlier post, if you don’t have time to make the commute to Laplace before returning home, head to Cochon Butcher in the warehouse district, they’re producing awesome Andouille, Tasso, Boudin, you name it.

From Jacob's Andouille

Jacob’s is a small storefront off of the often busy Airline dr., and if you’re not hungry for Andouille….there is a Taco Bell and Burger King across the street, kind of a buzz kill but I managed to block it out. No corporate swine please, just swine.

From Jacob's Andouille

Here is the pig on their front porch.

From Jacob's Andouille

By the way, my new ride was waiting for me in the parking lot.

From Jacob's Andouille

Upon entering Jacob’s you are of course slapped with a wonderful smoke aroma as should be expected. Here is the menu of their smoked items.

From Jacob's Andouille

I went for the Andouille and Tasso, pork of course, although they offer more health conscious versions of both, using Turkey and Chicken. Here is the beautiful pork Andouille in the case.

From Jacob's Andouille

Here is one of the cases of miscellaneous smoked items, check out the smoked pig tails.

From Jacob's Andouille

I paid for my Andouille & Tasso and packed them into my suitcase for the flight home. (By the way, that suitcase will smell like Louisiana smoked meats for the entire length of it’s use!)

I also drove around back to check out their trailers filled with Pecan wood which Jacob’s uses exclusively.

From Jacob's Andouille
From Jacob's Andouille

When I arrived home I had to pull out the Andouille and Tasso to sample and take some pics. Jacob’s Andouille is slow smoked with Pecan for 10-12 hours until it is a deep Mahogany color. Jacob’s has been family owned and operated since 1928.

From Jacob's Andouille

The Andouille’s flavor is very good, a wonderful level of heat, not too much, not too little, and a phenomenal level of smoke flavor. The pork is coarsely chopped and stuffed into fresh beef casings and is almost 2 inches in diameter. (Here is my homemade Andouille sausage recipe)

From Jacob's Andouille

I was less impressed with the Tasso.

From Jacob's Andouille

Although it had a profound Pecan smoke flavor, as well as a great texture, I thought that it really lacked seasoning. It just tasted like smoked pork, which would still be great for throwing into a pot of beans, but I actually much prefer my homemade Tasso recipe. I was kind of proud of myself with that conclusion.

I made a great pot of Red Beans the next day with these ingredients, recipe and photos coming soon!

Be sure to check out my ever growing Index of Creole & Cajun Recipes which links to all of the recipes featured on this site!

Related Posts:

Andouille Sausage Recipe
Tasso Recipe
Cochon Butcher
Cochon Restaurant

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Crawfish Boil Recipe

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From Crawfish Boil

Any spring social event in Louisiana is most definitely going to be centered around a Crawfish Boil. This is a time to relax with family and friends, enjoy the outdoors, and enjoy the bounty of the season, live Louisiana Crawfish.

The magic behind your boil, in my humble opinion, remains in the hands of two details. Fresh, Lively Crawfish, and your cooking liquid.

Crawfish Boil Recipe

15 lbs Live Louisiana Crawfish
4 Large Spanish Onions, quartered
6 Lemons, halved
4 Heads garlic, halved widthwise
8 Fresh Bay Leaves
3 Bags Crab Boil
1 bunch fresh Thyme
1 Cup Creole Seasoning
1/2 Cup Cayenne, or to taste
1 1/2 lbs Kosher Salt
About 5 Gallons of water, or enough to fill a 30 Quart turkey fryer pot 3/4 full
3 lbs Small Redskin Potatoes
6 Ears of Fresh Corn, shucked, trimmed and cut in half

Bring the water to a boil in a 30 quart Turkey fryer pot with the onions, lemons, garlic, bay leaves, crab boil, cayenne and salt. When the mixture reaches a boil, reduce to a simmer, partially cover and cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

From Crawfish Boil

Your crawfish should be picked through for dead ones and placed and washed by first hosing them down, then leaving them in the basket and placing it into a large pot, filling it with water, draining, filling with water, draining, until the remaining water is eventually clean, about 3-4 times. I’m not in the purging with salt camp, I don’t think it does anything more than what I described above.

From Crawfish Boil

While you’re waiting, and this is a very important part of this recipe, drink a few of your favorite ice cold beers and go visit with your company, this is a social event, relax enjoy! Have the washed Redskins waiting in the basket insert nearby and visit. Take advantage of the downtime!

Before adding anything to the pot, taste your cooking liquid! It should taste overly salty and overly spicy. Drink more cold beer, then add your basket insert to the pot with the potatoes. Let cook for 15-20 minutes. After said time has passed add the corn, and cook for about 10 minutes.

From Crawfish Boil

Bring the liquid to a boil and add the live Crawfish.

From Crawfish Boil

Bring the pot back to a boil as quickly as possible, give a good healthy stir and boil for about 5-10 minutes depending on their size.

From Crawfish Boil

Turn off the heat, put a lid on the pot and allow the crawfish to steep in the liquid for 20-30 minutes. The longer they steep, the spicier and more flavorful they will become. When in doubt as to how long to let them steep, pull one out and have a taste! When you’re sure that they are ready, lift the basket and let them drain. When they are well drained dump the contents of the basket onto a picnic table or any outdoor table heavily lined with newspaper.

From Crawfish Boil

Everyone please note, I don’t have any feeling left in my hands from working in the kitchens all these years. The girls were laughing as I was holding the basket with steam blowing off of it, this isn’t a dummy shot, just a big dummy holding a hot pot with bare hands.

From Crawfish Boil

Let your guests belly up to the table and eat until their hearts are content!

Here are some pics from our small but wonderful boil!

From Crawfish Boil
From Crawfish Boil

The full spread, the potatoes and corn take on all of those wonderful flavors. The potatoes especially, the skins dry out and develop that salt crust and the insides take on the spice.

From Crawfish Boil
From Crawfish Boil

Here is my baby girl Anna with her portion.

From Crawfish Boil

Yeah, that was a gag shot, we can’t even get this little one to eat chicken fingers, don’t worry though, I will keep cracking away on her culinary darings.

Thanks again to Charlie and the fine folks from Cajun Grocer for the generous portion of their premium Live Louisiana Crawfish!

This is my brother Brad. We don’t get together as often as we should these days but this boil was the perfect opportunity to do so and we had a wonderful time. Brad actually helps me with all of the technical details on this site and even hosts it for me on his server! He is also responsible for the new layout, which I absolutely love and has inspired me to start posting more often. Thanks for everything Brad!

From Crawfish Boil

Be sure to check out my ever growing Index of Creole & Cajun Recipes which provides links to all of the recipes featured on this site!

Related Posts:

Crawfish Etouffee Recipe
Live Louisiana Crawfish

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Cochon Butcher

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From Cochon Butcher

Cochon Butcher
930 Tchoupitoulas
New Orleans LA 70130
504-588-PORK

Upon entering Cochon Butcher, which is right around the corner from Cochon Restaurant and in the same building on Tchoupitoulis and Andrew Higgins, the first thing that I laid eyes on was their Andouille. Nicely laid out in the deli case, deep brown from hours of smoking, and as a true Andouille should be, huge as it’s stuffed into a beef middle casing.

From Cochon Butcher

The first thing that I thought of is that New Orleans locals, thanks to Chefs Donald Link, Stephen Stryjewski, and Warren Stephens, will no longer have to make the commute out to Laplace, Louisiana (read my Jacob’s Andouille post) to get Andouille if they don’t want to, the real article is right in the city now, along with scores of other wonderful products. All of the sausages, salamis, Mortadella, confits, terrines, rillettes, pickles, Creole Mustard, EVERYTHING is made in house! This place is a Mecca for all things swine, even more so than Cochon Restaurant. Feel like making a Cassoulet? Hell, stop into Cochon Butcher, get your Duck Confit, fresh sausages, cured sausages, whatever you want to include, they will probably have it.

On a related but somewhat side note, I just read that Donald Link has a cookbook coming out next month called
Real Cajun: Rustic Home Cooking from Donald Link’s Louisiana. I already preordered mine, needless to say, that should be a keeper. (Read my review HERE!)

From Cochon Butcher
From Cochon Butcher

I was greeted at the deli case by Chef partner Warren Stephens holding out a sample plate of the house made Bacon Praline, which, as my friend Tim at Roux-B-Doo’s says, is like sugary crack. Seriously, it is. This isn’t the Praline Bacon at Elizabeth’s, awesome in it’s own right, rather it’s an actual Praline with chunks of the house made Kurobuta Bacon inside of it in place of the traditional Pecans. Awesome flavors.

From Cochon Butcher
From Cochon Butcher

After coming off of the rush of the Bacon Praline, I asked Chef Warren if it would be alright to take some pics around the store/sWine bar. He said sure and asked if I would like to go upstairs to see the curing room. I said hell yes, of course. He led me upstairs through the upstairs kitchen to the temperature controlled curing room, one of them actually, there is another one at Herbsaint, as well as the ones in the downstairs display cases.

From Cochon Butcher
From Cochon Butcher

Inside of the upstairs room was a treasure trove of Salamis, blood sausages, you name it, in various states of cure.

From Cochon Butcher
From Cochon Butcher
From Cochon Butcher

A new batch of Duck Pastrami was recently hung.

From Cochon Butcher
From Cochon Butcher

Chef Warren told me that when the cured products reach their maturity, they are Vacuum sealed to stop the curing process, and also package for sale or storage.

From Cochon Butcher

While we were upstairs he also gave me a tour of Calcasieu the also newly opened catering facility for private events (I will do a separate post on Calcascieu).

The Sandwich board:

From Cochon Butcher

The Wine board:

From Cochon Butcher

We headed back downstairs so that I could order something for lunch, looking at all of that great food was killing me. I decided to order the Muffuletta, with all house made meats no less. Any loyal reader of my site knows that I would HAVE to order the Muffuletta on my first visit knowing that I am a Muffuletta junkie, and let me tell you, this one did not disappoint.

From Cochon Butcher

Cochon Butcher’s Muffuletta has an olive salad that is very finally chopped which I didn’t know if I would care for, as I usually prefer the olives pretty much just crushed a la Central Grocery, but it actually was a perfect accent to the finely cured meats and the cheeses without being overpowering. The olive salad was on the top and bottom of the sandwich. The bread was also perfect, light and crumbly as it should be. The Muffuletta could easily feed 2, in some cases 4, and at $12, especially considering everything is made in house, it’s a steal.

From Cochon Butcher
From Cochon Butcher

While I was gorging myself on the above awesome Muffuletta, Chef Warren brought me over a Lagniappe to try out, his Tartiflette that he was featuring as a small plate item. It was a lovely pairing of fingerling Potatoes, housemade Kurobuta Bacon, sweet onions, and a touch of heat, baked in a Gratin with of course the wonderfully stinky Reblochon cheese. Phenomenal flavors; the smokiness of the bacon, the sweetness of the onion, tender gold and buttery fingerlings, woodsy Thyme, and the spice of the peppers all tied together with the Robust creamy flavor of the Reblochon. Awesome job.

From Cochon Butcher

I can’t thank Chef Warren Stephens enough for the gracious tour, I will always remember it!

I will let the pictures do the talking for all of the wonderful items Cochon Butcher has to offer!

From Cochon Butcher
From Cochon Butcher
From Cochon Butcher
From Cochon Butcher
From Cochon Butcher
From Cochon Butcher
From Cochon Butcher
From Cochon Butcher

Be sure and check out my ever growing Index of Creole & Cajun Recipes which links to all of the recipe featured on this site!

Related Posts:

My new friend Su-Jit’s Post on her trip to Cochon Butcher
Cochon Restaurant
Central Gorcery
Andouille Sausage Recipe
Tasso Recipe

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Shrimp and Eggplant Dressing Recipe

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From Nola Cuisine

Shrimp and Eggplant are a perfect flavor match in this traditional Creole Italian dish, neither trying to overpower the other, just existing in perfect harmony, kind of like Oysters and artichokes, and Okra and Tomatoes.

Besides the Muffuletta, you don’t hear as much about the Italian and Sicilian immigrant contribution to Creole Cuisine as you do the French influence, this is just one.

By the way, there is a great little book from Pelican Publishing in Gretna called The New Orleans Italian Cookbook, a compilation of recipes from the Italian American Society of Jefferson Auxillary. It was first published in 1979, it features recipes from a lot of different people, from Chefs to homecooks, a great little book.

Back to the dish, it’s important to use small eggplant, because they have very few seeds, it’s just less headache. Also, you could alternately boil the eggplants whole, scoop out the pulp and save the shells to bake your dressing in, if you’re into that sort of thing.

As far as the shrimp, I only use wild caught American shrimp these days, if I can’t get American, I don’t eat Shrimp. True, they are more expensive than the flavorless Southeast Asian farm raised stuff out there, and harder to find for that matter, but they taste a whole lot better; and more importantly, purchasing them supports our own Shrimp fisherman who are absolutely suffering these days.

Anyway, back to the recipe, it’s hard to cook when you’re standing on top of a soapbox. 😉

I served this as a side to a big plate of Fried Chicken, Green Onion mashed Potatoes, and Cornbread.

Shrimp and Eggplant Dressing Recipe

1 lb Wild Caught American Gulf Shrimp, peeled, deveined, and chopped (Reserve the shells)
1 Bay leaf
1 bundle Fresh Thyme, tied with butchers twine
Water, enough to cover the eggplant by 1 inch
1 splash Liquid Crab Boil
4-5 small Eggplant, peeled, enough to yield about 2 1/2-3 Cups Cooked
3 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
1 Large Spanish Onion, finely diced
1 Medium Green Bell Pepper, finely diced
4 Toes Garlic, minced
2 Green Onions, sliced thin, keep the green and white parts seperate
1 Egg, beaten
2 Tbsp Fresh Thyme, chopped
1 Tbsp Italian Parsley, chopped
1 Tbsp Fresh Basil, chopped
1 Cup Bread Crumbs (preferably homemade from leftover French bread)

For the topping:

1 Cup Panko Bread Crumbs
1/4 Cup grated Parmeggiano, and Pecorino Romano
3 Tbsp Melted Butter
1 Tbsp Italian Parsley, chopped
A pinch of salt and a few grinds of black pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Bring the water to boil in a Dutch Oven. Add the Bay Leaf, bundled Thyme, reserved Shrimp shells, crab boil, any trim from the diced onion, and a handful of Kosher salt. Boil for about 15-20 minutes, skim off the scum from the shrimp shells. Add the Eggplant and reduce to a simmer. Cook until tender about 20 minutes.

In the meantime, melt the 3 Tbsp butter in a saute pan. Add the onion, bell pepper, garlic, and a pinch of salt, saute until the onions are translucent, add the chopped Thyme and the chopped shrimp, cook until the shrimp are just cooked through; set aside to cool.

When the eggplant is very tender remove with tongs to a colainder to cool. When cool, squeeze some of the liquid from it and chop.

In a large bowl combine the eggplant, onion & pepper mixture, egg, fresh basil, and parsley, mix ingredients together well. Add the bread crumbs a little at a time until the right consistency is achieved; it should be not too wet, not too dry. Check the seasoning; season to taste with Kosher salt, Cayenne, and black pepper.

Add the mixture to a buttered gratin or baking dish. Mix together the topping ingredients, top the shrimp and eggplant dressing with it. Bake in the preheated oven until bubbly and the topping is a nice golden brown.

Makes enough for a side dish for 4.

Be sure and check out my ever growing Index of Creole & Cajun Recipes which links to all of the recipes featured on this site!

Related Posts:

Muffuletta Recipe
Shrimp Stuffed Mirlitons
Creole Stuffed Peppers
Creole Smothered Okra & Tomatoes Recipe

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Cochon

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From Nola Cuisine

**UPDATE Here is my post on Donald Link’s newest venture Cochon Butcher in the same building as Cochon, right around the corner!

Also, Chef Donald Link’s cookbook comes out April 21, 2009, can’t wait! It’s called Real Cajun: Rustic Home Cooking from Donald Link’s Louisiana
(Read my review HERE!)

If I were a pig (no comments please), and I could choose my final resting place, I would choose Cochon. My sacrifice would not be in vain because I would be assured that every part of me would be utilized to create some of the best dishes that I’ve had in New Orleans to date, and that my friends is saying a mouthful.

Chef Donald link, co-owner Chef Stephen Stryjewski and their crew are orchestrating an in house Boucherie everyday, bringing in whole hogs that are broken down, and turned into a plethora of different Charcuterie ingredients, some on the menu and some that change from day to day on their Boucherie plate, more on that later.

Upon first walking through the door of Cochon, the aroma of wood fire and smoked meats will make your knees buckle a little; stop and breathe it in, you’ve entered hog heaven.

The dining room is warm and inviting, kind of a Polished Country feel. Anyway, just look at the picture, I’m not an interior designer, I’m a kitchen guy. Lets just say that it’s a nice, casual and inviting dining room. The staff is extremely friendly and helpful.

Back to the food.

The bar offers a wide array of Bourbons, local beers, and even a few varieties of Moonshine. If you’re interested in something non-alcoholic Cochon’s Lemonade is the best I have ever had, no lie, a perfect balance of sweet and sour, I couldn’t get enough.

The back of the restaurant features a Chef’s Counter, where you can watch all of the action. They have an array of various pickles displayed on the counter as well as some potted herbs for use in the kitchen.

The entrance to the kitchen and service station showcases and stores firewood for use in the wood burning oven.

We started our meal with the Boucherie Plate, how could I not right? This day’s selection:

From Nola Cuisine

Clockwise from bottom left; Speck, Country Bologna, Country Pate, Hogshead Cheese (buried) Peppery toast points, Pork Rillette, housemade Pickles & Pickled Peppers, housemade Creole Mustard (the best I’ve had).

Detail of the speck, country Bologna, and Pate:

From Nola Cuisine

The Hogshead Cheese, perfectly spiced and delicious:

From Nola Cuisine

My entree was the Louisiana Cochon, which is pulled pork that is pattied and seared, served atop turnips and cabbage, with a wonderfully rich pork jus, and topped with crispy Cracklins’!

From Nola Cuisine

Detail of the Louisiana Cochon:

From Nola Cuisine

This dish really has a remarkable pork flavor, a smoky subtlety, and a richness that is beyond compare. I dream about this dish.

My wife had the Beef Brisket with Horseradish Potato Salad, equally phenomenal, while staying true to the casual country dishes of the south.

From Nola Cuisine

After we ate our meal I went up to the Chef’s counter to take some pictures of some meats they had curing in a temperature and humidity controlled case. One of the Sous Chefs saw my interest and invited me into the kitchen to show me around and take some pictures. I was elated. Here are some of the pics I got.

Smoked and cured legs on a speed rack.

From Nola Cuisine

A big old tub of Chow Chow in the walk in cooler. Next to it is a tub of fresh Pompano which was going to be the nights dinner special.

From Nola Cuisine

Coppa curing in the walk in cooler. Various pickles and sauces, all nicely organized in the tight quarters.

From Nola Cuisine

Below the Coppa, housemade Tasso, and below that housemade bacon.

From Nola Cuisine

Legs in different stages of cure in dry storage.

From Nola Cuisine
From Nola Cuisine

A just delivered pig waiting to be butchered.

From Nola Cuisine
From Nola Cuisine

I can’t thank the gentleman who took me on a tour of the kitchen enough, it was a wonderful experience that I will always remember. I’m blown away by the things that these guys and gals are doing at Cochon. This is a huge undertaking, and there is a lot of work involved, hats off to the Chefs and their staff, this place is a labor of love and it shows. I can’t wait to come back.

Here is a video of Chef Stephen Stryjewski butchering a pig and making hot sausage with warm peaches.

For more great pics of some of the food at Cochon check out Jason Perlow’s Cochon post at Off The Broiler.

Also:

Robert at Appetites has a great review with pics here.

Cochon is located at:

Cochon
930 Tchopitoulas Street
New Orleans, LA 70130
(504) 588-2123
Email: info@cochonrestaurant.com

Be sure and check out my ever growing Index of Creole & Cajun Recipes which provides links to all of the recipes on this site!

Related Posts:

Andouille Sausage Recipe
Chaurice Sausage Recipe
Cochon Butcher right around the corner in the same building as Cochon
Pickle Meat Recipe
Boudin Recipe

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Chicken and Andouille Sausage Gumbo Recipe

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From Nola Cuisine

Yesterday was bitter cold here in the Detroit area, perfect Gumbo weather, so I whipped up a small batch to warm our souls.

When it comes to chicken for soups, I’m a leg & thigh man. For my money you can’t beat that moist, flavorful dark meat just melting away in the pot.

I don’t like my Gumbos too thick or too thin, but just in the middle, like velvet on your tongue.

It’s hard to believe that this is the first Gumbo that I’ve featured on this site, I don’t know how that happened, being that Gumbo is pretty much one of the cornerstones of New Orleans Cuisine, as well as one of my favorite things in the world to cook (and eat, for that matter). Better late than never I always say, here is the recipe:

Chicken and Andouille Sausage Gumbo Recipe

1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil
3/4 Cup All Purpose Flour
4 Tbsp Creole Seasoning
1 Cup Onions, diced
1/2 Cup Green Bell Pepper, diced
1/2 Cup Celery, Diced
1 1/2 Cups Andouille, sliced
3 Tbsp Garlic, chopped
6 Cups cold Chicken Stock
3 Fresh Bay Leaves
4 Chicken Thighs, seasoned liberally with Creole Seasoning
2 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
Hot Sauce to taste
Kosher Salt to taste, if necessary
2 Tablespoons Italian Parsley, chiffonade
1/4 Cup Thinly Sliced Green Onions
Creole Boiled Rice
Fresh French Bread

Bake the chicken thighs in a 350-400 degree oven until brown.
Mix your onion, celery, and bell pepper together: The Holy Trinity.
Heat the oil in a cast iron dutch oven over medium heat. Whisk in the flour to make a milk chocolate Roux (making a Roux). Add the Andouille, 1 Tbsp of Seasoning, and 3/4 of the Holy Trinity, cook, stirring often, for about ten minutes or until the vegetables soften. Add the cold stock, the remaining 1/4 trinity, remaining seasoning, and Garlic. Bring to a Boil. Bring this down to a simmer, add the baked thighs and let it go for at least 2 hours, stirring occasionally. About 10-15 minutes before you’re ready to serve, remove the Chicken from the bone and add the meat back to the pot. Add the Worcestershire, Hot Sauce, and 1/2 of the Green Onions. Serve with Creole Boiled Rice, crusty French Bread, and a good cold beer (I like Dixie or Abita Amber).
Garnish with green onions, and the parsley.

* I prefer Chicken Thighs for my soups and Gumbos. It’s the misunderstood portion of the bird, which is fine by me because it keeps the price down. I get them bone in, then Cartel wrap the bones and stick them in the freezer for stock. I’m like a Vulture when it comes to bones for stocks, my freezer looks like the Catacombs (animals only of course).

This makes about 3-4 Main Course Servings

Related Recipes:

Turtle Soup Recipe
Red Bean Soup Recipe

Check out my Creole & Cajun Recipe Page, an index of all of the recipes (so far) on this site!

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Homemade Tasso Recipe

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Tasso (TAH-so) is a smoked seasoning meat used to flavor dishes like Gumbo, Jambalaya, and Red Beans & Rice. Tasso used to be made from the trim after an Acadian Hog Boucherie, thin strips, heavily seasoned, dried, then smoked for hours. These days however, most of the Tasso that is available is a little more fancy, more of a ham than the style of the old days, mine is somewhere in between. I always find it amazing how ingredients and recipes, that basically came from scrap and the poorest times evolve into Gourmet, I love it. Tasso will keep in the freezer and is pretty easy to make, but you have to do a little planning.
A few Tips:
After seasoning it, I recommend keeping it in the fridge, at least 3 days to let it cure, look at how nice and pink the center is.
Take it easy on the Cayenne when making your seasoning blend, start off with a small amount, then add to your taste, the amount here is moderate. It should have some heat, but I don’t like losing control of the heat in a dish I’m cooking because my Tasso was too hot, so I cut it back a little, for the same reason that you don’t salt stocks.
Here is my recipe for Tasso. I used a Boneless Pork Roast cut into about 4-5 inch long, 1/2 to 1 inch thick slices. This is seasoning for about 5 lbs of pork:

Homemade Tasso Recipe

5 lbs Pork cut as described above
Seasoning:

3 Tbsp Kosher Salt
2 Tsp Cayenne or To Taste (see above)
4 Tbsp Paprika
2 Tbsp Fresh Garlic, minced
2 Tbsp Coarsely Ground Black Pepper
1 tsp Cinnamon
1 Tbsp White Pepper
1 Tbsp Brown Sugar

Mix the seasoning together well. Rub the seasoning into the meat, you want a lot on there, call it 1/8 inch, use it all. Place on a plate or tray, cover and refrigerate 3 days.

Before smoking put the Tasso on an elevated rack so that air can circulate around it, then put a fan on it for about 2 hours to dry it out. I also don’t use a water pan when smoking Tasso, this is something that I actually want to dry out during the smoking process.

I hot smoked this batch in an inexpensive upright barrel smoker using charcoal as the heat source (heated with a chimney starter, no lighter fluid or matchlight coals please.) I used Pecan chips that were soaked in water for 1 hour for the smoke.
I smoked this a total of about 4 hours, the first 2 hours at about 150-160 degrees F. The second two hours at 180-190 degrees F.
The object is to get as much smoke into the meat, before cooking it all the way through. I brought the internal temperature of the meat to 150 degrees F in the last 2 hours of smoking.
When finished I again put the Tasso in front of a fan for about 1 hour. Refrigerate. When completely cold portion and store the Tasso in vacuum sealed packages. Freeze.

Makes 5 lbs of Tasso

Related Links:

Andouille Sausage Recipe
Chaurice Sausage Recipe
Pickle Meat Recipe
More on Tasso:
Check out these Pics at Egullet of Wayne Jacob’s beautiful Tasso and Andouille, made the old way in LaPlace, Louisiana.

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