Tag Archives: new orleans

Homemade Creole Cream Cheese Ice Cream

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Here is the latest batch of Creole Cream Cheese Ice Cream, made from the Creole Cream Cheese which I made the other day. It’s texture is like velvet, and the flavor like frozen cheesecake, I can’t get enough. I made a quick strawberry sauce to accompany this (recipe follows), though it goes just fine all alone. The recipes:

Homemade Creole Cream Cheese Ice Cream Recipe

1 Cup Heavy Cream
1/2 Cup Whole Milk
2/3 Cup Granulated Sugar
1 Tbsp Vanilla Extract
6 Large Egg Yolks
2/3 Cup Creole Cream Cheese
1/3 Cup good quality Sour Cream or Creme Fraiche

Combine the Cream, Milk, Sugar, and Vanilla in a saucepan over medium heat. Heat until the mixture just starts to boil, remove from the heat. Put the egg yolks in a large mixing bowl, then temper the yolks with a little of the milk mixture. Combine the two mixtures. then return them to the saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly. Cook the custard until it coats the back of a wooden spoon, 2-4 minutes, DO NOT BOIL. Strain into a mixing bowl and refrigerate until chilled, at least a few hours (you want it very cold before it enters the ice cream machine). Meanwhile, combine the Creole Cream Cheese and Sour Cream then put them through a fine mesh sieve, mashing them through with the back of a wooden spoon. When the custard is cold, fold in the Creole Cream Cheese and Sour Cream. Freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Serve as is or freeze overnight for a firmer ice cream.

Makes 1 Quart (You’ll wish you had doubled it! My Creole Cream Cheese Recipe makes enough for a double batch of Ice Cream.)

Strawberry Dessert Sauce Recipe

1 Cup Fresh Strawberries, chopped
3/4 Cup Granulated Sugar
3 Tbsp Grand Marnier

Add the ingredients to a heavy bottomed saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the strawberries break down slightly, and the sauce reduces a bit. Chill.

I also added some additional chopped fresh strawberries to the cooled sauce for more texture.

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

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Creole Cream Cheese Recipe

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From Nola Cuisine

I made a fresh batch of Creole Cream Cheese yesterday that I finished today. I just ate what you see in the picture, sprinkled heavily with sugar, and I can tell you honestly, you don’t know what you’re missing if you don’t try this recipe. This is the easiest cheese in the world to make, and you will learn more on its versatility, when I post further with recipes for Creole Cream Cheese Cheescake, and Creole Cream Cheese Ice Cream (a.k.a Frozen Creole Cream Cheese, my fave, which I will make in the next few days.

By the way, what I used for a cheese mold this time was an inexpensive silicone muffin tin, which I punched drainage holes into with a hole puncher, traditionally used for paper (but not here on Nola Cuisine).

The way I have presented Creole Cream Cheese here is at its simplest, the way it was meant to be served; sweetened with fresh fruit and cream as a breakfast treat. Give it a shot, it is extremely cheap and easy to make.

I wrote an extensive post on this subject with the recipe just over a year ago, which I am including below because:

a.) I didn’t have this wonderful camera to show the fruits (no pun intended) of my labor a year ago, and a picture is, as they say, worth a thousand words.

b.) I worked hard reasearching this post, so it bears repeating, at least for my sake (or your sake if you plan on making this recipe.)

Here is the post and recipe from July 29, 2005, about a month before Hurricane She Who Shall Not Be Named reared her ugly head on the wonderful city of New Orleans. I hope you enjoy and learn as much from this post as I did researching and making the dish:

Creole Cream Cheese used to be widely available in New Orleans, over time however it became harder to find, and never outside of Louisiana. It’s a soft cheese eaten as a breakfast treat, sprinkled with sugar, covered with cream or half & half, and usually fresh fruit. This is what “>The Picayune’s Creole Cookbook of 1901 had to say about the subject:

Cream Cheese is always made from clabbered milk. The ‘Cream Cheese Woman’ is still as common a sight on our New Orleans streets as the Cala Woman was in the days gone by. She carries a covered basket in which are a number of small perforated tins in which the Cheeses are. In her other hand she carries a can of fresh Cream. She sells her wares to her regular customers, for the old Creoles who do not make their own Cream Cheese are very particular as to whom they buy from, and when once a good careful, clean woman gets a ‘customer’ she keeps her during her period of business, coming every fast day and Friday with her Cheese and Cream, for this is a great fast-day breakfast and luncheon dish.

The “Cream Cheese Woman” has long ago gone the way of the “Cala Woman”, but fortunately for me, I enjoy making it myself. It’s a fairly long but very simple process; combined, about 10 minutes of actual work. Rennet is a coagulating enzyme which comes from a young animal’s stomach, but there are also vegetable varieties. It comes in liquid or tablet form, I use the liquid animal variety. Although I had a hard time finding it in my area, you may find it in tablet form in the baking aisle at your grocer. If not, do what I did and order it from Cheese Supply(dot)com. The shipping is a little steep for just a small item, so I ordered some Manchego, Cheesecloth, and a few other items to pad the bill. The recipe:

Creole Cream Cheese Recipe

2 Quarts Skim Milk
1/4 Cup Buttermilk
8 drops Liquid Rennet or 2 tablets
Cheesecloth

Combine the skim and buttermilk in a good sized saucepan. Over medium heat bring the mixture to 110 degrees F, stirring occasionally. Pour the heated mixture into a large, non-metal bowl. Add the rennet, stir and cover with cheesecloth. Let stand at room temperature for 24 hours. After a few hours there should be chunks (Curds) and liquid (Whey), try to keep Miss Muffet at bay. Line a colander with a double layer of cheesecloth, then spoon the curds into the colander, try to keep them intact. Let this drain for 1 hour or until it is one solid piece. Discard the Whey, or make Ricotta, which is made from cooked Whey. I haven’t tried it yet, but next time I will. Place gently into a bowl and keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Serve with sugar, half & half, and fresh fruit.

*New* I have another recipe for Creole Cream Cheese that says you cannot use Homogenized milk. I’ll have to locate some to see if there is any difference in the finished product. The same recipe states you can substitute reconstituted dry skim milk. Another variation in this recipe is the use of Plain Yogurt as the culture, in place of the buttermilk. I will post when I try this.

Be sure and check out my ever growing Index of Creole & Cajun Recipes! It’s an index with links to all of the recipes featured on this site. Also check out my new sister site to Nola Cuisine called American Gourmand!

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File Gumbo Recipe

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I finally got around to making a Fil&#233 Gumbo to take my pure Sassafras Fil&#233 powder for a test spin. I found that the flavor is much more subtle, and the thickening power is about 10 times that of the store bought. I’ve always felt that the store bought Fil&#233 always hijacks the flavor of my Gumbos, which means all of my hard work with seasoning and flavor are dashed with a dash of store bought Fil&#233. I like to serve my Fil&#233 at the table so my guests can add as much or as little as they like. Here is the recipe:

Fil&#233 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 Cup Andouille, sliced or diced
1/2 Cup Tasso, diced
3 Tbsp Garlic, chopped
8 Cups Shrimp or Seafood Stock
3 Fresh Bay Leaves
4 Chicken Thighs, boned cut into 1″ pieces, then seasoned liberally with Creole Seasoning
2 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
Hot Sauce to taste
1 lb. Fresh Shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 Dozen Oysters, shucked
Kosher Salt to taste, if necessary
2 Tbsp Italian Parsley, chopped
1/4 Cup Thinly Sliced Green Onions
Creole Boiled Rice
Fresh French Bread
Fil&#233 Powder at the table

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 and cook 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. Gradually whisk in the stock, then add the remaining seasoning, and Garlic. Bring to a Boil, then down to a simmer for at least 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Add the chicken and simmer until cooked through. About 10 minutes before you’re ready to serve add the shrimp, cook until done, then add the oysters and cook until the edges curl. 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, parsley, and Fil&#233 powder at the table.

* 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

Be sure to check out my ever growing Index of Creole & Cajun Recipes.

For more information on Fil&#233 see the following posts:

Homemade Fil&#233 Powder Recipe
Sassafras trees & FIl&#233 Powder
Fil&#233 Powder

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Homemade Fil&#233 Powder

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From Nola Cuisine

I finally made a small batch of homemade Fil&#233 Powder, and I can’t believe the difference between the true Fil&#233 and the store bought variety.

The Fil&#233 that I made smells subtle and fruity like coriander seeds, or as my wife said, “Fruit Loops.” It’s color as you can see, is army green, and I’m assuming that it’s thickening power is way more intense than the store bought, which I’ve noticed has zero thickening power at all, and has a flavor that can almost take over the flavor of your Gumbo.

The store bought Fil&#233 smells very woodsy, and you can detect some thyme and possibly some bay leaf in there, it’s color is tan. One that I saw recently contained Sage, Oregano, and Thyme, and no Sassafras at all. There are definately some good ones out there, but definately some really bad ones. For example, here is a picture of the two side by side, the store bought is in the background, my homemade is in the foreground:

From Nola Cuisine

The following is from the 1978 book Creole Gumbo and All That Jazz by Howard Mitcham:

The Story of Fil&#233

For hundreds of years the Choctaw Indians have had a settlement at Bayou Lacombe on the North Shore of Lake Pontchartrain, and they had a way of making Gumbo long before the white man and the black man arrived. They invented fil&#233 (pronounced feelay). The tender green leaves of the sassafras tree are gathered, dried, and ground to a powder. Only a few tablespoons of the powder will thicken a whole pot of Gumbo and give it a flavor that’s spicy and pleasant. The fil&#233 must always be added after the pot is removed from the fire. If allowed to boil, it becomes stringy and unpalatable. Okra and fil&#233 should never be used together in a Gumbo or it will be as thick as mud. The Creoles in New Orleans used fil&#233 only in the wintertime, when fresh okra was not available but many Cajuns prefer fil&#233 gumbo year-round. They pass a big bowl of fil&#233 around at the table, so that all the guests may take as much as they want.

The Indians also supplied dried bay leaves (laurel), an essential flavoring element in most Creole soups and stews. At the old French Market there were always several Choctaws sitting in the shade of the arcade, peddling their small caches of fil&#233 and dried bundles of bay leaves.

On several visits to Bayou Lacombe a few years ago I was fortunate enough to meet one of the last of those Indian fil&#233 makers. His name was Nick Ducre, and he was over eighty-five, very proud, wise and independent. He owned a few acres of very valuable land on the banks of the bayou. Rich folks had built up bayou estates all around him, but he clung to his land and kept it in a primitive state with plenty of game-coons, possums, squirrels, rabbits, and even a few deer. A great story teller, he told us much about the good old days in the early part of the century. Once a month he would take a schooner across the lake to New Orleans and sell his fil&#233 and bay leaves at the market at the New Basin Canal. He would sell out in one day, buy himself a pint of whiskey, and sail for home that night, a happy Indian.

At our last parting Nick gave me a sample jar of his homemade fil&#233, and I made a pot of gumbo with part of it. Because I didn’t realize just how strong it was, I overdid it. That gumbo got so thick, the stirring spoon stood upright in it. I have saved the rest of that fil&#233 as a memento of one of the best Indians I ever knew.

So whenever you eat gumbo fil&#233, give a thought to the almost vanished Choctaws of Lacombe. fil&#233 of a commercial grade can be purchased at any grocery store in New Orleans and in the Cajun country, but the homemade kind is stronger and tastier. If you can’t find an Indian source, you can make it yourself by pounding dried sassafras leaves with pestle and mortar. And while you’re at it, pound up a few bay leaves for a terrific flavoring element.

The Choctaws and their Fil&#233 are long gone from the French Market, which is now little more than a tourist trap to purchase Mardi Gras beads, T-shirts, and a million varieties of hot sauce. It’s still a must stop though, if just to feel the history of the old French Market.

Here is a quote from Leah Chase regarding Fil&#233 from the 1978 publication Creole Feast by Nathaniel Burton & Rudy Lombard:

I don’t buy the fil&#233 powder for my gumbo off the shelves. My daddy makes it for me. He grinds it himself and it is perfect because it is pure sassafras. He has sassafras trees and he dries the leaves. The fil&#233 from a store will have maybe a little bay leaf in it and it’s much weaker. Mine is pure sassafras, nothing mixed in, and it’s always fresh and strong. Daddy sends it to me in little mayonnaise bottles.

From Nola Cuisine

How to make homemade Fil&#233 Powder

Locate a Sassafras tree and take some branches containing the younger, more tender leaves.

From Nola Cuisine

Hang the branches outside to dry (preferably out of the direct sun) for about one week.

From Nola Cuisine
From Nola Cuisine

When the leaves are completely dry, remove the leaves from the stems and pulverize very well in a mortar and pestle, or an electric coffee grinder as I did.

Pass the powder through a very fine sieve, or a metal coned coffee filter as I did. It was a painstaking process as the mesh was too fine, but it worked to remove all of the little twigs, and tough pieces.

Store in an airtight container and keep out of the sunlight.

I feel a Fil&#233 Gumbo in Nola Cuisine’s very near future, I will keep you posted.

**Update** I recently noticed a container of Tony Chachere’s File powder at the store and picked some up. It’s the real deal, pure Sassafras, just like my homemade. Highly recommended!

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

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Chicken Pontalba Recipe

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From Nola Cuisine

This is the last of the fancy New Orleans Chicken dishes that I’m going to feature for awhile, and I finished with my absolute favorite.
This dish was created by the great dutch Chef Paul Blange during the early days of Brennan’s Restaurant. It’s named for the Baroness Micaela Pontalba, famous for supervising the construction of the Pontalba buildings on the uptown and downtown sides of Jackson Square, and for the beautification of the square itself in 1848.
Legend has it that her friend Andrew Jackson, once failed to raise his hat to the Baroness, so when she funded the statue baring his likeness she insisted that sculptor Clark Mills depict Jackson forever raising his hat toward her apartment building. Probably not true, but it’s one hell of a fun story.

The Recipe:

Chciken Pontalba Recipe

2 Boneless, skinless Chicken Thighs, lightly pounded
1 Large Baking Potato, cut into 1/2 inch dice
3/4 Cup Ham, Diced
1 Small Onion Diced
1 1/2 Cups Mushrooms, thickly sliced
2 Tbsp Garlic, Minced
1/2 Cup Dry White Wine
2 Tbsp Italian Parsley, Minced
1/2 Cup All purpose Flour
Kosher salt & Black Pepper
Cayenne
4 Tbsp Unsalted Butter, in all
Vegetable Oil
1 Recipe Bearnaise Sauce

Preheat an oven to 400 degrees F.
Toss the Potatoes in 2 Tbsp Vegetable oil and season liberally with kosher salt and black pepper. Layer on a baking sheet and bake for 40 minutes or until golden and crispy.

In the meantime, season the flour with salt, black pepper, and cayenne. Season the thighs also, then dredge them in the flour.

When the potatoes are almost ready, heat 2 Tbsp butter and 1 Tbsp Vegetable Oil in a saute pan. When the fat is hot, brown the chicken quickly on both sides, place on a ovenproof dish and finish in the oven.

In the same saute pan, add the ham and onions, saute until golden brown and the onions are tender. Add the mushrooms, garlic, and a Tbsp more butter. Saute for 2-3 minutes. Deglaze the pan with the wine, and cook until the alcohol evaporates.
Fold in the brabant potatoes from the oven and 1 Tbsp of the parsley, taste for seasonings. just before serving incorporate the last Tbsp of butter.

Split the potato mixture between two heated plates. Top each with a chicken thigh, and finish with a generous portion of Bearnaise sauce. Garnish with minced parsley.

Serves 2.

More fancy New Orleans Chicken dishes at Nola Cuisine:

Chicken Clemenceau
Chicken Bonne Femme
Chicken Rochambeau

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Chicken Rochambeau Recipe

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From Nola Cuisine Images – (reedited)

Since I mentioned the fancy New Orleans chicken dishes in my Chicken Clemenceau post, I figured I would feature a few more. This is a favorite at Antoine’s* though they use a Brown Rochambeau Sauce, where I use Marchand de Vin.

*Note* – Antoine’s reopened December 29th.

Chicken Rochambeau Recipe

2 Chicken Breasts about 4-6 ounces each
2 Slices French Bread, 1/2 inch thick rounds, toasted under the broiler on both sides
2 Round Slices of Ham, lightly browned in butter
1/2 Recipe Marchand de Vin Sauce
1 Recipe Bearnaise Sauce
Parsley, finely chopped for garnish

For the Poaching Liquid:
3 Lemon slices
1 sprig Parsley
1 Bay leaf
1 tsp Black Peppercorns
1 tsp Kosher Salt

Place the lemon slices, parsley, peppercorns, the bay leaf, and salt in a large saucespan. Cover with water by 2 inches. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to the point where the water is just steaming, just under a simmer. Add the chicken breasts, poach until they are just cooked through.

To assemble:
In the center of two heated serving plates, place the french bread rounds. Next, place the ham and top with a generous portion of Marchand de Vin. Place the chicken on the Marchand de Vin, finish with a generous portion of Bearnaise. Garnish with the chopped parsley.

Makes 2 Servings

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

Related Posts:

Chicken Bonne Femme
Chicken Clemenceau

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Chicken Clemenceau Recipe

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From Nola Cuisine Images – (reedited)

This dish is one of the famous Chicken creations of New Orleans, along with Chicken Bon Femme (different from the French), Chicken Pontalba, and Chicken Rochambeau. It’s named for Georges Clemenceau (1841-1929), a French statesman who became the French Premier in 1906.
I’m not sure who created this dish, but Galatoire’s serves a wonderful version, which this one is loosely based on. It’s generally made with a whole cut up chicken, but I’ve used chicken breast here because it was just my wife and I for dinner, and that is what I had handy.
Brabant Potatoes, are usually fried, but I baked them here with great results.
Although I generally object to anything army green in my cooking, I prefer the canned baby peas (petit pois) for this recipe. They don’t look as pretty as fresh or frozen, but I think the flavor and texture are better, and more authentic.

Chicken Clemenceau Recipe

4 Tbsp Unsalted Butter, in all
2 Chicken Breasts, lightly pounded
2 Cups Mushrooms, thickly sliced
1 Small Onion, chopped
2 Green Onions, sliced
3 Large Cloves Garlic, minced
1/2 Cup Dry White Wine
Kosher Salt & Black Pepper
3 Tbsp Vegetable Oil, in all
1 Large Russet Potato, 1/2 inch dice
2 Tbsp Italian Parsley, minced
1 Cup Small Green Peas, canned (Petit Pois)

Preheat an oven to 400 degrees F.
Toss the diced potatoes in 2 Tbsp of the oil and season liberally with kosher salt and black pepper. Place on a baking sheet, and into the oven for 45 minutes, occasionally turning them with a spatula for even browning.

When the potatoes are almost golden brown, heat 2 Tbsp of the butter, and 1 Tbsp of the oil in an ovenproof skillet. When the fat is bubbling and hot, add the chicken breasts, which have been seasoned with kosher salt & black pepper, brown quickly on both sides, remove to a plate.

In the same hot pan add the mushrooms, saute until golden brown. Add the onions and garlic, season with a little salt and pepper, saute until the onions are almost tender and have some color. Deglaze the pan with the white wine, cook for 2 minutes. Stir in 1 Tbsp of the parsley.
Place the chicken back in the pan and cover with some of the “sauce.” Place in the oven until the chicken is just cooked through.

To Assemble:
Divide the brabant potatoes between two warmed plates, making a pile in the center, place a chicken breast on each.
Melt the remaining butter into the sauce, and fold in the Petit Pois until just warmed through. Divide the sauce over the two chicken breasts and garnish with the remaining parsley.

Serves 2.

More New Orleans style Chicken Recipes at Nola Cuisine:

Chicken Bonne Femme Recipe
Chicken Pontalba
Chicken Rochambeau

Related Recipes:

Brabant Potatoes Recipe

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Andouille Sausage Recipe

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From Nola Cuisine

I started making my own Andouille a few years back because the stuff they sell in the grocery stores here in Michigan is a joke, you may as well break open a package of Oscar Meyer hot dogs for your Gumbo.
You know the kind I mean, basically Alpo, stuffed into a casing and injected with liquid smoke. I can’t use that garbage, so I make my own. Andouille is a cornerstone to many great New Orleans & Louisiana dishes, so you really need a good one! I would rather use a good quality Kielbasa, than a cut rate Andouille. The better the Andouille, the better the dish! Luckily, I enjoy making sausage, it is a very worth while investment of time if your finished product turns out well. Here is how I go about it.

I used a nice fatty, 5# boston butt, trimmed of tough connective tissue. Fat is good for sausage, especially Andouille. You want about 75% lean/25% fat. Here I hand chopped half of the meat into 1/4 inch pieces for texture, and ground the rest. The recipe:

Andouille Sausage Recipe

5# Pork (I prefer a Boston Butt) Trimmed of tough connective tissue and cut into 2 inch cubes.

Combine the following in a bowl:
2 tsp of Cayenne or to taste (Remember, if you make it too hot, every dish you make with it will be too hot! Start off with a little, you can add more after you taste the finished seasoning)
1 Tbsp Paprika
1/4 Cup Chopped Fresh Garlic
1/8 Cup Fresh Ground Black Pepper
3 Tbsp Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt
1 Tbsp Fresh Thyme leaves, chopped
1 tsp Crushed Red Pepper
1 healthy pinch Cure #1 (1 tsp. of “cure” per 5# of meat)
1/2 Cup Ice Water

Toss this mixture with the meat, making sure it is well coated. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1-2 days.

**Note – Prague Powder#1 is used for wet curing meats, to retain color and freshness. It is a ratio of 16 oz. salt to 1 ounce sodium nitrate.

Chop half of the meat into 1/4 inch pieces and grind the other half with a coarse grinding plate. Mix the two together with:

1/8 Cup Non-Fat Powdered Milk (this is a binder)

Stuff the sausage into prepared Hog Casings (Beef middle casings if you can find them). Here is my method of Linking Sausage.

Tie each sausage link with kitchen string to make a loop for hanging. Hang uncovered in the refrigerator overnight. This step is to let the casings dry out to allow smoke absorption, very important.

I smoked this in an inexpensive upright barrel smoker, with charcoal as the heat source, and unsoaked Pecan chips for the smoke. The sausage was hung beneath the top rack, no water pan.

I smoked this at 130º F for 2 hours, then increased the heat to 165º F for another 2 1/2 hours, refreshing the wood chips as needed. The trick here, is to get as much smoke flavor into the sausage before it is actually cooked through, and too hot of a temperature will render the fat out of your sausage. I controlled the temp by the number of coals, and keeping them piled up and pushed to one side. When you spread your coals out the temperature will increase. I added more coals to reach the 165º F mark.

The internal temperature of the sausage should read 155º F on an instant read thermometer. Remove at this point and immediately spray with cold water. Hang at room temperature in front of a fan for 1 hour then refrigerate overnight, uncovered.

Portion and store in vacuum sealed packages in the freezer.

Other recipes for Sausages and Seasoning Meats at Nola Cuisine:

Here is my Latest Batch of Andouille Sausage!

Chaurice Sausage Recipe
Cornbread and Andouille Sausage Recipe
Tasso Recipe
Pickled Pork Recipe

My post about my visit to Jacob’s Andouille.

Check out Egullet’s, Eating Louisiana Andouille page, with pics from Wayne Jacob’s, and Jacob’s Andouille, in the Andouille capital, Laplace, Louisiana.

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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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Creole Cream Cheese Recipe

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Creole Cream Cheese used to be widely available in New Orleans, over time however it became harder to find, and never outside of Louisiana. It’s a soft cheese eaten as a breakfast treat, sprinkled with sugar, covered with cream or half & half, and usually fresh fruit. This is what The Picayune’s Creole Cookbook of 1901 had to say about the subject:

Cream Cheese is always made from clabbered milk. The ‘Cream Cheese Woman’ is still as common a sight on our New Orleans streets as the Cala Woman was in the days gone by. She carries a covered basket in which are a number of small perforated tins in which the Cheeses are. In her other hand she carries a can of fresh Cream. She sells her wares to her regular customers, for the old Creoles who do not make their own Cream Cheese are very particular as to whom they buy from, and when once a good careful, clean woman gets a ‘customer’ she keeps her during her period of business, coming every fast day and Friday with her Cheese and Cream, for this is a great fast-day breakfast and luncheon dish.

The “Cream Cheese Woman” has long ago gone the way of the “Cala Woman”, but fortunately for me, I enjoy making it myself. It’s a fairly long but very simple process; combined, about 10 minutes of actual work. Rennet is a coagulating enzyme which comes from a young animal’s stomach, but there are also vegetable varieties. It comes in liquid or tablet form, I use the liquid animal variety. Although I had a hard time finding it in my area, you may find it in tablet form in the baking aisle at your grocer. If not, do what I did and order it from Cheese Supply(dot)com. The shipping is a little steep for just a small item, so I ordered some Manchego, Cheesecloth, and a few other items to pad the bill. The recipe:

Creole Cream Cheese Recipe

2 Quarts Skim Milk
1/4 Cup Buttermilk
8 drops Liquid Rennet or 2 tablets
Cheesecloth

Combine the skim and buttermilk in a good sized saucepan. Over medium heat bring the mixture to 110 degrees F, stirring occasionally. Pour the heated mixture into a large, non-metal bowl. Add the rennet, stir and cover with cheesecloth. Let stand at room temperature for 24 hours. After a few hours there should be chunks (Curds) and liquid (Whey), try to keep Miss Muffet at bay. Line a colander with a double layer of cheesecloth, then spoon the curds into the colander, try to keep them intact. Let this drain for 1 hour or until it is one solid piece. Discard the Whey, or make Ricotta, which is made from cooked Whey. I haven’t tried it yet, but next time I will. Place gently into a bowl and keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Serve with sugar, half & half, and fresh fruit.

*New* I have another recipe for Creole Cream Cheese that says you cannot use Homogenized milk. I’ll have to locate some to see if there is any difference in the finished product. The same recipe states you can substitute reconstituted dry skim milk. Another variation in this recipe is the use of Plain Yogurt as the culture, in place of the buttermilk. I will post when I try this.

There are some companies making this product:

Chef John Folse’s Bittersweet Plantation Dairy
Mauthe’s Creole Cream Cheese, although their website isn’t working.

Recipes using Creole Cream Cheese:

Creole Cream Cheese Ice Cream

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