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It is Good Friday and you are from New Orleans ... what to cook ... simple answer - a Shrimp Etouffee. Start with a traditional roux of flour and oil Add the the Cajun Trinity (onion, bell pepper, celery). Add the tomato elements and the other seasonings and good stuff you learned from your mama and your "May May" (grandmother) Cook the mixture for the flavor to develop and adjust seasonings until it is just right. Then at the very end when the rice is separately done cooking, add the peeled and butterflied shrimp that have been brined in a salt solution and crab boil seasoning mixture. Cook for a few more minutes.... Then say the blessing and enjoy with the family. Happy Easter!
Christmas Break – 85 lbs Venison Ground; Four Kinds of Deer Sausages and a Pork Boudin Bonus I have not posted much lately as I have had back to back work related travel and then needed to deal with some family matters also out of town. As part of the out of town travel, I spent some time in New Orleans area with my brother and he asked me to bring my meat grinder and I decided that my basic sausage making equipment would also go along for the ride. My LEM Big Bite #12 grinder was perfect for the upcoming task. Let's Start With A Bit of Venison to Grind Why … well he had 85 pounds of trimmed and cubed venison in the freezer that he wanted ground. We partially thawed the meat in a large ice chest for several days to a workable level of thaw/frozen state. We did a single grind on a 3/16 plate with 40 lbs. Then double ground the remaining 45 pounds. Of the double grind we further ground 5 lbs through a 1/8 plate as my brother wanted some very fine grind to use as an element in tacos. All the ground meat was stuffed into commercial bulk plastic meat bags at 1.5 lbs per chub (about 47 of them) and tape sealed. I found we could get roughly 1.5 lbs in the nominal one pound meat bag chub. It was a good thing I had bulk pork/beef meat storage bags on hand or we would have killed the vacuum sealer machine. A Sampler of Some of the 85 lbs Frozen Trimmed Louisiana Harvested Venison (It may look it in the photo but it was not freezer burned) A Growing Mountain of Ground Deer Meat A Few Chubs Already in the Chest Freezer To assist the filling of the chubs I used a piece of 2 in PVC pipe and a plunger made from 1 1/4 PVC in with a cap – no need to glue the cap. Load the 2 in pipe with meat and tamp it. Slide the plastic bulk meat bag over the end, push the meat into the bag. Bingo! Then compress the bag, top off with an appropriate ball of extra meat to the final fill level, compress again, twist and seal. Simple and quite effective. Having a couple of the 2 in lengths handy works well as the person filling the “magazines” can always have one ready for the bag handling person. An 11 inch length of the 2 inch is about 1 pound. You could make a longer length (say 17 inches) to size for 1.5 lbs but it might get awkward to use. Chub Loader & Tape Sealer Onward to Sausage Making Time Now in the process of grinding the venison, the subject of sausage came up. Who would have guessed that? So about 18 lbs total of the single/double grind was set aside for sausage. With that we made four different venison based sausages adding in an appropriate amount of bacon. The bacon in the mix when ground adds the fat element and some pork meat and is easy to find and work with. We used roughly 4.5 lbs deer to 2 lbs bacon. Next time I would probably use 1 lb ground pork butt and 1 lb bacon to add some extra pork meat in the mix. We made in about equal batches of 6.5 pounds each: #1- Breakfast Sausage (bulk packed in 1 lb chubs) - The test fry. #2- Roasted Garlic, Mushroom & Sweet Onion (cased) #3- Hot Italian (cased) #4-Sweet Italian (cased) It was a bit of a marathon event spread over a couple of days with one day for grinding and the next for the sausage particularly since I did not bring my 5 lb hand crank sausage stuffer machine and only had with me my home made 1 lb at a time caulking gun stuffer - which did an admiral job (this: http://www.kamadoguru.com/topic/19891-the-homemade-smokehowze-caulking-gun-sausage-stuffer/#entry260655.) I did not know we were going to be making this much sausage and I was short on room in the truck. We did do one mod to the stuffer which was to add a simple spring loaded air bleed valve on the end of the point where the stuffing tube attaches.This permits one bleed out trapped air when inserting a the filled tubes of meat in the gun. Air Bleed Valve Modification O Ring Seal But wait there is more And then the rains came, so the following weekend another even more intense multi-day marathon ensued as we made two separate 22 plus pound versions of pork based Louisiana boudin for a total of 45 lbs of links and some bulk also. Another marathon of sausage making especially because of the preparation time involved for each batch with the 18 lbs of the mixed meats to be cooked, the massive amounts green onions, parsley, and sweet bell peppers plus garlic to be hand chopped, and the 34 cooked cups of rice to fix. But since it was storming the whole time and no good reason to be outside, why not? Boudin Sausage - Ready to Poach - (we used the crawfish boiling pot with the basket insert) Boudin After Poaching and Cooling - Heated Gently in the Microwave and Ready to Eat And I know you are thinking it... yes, an ice chest full of the ground venison and a sampling of the sausages went home with me. I feel a pot of chili in the making for New Years and maybe a sausage appetizer plate......Yummmm.
A Homemade Traditional Louisiana Cajun Boudin Sausage Recipe Boudin (boo-dan) is a Cajun sausage usually made with one or more meats often including pork, pork liver, rice, seasonings, parsley, green bell pepper and celery (the “trinity”). You can even get seafood boudin. All the ingredients are generally already cooked. It is usually stuffed in a casing and fried, gently poached, steamed, baked, or even grilled. There are as many recipes as those who make it. This is my Smokehowze version. Here are some baked the links done indirect on the Classic Joe at 300 degrees with pecan smoke for 35 minutes until nicely browned. Sandwiches are on Martins brand potato buns, with a ‘naked’ link on the side for lagniappe on the plate. This boudin is rich enough that one link on a bun and one link on the side is quite filling. Mayo on one side of the bun and Zatarains creole mustard on the link. Homemade pickled jalapeno peppers for garnish. The pepper and the smoky boudin made a great combination. Try an Abita beer from Louisiana as an accompaniment. Yummm! The Ingredients and Process The Pork & Stock 4.75 lbs pork (cut into roughly 1 in pieces) 12 oz pork liver (cut into roughly 1 inch pieces) 1 large + 1 medium onion quartered 2 serrano peppers, stem removed 1 stalk celery cut into chunks 1 tsp dried thyme 8 garlic toes - peeled 2 Tbs kosher salt 1 Tbs coarse ground black pepper 11 cups water (to cover) Parsely (tied in bouquet garni for easy removal) 3 dried bay leaves Note: If you do not like liver leave it out. No pork liver handy? Then use chicken livers. Just boil or sauté separately with a bit of seasoning until cooked. The liver addition imparts an earthy flavor. If you have bone-in pork, cut the meat off the bone, trim excess fat and sinew and put the bone with any residual meat on it in the pot to add extra richness to the stock. After cooking, useful remaining meat is pulled off the bone. Cook the pork, veggies and seasonings for 60 minutes – (bring to boil and reduce heat to a good simmer) Add pork liver and cook for another 30-40 minutes. Cook meat until tender but still firm. The Main Actors Pork Liver Remove cooked pork, liver and the cooked veggies (discard parsley bouquet and bay leaves). Reserve all the stock. The Cooked Ingredients The Reserved Stock Grind (one time) the slightly cooled meats and the cooked veggies with a ¼ in (6 mm) plate. No grinder -- simply hand chop to fine dice. The Other Additions (not cooked) 1.25 cups fine chopped fresh parsley 2.5 cups cups fine chopped green onion (whites & greens) 1 cup fine chopped red bell pepper Mix well these “other additions” in with the ground pork. The Final Addition 7 cups (after cooking) medium grain white rice. Cool after cooking. I could have used a couple more cups in the final mix. But the 7 cups gave a higher meat to rice ratio. If you want to intensify the flavor add some stock in place of plain water in cooking the rice. Because the stock can be intense in flavor, I would not cook the rice using only stock; remember that a proper amount of reserved stock gets added to the final mixture. Add the cooled cooked rice and gently mix again. Add reserved warm stock in ½ cup increments until the mixture is well moistened but not too wet. I added 3 cups of stock. This is supposed to be a moist soft sausage interior especially when poached and it will also retain moisture and softness even when baked. After the sausage is stuffed and sits for a few hours in the fridge the rice will also absorb moisture and plump the casings. Taste and adjust seasonings. I added 1 Tbs Cajun seasoning 1 Tbs Coarse ground black pepper 2 tsp ground cayenne pepper Stuff into natural hog casing 32-35 mm size. Do not stuff too tight. Make 5 - 6 inch long sausage links. Fresh Made Links After Resting The Finishing Step - Poaching the Boudin I recommend an initial cook by poaching in 190 degree water for 10 minutes more or less to get the internal temp to 155 degrees. This results in a ready to eat/use/cook for serving product. If possible, it is best to let the link rest on a sheet tray uncovered for several hours in the fridge before poaching. Poached Links The final result of this recipe was almost 7.5 lbs of boudin links. Note: Links or the bulk boudin can be frozen. How to Serve and Eat the Finished Boudin Ways to cook the boudin links: Grill on low heat until nicely browned – just a few minutes is all it takes Bake at 300 for 25-35 minutes on oiled sheet pan (also oil the links) until well heated through and casing gets nicely browned. Poach for 10 – 15 minutes in 190 degree water Steam the links for 5 minutes and let sit for 10 minutes Note – high temperature/rapid cooking will cause the casings to burst. Eat the links directly (either with casing or squeeze filling out of casing), serve with creole mustard, or make a sandwich. Or squeeze on saltine crackers (if you must), or……..just have it your way. No matter how it will be delicious! The squeeze right from the casing method straight into the hungry mouth is a time honored traditional “standing in the parking lot” method of consuming a just bought link of boudin. To make boudin balls (instead of links): Make ping pong/golf ball size balls out of the boudin. Roll in bread crumbs, and pan fry. Or make fat rounded patties. Serve hot. Lagniappe It is often said that a Cajun 7 course meal is a 1 pound of boudin and a six pack of beer. BTW … Boudin can also be used as a stuffing in other dishes. Try it! Hope this give you some new ideas and adventures.
Sept. Challenge - Grilled Homemade Cajun Boudin Sausage in a Sandwich For the September Challenge, in cooking my heritage, I did not go back very far. As I am originally a Louisiana boy, I decided on cooking a Louisiana staple. This was a classic Louisiana boudin sausage made from scratch and for an unusual twist I made the boudin using wild harvested pig – courtesy of my brother. Kamado Baked with Smoke Boudin Links Fried Boudin Patties as Appetizer Boudin for the Kamado Challenge: Boudin (boo-dan) is a Cajun sausage usually made with one or more meats often including pork, pork liver, rice, seasonings, parsley, green bell pepper and celery (the “trinity”). You can even get seafood boudin. All the ingredients are generally already cooked. It is usually stuffed in a casing and fried, gently poached, steamed, baked, or even grilled. There are as many recipes as those who make it. This is my version. Note: This boudin was made using the shank and part of the shoulder of wild pig from one of his hunting trips. The pigs he harvests in Louisiana have an exceptionally good flavor because of their diet in the Honey Island swamp. Too bad he will have to wait until my next trip south to have some. For the Kamado September Challenge, I baked the links indirect on the Classic Joe at 300 degrees with pecan smoke for 35 minutes until nicely browned. This also crisps the casing. I made sandwiches on Martins brand potato buns, with a ‘naked’ link on the side of the plate for lagniappe. This boudin is rich enough that one link on a bun and one link on the side is quite filling. Mayo on one side of the bun and Zatarains creole mustard on the link. Homemade pickled jalapeno peppers for garnish. The peppers and the smoky boudin made a great combination. Abita beer from Louisiana as an accompaniment. Yummm! The Fresh Made Links Links After Poaching Happy Links on Big Joe Lagniappe For anyone interested in making boudin, the recipe and detailed process can be found in a post (with detailed photos) I placed in the Pork Recipe Section of the Forum. Here is the recipe link: http://www.kamadoguru.com/topic/24061-homemade-traditional-louisiana-cajun-boudin-sausage/?p=319160 BTW…It is often said that a Cajun 7 course meal is a 1 pound of boudin and a six pack of beer. Hope this give you some new ideas. Please vote for my September Challenge entry.