Edit ModuleShow Tags

Cooking Creole

Recipes with a local heritage

PHOTOGRAPHed and styled EUGENIA UHL

More than a decade ago when I was asked to write this column, editor Errol Laborde said, “Teach these people how to cook,” meaning young people who were giving up the traditions of the Creole kitchen to fast food and busy schedules.

A tall order, indeed, but one that excited me no end, having sampled this cooking since childhood in my grandmother’s kitchen and kitchens of other relatives on our annual two-week summer visits to south Louisiana. I felt like a native when I moved here permanently a few years later.

I am thankful that we still have our Creole haunts serving red beans and rice and boiled and fried seafood, available in hundreds of restaurants around town. I do think the joy of a true Creole dish, such as Creole daube or grits and grillades should never get lost from our recipe files, because family-style dining at home makes memories that are never forgotten. Out grandmothers’ recipes should still come to our tables occasionally because they’re the platform from which this world-famous food capital got its start.


Louisiana Courtbouillon
2 pounds fillets of red fish, snapper or other firm-fleshed fish
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 large onion, chopped
1 bunch green onions, chopped, green and white parts separated
1 bell pepper, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 14.5-ounce cans whole plum tomatoes, roughly puréed in a blender
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
Sea or kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper and cayenne pepper to taste
1 Tablespoon sugar
½ cup red wine
2 teaspoons Worcestershire
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
3 Tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
Cut fillets into 2-inch pieces and set aside.
  
 
In a large, heavy pot, combine oil and flour and stir over medium heat to make a medium brown roux. When the roux is the color of milk chocolate, add onions and sauté for 5 minutes. Add bell pepper and celery and sauté for 3 minutes. Add garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Add tomatoes, seasonings, sugar, wine, Worcestershire and lemon juice. Cover and simmer over low heat for 30 minutes.

Add fish and simmer for 5 minutes over low heat. Taste and adjust seasonings. Add parsley and 3 Tablespoons green onion tops and remove from heat. Remove bay leaves.

Serve over fluffy white rice with optional hot sauce.

Serves 4 to 6


Creole Daube
1 4-pound round or shoulder roast
2 large cloves garlic, peeled and cut into slivers
Sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, garlic powder and Creole seasoning
2 Tablespoons bacon drippings or vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 bell pepper, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 carrots, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
2 cups homemade or canned beef broth
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire
1 cup dry red wine
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
Pinch cayenne pepper or to taste
3 Tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped


With a sharp, slender knife or ice pick make holes in the roast on all sides 1-2 inches apart and insert slivers of garlic, pulling the meat back together over the garlic. Sprinkle the roast heavily on all sides with seasonings.

Heat bacon drippings or oil in a large Dutch oven on top of the stove, and brown the roast on all sides over medium-high heat. Remove roast to a plate and sauté onions in pot until transparent. Add bell pepper, celery and carrots and sauté a few minutes. Add additional garlic and sauté 1 minute more. Return roast to pot, moving aside vegetables and spooning them on top of the roast, cover and simmer over low heat until meat begins to make its own juice, about 20 minutes. Add tomato paste, beef broth, wine and all seasonings except parsley, cover and simmer over low heat for about 2 ½ hours or until beef is tender. Turn half way through cooking. Adjust seasonings, and stir parsley into gravy.

To serve, slice roast across the grain and serve with pasta, rice or mashed potatoes.

Serves 8


Crawfish Étouffée
1 pound Louisiana crawfish tails with fat, fresh or frozen
1 stick plus 1 Tablespoon butter, divided
1 onion, chopped
1/2 bell pepper, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch green onions, chopped, green and white parts divided
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon tomato paste
¾ cup canned tomatoes
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 ½ cup water or seafood stock
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire
Sea or kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper and cayenne pepper, to taste
1/2 teaspoon thyme or Italian seasoning
1 bay leaf
1/3 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
If using frozen crawfish, thaw.


Melt 1 stick butter in a large heavy skillet or medium pot. Sauté white onions over medium high heat until transparent. Add bell pepper and celery and sauté several minutes more. Add garlic and sauté 1 minute more. Stir in flour and mix well, simmering and stirring for about 5 minutes.

Stir in tomato products, lemon juice, water or stock and all seasonings except parsley.

Cover and cook over low heat for 20 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings. Stir in 3 Tablespoons green onion tops, parsley and 1 Tablespoon butter. Remove bay leaf.

Serve over fluffy white rice with optional hot sauce.

Serves 4 to 6

 

 

You Might Also Like

Grill Talk

Quick and easy for hot days

Growing a Green Thumb

Do-It-Yourself Tips for Making the Most out of Your Garden

Signature Holiday Cocktail and Dessert

Tales and the Mule

The cocktail world’s beating heart

Throw Me A Cabbage

Irish traditions; international recipes

Add your comment: