Consider The Can: An Unlikely Twist On A Louisiana Dish When Poppy Tooker was a kid, her favorite dish was her great-grandmother's Peas in a Roux. Only years later did Tooker discover that canned peas — not fresh or frozen — were the key to the recipe.
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Consider The Can: An Unlikely Twist On A Louisiana Dish

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Consider The Can: An Unlikely Twist On A Louisiana Dish

Consider The Can: An Unlikely Twist On A Louisiana Dish

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ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Roast lamb, baked ham, deviled eggs, carrot cake, these are the things traditional Easter meals are made of, unless you're a kid. If you're a kid, it's chocolate bunnies, jelly beans and peeps. Anyway, today's found recipe is not about those holiday treats. It's a tasty side dish from down south, a veggie that goes well with a meaty main course.

POPPY TOOKER: The dish is "Peas in a Roux," it was a dish that I remember and know so well from my great-grandmother's table.

SIEGEL: That's Poppy Tooker, host of the public radio program, "Louisiana Eats." And while Peas in a Roux is one of her favorite family recipes, it was years before she got it just right. First, you make a roux.

TOOKER: In Southern Louisiana, a roux is a combination of oil and flour, not butter, and it is cooked to a very dark brown color and it provides the taste, the color and often some of the thickening in virtually everything we make, whether it's gumbos, etouffee, everything starts with first you make a roux.

Because I cook in a totally different century even than my great grandmother was cooking in, I kind of have a snobby attitude about my vegetables. I prefer it if they're fresh from the farmer's market or, at the very least, fresh frozen from the grocery. That's why, for years and years, I was using frozen green peas in my peas in a roux. It looked very pretty. I thought it tasted good, but then I was in the grocery store and I passed a big end cap of (foreign language spoken) those little teeny, tiny peas that are canned.

And I thought, you know, I bet that's what Mamma(ph) was actually using. I think I'll give that a try. And when I made that dark roux and added that little bit of onions, stirred it up and then tossed in the can of peas, juice and everything, suddenly I had completely and properly, finally recreated my great grandmother's recipe.

SIEGEL: There you go, a secret in a can. Poppy Tooker, host of "Louisiana Eats" and her recipe for peas in a roux is on our found recipes page at NPR.org. You're listening to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News.

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