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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