Smothered Pork Roast

When pork butt went on sale at our grocery, I immediately knew what I would make – this Donald Link roast recipe from his cookbook Real Cajun that I have been eyeing for over a year now.  If any of you want a good cajun cookbook, I definitely recommend this one.  The spicy crawfish fettucine is particularly scrumptious (and fattening).

This pork roast lived up to my expectations.  And I am really more of a beef roast person than pork. The gravy in this roast was the best gravy I’ve ever made – why have I never thought to make a roux for roast gravy?? Duhh.  I was also surprised at how non-cajuny this tasted.  With all the onion, butter, and thyme, it really tasted more like a French dish.  No complaints there.

We ate this over rice and then for leftovers on a toasted baguette with melted swiss cheese and ground mustard, mayo, and hot sauce.  Why do sammiches always get second billing as leftovers?  It’s always my fave.

This roast makes a TON.  I have two containers full in the freezer right now.  So if this snow/sleet/cold storm is as wicked as people are supposing (seriously, Charleston peeps are freaking out and giving me hurricane flashbacks), you know what I will be eating for the next few days.

Smothered Pork Roast – from Donald Link’s Real Cajun

Ingredients:

  • 6-7 lb boneless pork roast (shoulder or butt)
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 large onions, thinly sliced
  • 8 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 3 T. fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 T. vegetable oil
  • 8 T. (1 stick) butter
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon (optional)

Trim fat off pork roast.  Season the pork very generously with salt and pepper, rubbing seasoning in.  Set roast aside for 30 mins – 1 hour at room temp.

Combine onions, garlic, thyme, and rosemary in medium mixing bowl and toss to combine.

Heat vegetable oil in a dutch oven over medium-high heat.   When oil is very hot, sear the meat on all sides until deeply browned and crusty.  Transfer meat to a plate.

Reduce heat to medium and stir butter into dutch oven.  When butter has melted, stir in the flour to make a roux.  Continue cooking, stirring (pretty much constantly) until the roux turns a dark peanut butter color.

Add the onion mixture and cook for a couple of minutes until the mixture is thick.  Add the chicken broth and bring to a simmer.

Add the pork into the dutch oven and spoon some of the onion mixture on top of the meat.  Cover and roast for around 3 hours, turning and basting the pork every 30 minutes.  You know it is done when the meat breaks apart easily when pressed with a fork. Skim fat off the top.  I went ahead and shredded the pork with a fork entirely in the gravy, rather than taking it out and slicing it up.

Serve the meat over rice or on a toasted baguette.

IMG_6619

Advertisements

Catfish Courtbouillon

My cousin Ali and I made the most scrumptious cajun dish – catfish courtbouillon.  We subbed  snapper for the catfish since Ali had some on hand she had caught.  I don’t say upgrade because I lurrrve me some catfish.  But it was super delicious with snapper, too.

My go-to chef for cajun dishes is John Folse (followed by Donald Link).  His website has so many recipes.  We used his Catfish Courtbouillon recipe with some adjustments.  It is written rather confusingly.  But, it still turned out great!

A cajun courtbouillon is a fish stew that starts off with a roux, to which you add veggies and fish.  Yes, I know “fish stew” does not sound like the kind of dish you are just dying to run out and make ASAP.  But, trust me, this is an awesome, basic, hug your belly kinda recipe.  Served over rice, it is comfort in a bowl.

It is quite pretty, too, especially for the holidays – look at that red and green.

IMG_6198

Ingredients

  • 1 (3-5 pound) catfish – filleted and cut into small pieces of fish, reserving bones and excess parts for stock
  • 1 cup oil
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 cups chopped onions
  • 2 cups chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped yellow bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 2 tbsps chopped garlic
  • 1 cup diced tomatoes
  • 1 can Rotel tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  • juice of one lemon
  • 3 bay leaves
  • pinch of thyme
  • 1 cup chopped green onions
  • salt and red pepper to taste
  • Excess ingredients for stock: one cubed onion, one stalk of celery, 2 bay leaves, 1 T peppercorns


Fillet the catfish and cut into two inch square cubes. Place the bones and head in a pot with one gallon of water, one cubed onion, one stalk of celery, 2 bay leaves and a tablespoon of peppercorns. Bring to a rolling boil and cook 30 minutes, skimming the impurities that rise to the surface. Strain and reserve 3 quarts for the courtbouillon.

In a large dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add flour and using a wire whip stir constantly until dark brown roux is achieved – at medium heat.

If you have never made a roux before, it is really quite simple.  Just constantly stir to ensure it does not burn.  If you are making your first roux, just lower the heat.  This will make your roux take longer but will make you less stressed about it burning.  When it becomes that perfect dark brown (darker than peanut butter), it is done.  Have your veggies handy to add once it is perfectly cooked so you don’t get distracted and burn it at this point.  Also, seriously use a whisk.  It helps more evenly stir and prevents splatter – you can get a serious roux burn.  Ask a south Louisiana woman to see her roux burns.  My mom has aplenty.

IMG_6188

Add onions, celery, bell peppers, garlic and sauté until vegetables are wilted, approximately 3-5 minutes.

IMG_6189

Add tomatoes and tomato sauce and continue to sauté. Add fish stock, one ladle at a time, until all is incorporated.  I found 3 quarts was a bit excessive.  You may want to put a little less.  Too much stock was remedied by just boiling it for longer so the stew thickened while water evaporated, but if you don’t have time to let it boil awhile, just add less stock.

IMG_6191

Add lemon juice, bay leaves, and thyme. Bring to a rolling boil, then reduce to simmer. Season to taste – we added some salt, red pepper, and Tabasco.  Allow to cook approximately 30 minutes. Add green onions and season to taste again. Drop cubed catfish fillets into the sauce, allow to cook 3 minutes then remove from heat. Adjust seasonings if necessary.

IMG_6195

Serve over white rice.

IMG_6200

Crockpot Southwestern Chicken Chili

I made the yummiest crockpot dinner.  A chicken chili that is perfect for fall.  It is my favorite crockpot recipe to-date.  It is also the best chili I’ve made.

The chili has southwestern flavors, shredded chicken, and some added protein by way of quinoa.  No shame in saying I (and my husband) went back for seconds (edit: thirds for husband).  We are looking forward to the leftovers already.

Also, there is no prep work (unless you count draining liquid).  So obviously, it is crazy easy.

Crockpot Southwestern Chicken Chili – from Queen Bee Coupons

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of quinoa, rinsed
  • 28 oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 14 oz can diced tomatoes with green chilies
  • 2 16 oz cans of black beans, rinsed, drained
  • 15 oz can of corn, drained
  • 3 cups chicken stock (I used broth, which worked fine)
  • 2 large chicken breasts, frozen or thawed
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 2 tsp chili powder

Put all ingredients into slow cooker and stir to combine.  Cook for 6-8 hours on low, or 4-7 hours on high.  For frozen chicken, it will be on the higher end of time.  Shred the chicken with two forks (if it does shred easily, you will know it is done).

IMG_5780

Serve your chili  with your fave toppings – cheese, sour cream, etc…

IMG_5778

Enjoy!

Chicken and Andouille Rice

I made a yummy Cajun dish last night.  Much to my delight, the local Publix grocery had legit andouille sausage!  Andouille is a spicy pork sausage and really makes this dish.  I wasn’t sure what to call this recipe.  It is not a jambalaya because it is not made in the traditional cast iron pot, which I unfortunately do not have.  But it tastes very similar to a jambalaya.  John Folse calls this recipe “Undefeated Red Beans, Rice and Sausage Casserole.”  That mouthful (PUNNY!) just does not sound very appealing.  Also, I don’t want to jinx the “undefeated” reference as both my teams, LSU and Saints, are currently undefeated!  Yes, I believe in jinxing, much to my husband’s annoyance.  I’m often fussing him over things he says with the reprimand, “You just JINXED us!”

Ok. Here is the recipe originally from, and adapted slightly from http://www.jfolse.com/recipes/vegetables/entree13.htm

Chicken and Andouille Rice

  • 2 pounds cubed chicken meat
  • 1 pound sliced smoked sausage or andouille
  • 1 12-ounce can cooked red kidney beans
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups diced onions
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1/2 cup diced green bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped garlic
  • 5 cups chicken stock
  • 1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
  • 3 cups rice, raw
  • 1 cup sliced green onions
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • salt and pepper and cajun seasoning and hot sauce, to taste

In a large dutch oven, heat oil over medium high heat. Add smoked sausage until browned.  Add cubed chicken and saute until the fat has been rendered. Don’t dry it out – it will cook more after this stage.  Add onions, celery, bell pepper, and garlic. Sauté 3 to 5 minutes or until vegetables are wilted.

Image

Add chicken stock and tomato sauce. Bring mixture to a rolling boil, reduce to simmer, and cook 10 to 15 minutes for seasonings to develop.  Add cooked red beans, green onions, parsley and rice. (Mine did not include the parsley because my darling hubby bought cilantro, thinking it was parsley. Too cute)

Stir well to blend thoroughly. Season stock to taste using salt, pepper, cajun seasoning (I used a little Tony Chachere’s) and Louisiana hot sauce (I used Tabasco).

Image

Bring mixture to a rolling boil, reduce heat to low, cover and cook approximately 45 minutes stirring only once after 30 minutes of cooking time.  Keep the lid on during this time.  Make sure to check after 30 minutes! Mine was done at this point.  45 minutes would have overcooked my rice.  I also am attempting to adjust to my new gas stove, so I may have had the heat too high.  When I took off the lid at 30 mins, I saw this lovely sight:

Image

This was really good and feeds a crowd.  The original recipe said this makes 8 servings, but it’s a lot more than that, I think.  After feeding four people, I have a gallon zip lock bag filled to the brim with leftovers.  I really hope Geoff was honest in saying how much he liked this because he will be eating it every day for lunch until it’s gone.

It was really nice to make something that tasted like home.  Cajun food is just so comforting, like a big hug.

Cheesy Garlic Pasta

I made my go-to pasta tonight.  Actually, it’s my go-to dish.  You know, the dish that usually doesn’t require you to go to the grocery, is easily adaptable, is quick and easy, and – of course – is delicious.  I have never complained that a dish is either too cheesy or too garlicky.  This dish stars these two delicious ingredients.  I serve this dish with a simple veggie side.

I found the original recipe on Pinterest.  This is the original link. http://thecheesepusher.tumblr.com/post/2719857351/creamy-garlic-pasta

Besides how yummy this pasta is, my favorite things about it are: minimal dish cleaning and minimal prep.  This pasta is a one pot dish.  Yes, the pasta cooks in chicken stock until the stock has evaporated.  No draining pasta and cleaning extra dishes!  Also, cooking the pasta in chicken stock gives it a richer flavor than cooking it in water.  As for preparation, I hate having to chop things forever before even beginning to cook.  Here, you chop garlic and parsley – otherwise, the ingredients are ready-to-cook, as is.

Here is the recipe!

Cheesy Garlic Pasta

  • 2 t. olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 T. butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Red pepper flakes to taste (optional)
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • ½ lb spaghetti
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 T. chopped fresh parsley

In a stockpot, heat the olive oil over low-medium heat.  Add the minced garlic and stir until aromatic.  Don’t burn the garlic!  Next, mix in the butter until melted. Add salt and pepper to taste – keep in mind you are adding a lot of salty cheese in later, so don’t oversalt.  You can always salt more later if needed.  Add the chicken stock and bring the mixture to a boil over high heat.

Once the mixture is at a boil, add the pasta and cook until al dente.  By the time the pasta is at this stage, most or all of the stock should have evaporated.  If the stock evaporates before the pasta is done, simply add more stock (or even water if you have no more stock).

Once the pasta is done, reduce the heat and stir in the parmesan cheese until melted.  Then, remove the pot from the heat and stir in the cream and parsley.  The original recipe called for 3/4 c of cream, so feel free to add more.  I think all that cream takes the focus from the garlic.

Next, scarf down this pasta.  We like to add a healthy dose of red pepper flakes for some kick but this is optional.

IMG_6282

Another thing I love about this dish is how adaptable it is.  You can use chicken broth if that’s all you have –  even vegetable broth or stock is fine.  Water would take some richness out of the dish, but that could be acceptable as well.  Oftentimes, I don’t have heavy cream, so I will just add a heavy dash of whatever dairy is on hand, like milk or half and half.  If you don’t have parsley, no worries – it’s still delicious, though less colorful.