Photo Courtesy to Dragana Harris
For foodies, Louisiana is great not only when it comes alive in the spring, but any time of year. When thinking about cuisines that are native to Louisiana, it’s hard to find a dish without Creole or Cajun influences.
Though both have connections to French cooking techniques, the main difference between Creole and Cajun dishes is that Creole food uses tomatoes or tomato-based sauce while Cajun food traditionally does not. But you won’t have to travel all the way to Louisiana to try its delicious foods — these recipes will allow you to make them in the comfort of your own home.
If you’re looking for a brilliant way to use up leftover chicken, throw it into some gumbo. This is perfect if you’re not a big fan of seafood. This gumbo is best served over boudin rice, which is made with cooked pork shoulder.
You haven’t had the true New Orleans experience until you’ve sat down with your friends, cracked open a beer and stuffed your face with crawfish. The Southern tradition calls for you to toss some boiled crawfish on the table — on top of newspaper or a table cloth — along with cooked potatoes, corn, garlic, andouille sausages and more.
Jambalaya is a Cajun rice dish made of smoked meats, seafood and vegetables that is native to Louisiana with Spanish, French and West African influences. It may not contain the world’s hottest hot sauces, but with a blend of Crystal Hot Sauce, cayenne powder and jalapeno peppers, this dish packs a punch.
Much like gumbo, etouffee can be found in both Creole and Cajun cuisines. It is a type of stew typically served with shellfish over rice. However, the difference between the dish and its Louisiana cousin, gumbo, is etouffee has a thicker sauce and only includes shrimp or crawfish. To enhance this tasty experience, this recipe includes pouring the dark roux from the etouffee over grits. This is one meal Southerners always have on their breakfast table.
Dirty rice will most likely be found at the best soul food restaurants in America, and it pairs perfectly with gumbo and etouffee. The “dirty” part of its name comes from the color of the white rice when it is cooked with chopped or ground meat, such as pork, chicken or beef, and mixed with cayenne pepper, onions and more. Though often cooked on a stovetop, this recipe suggests baking it to make the rice moist and fluffy.
The difference between etouffee and creole is that instead of using the thick roux found in etouffee, creole has a thinner sauce and often uses diced tomatoes as a base. Cooked shrimp, the holy trinity of onion, celery and bell pepper, along with a cayenne-based seasoning mix are added to the tomato base. Usually, it’s served over steamed or boiled white rice. This is one of those dishes that are easy to make ahead and freeze. It can also be served on quinoa or pasta instead of white rice.
This recipe could be made in a cast-iron pan, but this preparation uses a pressure cooker or multicooker. The recipe uses some of the ingredients found in most Cajun cuisines, like onions, bell peppers and spicy Cajun seasoning. She uses chicken sausage but you can substitute in any meat or even seafood of your choice.
A traditional po’boy sandwich is made with French bread, which has a crispy crust but a fluffy center. It’s one of the best sandwiches in Louisiana. You can choose to eat this sandwich with meat, but it’s best to use shrimp or crawfish. Most restaurants will ask if you want your sandwich “dressed,” which means adding lettuce, pickle, tomatoes and a special type of mayonnaise.
Remoulade is a combination of mayonnaise, herbs, pickles and more that originated in France. But when Louisiana took this mayo-based sauce, it added creole mustard, cayenne pepper and other ingredients that gave it its reddish color and spicy flavor.
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Though this dish is traditionally made with rice, it can also make for a great-tasting pasta dish. This recipe takes this Cajun classic and adds linguini pasta to the usual Cajun spice blend. It calls for chicken but you can replace it with your meat of choice, such as andouille sausage.
Photo Courtesy of The Chopping Block
This classic Cajun dish might be served up at the best seafood shacks in America, but that doesn’t mean you can’t try your hand at the delicacy. The shucked oysters are topped with fresh green herbs, such as parsley, butter and bread crumbs, and then baked or broiled.
Photo Courtesy of Claw Daddy's
Boudin is the combination of cooked rice, pork, onions, green pepper and a seasoning blend all stuffed inside of a sausage casing. As the name implies, these ingredients are shaped into a ball before being deep-fried.
Red beans and rice is a very versatile dish that can act as a side or the entree for a delicious Sunday dinner at home. This recipe consists of cooked rice, red beans, fresh celery and a smoked turkey leg. Serve it up with a slice of cornbread, a classic Southern staple. If you feel like you have mastered these Creole and Cajun recipes, there are still more Southern foods that you need to try.
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