Recipes: 'Real Cajun'You may not have realized before now that you need to know how to make sausage, but that only because you haven't yet succumbed to the pork-worshiping, boudinacious, jambalayicious world of Real Cajun.
These recipes appear in Real Cajun, by Donald Link, Crown Publishing Group, 2009.
Lake Charles Dirty Rice (Serves 6 to 8)
2 tablespoons canola oil 4 ounces ground pork 1/2 cup chicken livers (about 4 ounces), pureed 1 1/2 teaspoons salt 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper 1/2 teaspoon chili powder 1 1/2 cups chicken broth 1 small onion, finely chopped 2 celery stalks, finely chopped 2 garlic cloves, minced 1 jalapeno pepper, stemmed, seeded, and finely chopped 1 tablespoon dried oregano 3 cups cooked rice 1/2 bunch scallions (white and green parts), chopped 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over high heat. When the oil is hot, add the pork and chicken livers and cook, stirring, until browned. Add the salt, black pepper, and chili powder and stir often, but resist the impulse to stir constantly: You want the meat to stick to the pan and get crusty.
2. Add 3/4 cup of the chicken broth and cook until it has evaporated, allowing the meat mixture to get browned and crusty and stick to the pan once again.
3. Add the onion, celery, garlic, jalapeno, and oregano and cook, stirring, until the vegetables are nicely browned and crusty and beginning to stick to the pan. Add the rice, the remaining 3/4 cups broth, the scallions and parsley. Stir until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is heated through.
NOTE: When making dishes that involve rice, remember that your flavor base will seem overly seasoned until the rice absorbs the flavors. In Cajun cooking, salt is the most crucial ingredient to get right, so you'll want to taste the dish after the rice cooks and adjust accordingly.
3 bunches (about 2 pounds) collards or other leafy greens 4 strips thick-sliced bacon, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces 1 small onion, chopped 2 garlic cloves, minced 1 tablespoon salt 2 tablespoons sugar 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper Several dashes of hot sauce, plus more as needed 1/4 cup cider vinegar, plus more as needed 1 cup chicken broth or water
1. Begin by stripping the stems from the leaves of the collards and tearing the leaves into 3-inch squares; wash the torn greens in plenty of cold water. Discard stems.
2. Heat the bacon in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat until not quite crisp or colored, about how many??? minutes. Add the onion and cook for another 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic, salt, sugar, pepper and hot sauce, and cook an additional 2 minutes. Add the vinegar, bring to a simmer, and cook until reduced by half, 4 to 5 minutes.
3. Add the washed greens and the broth or water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, partially covered, for 30 to 35 minutes, until the greens are very tender. If the pot appears to be drying out, add more water as necessary to prevent the greens from sticking. Season to taste with additional vinegar and hot sauce. Be sure to serve the greens with a generous ladle of the fragrant juices.
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Real Cajun: Rustic Home Cooking from Donald Link's Louisiana