Tag Archives: Cajun

Turphucken

Thanksgiving has unexpectedly appeared in my rear view mirror.  And like most Thanksgivings of late, memories of ’09 suddenly come to mind.  That year, I volunteered to cook Thanksgiving dinner for the entire family.  And like the dumb ass that I am, I decided it was the perfect time to try something new!

Being a fan of all things Cajun, I had always wanted to try my hands at the infamous Turducken…..you know, a chicken, stuffed inside a duck, stuffed inside a turkey…..coonass engineering at its finest.  Now, I am sure for the true Cajun, cooking a Turducken is just another day on the bayou.  But, for an over weight, drunken, city boy like myself, a “turphucken” (as I now call it) is a proverbial ass whip’n.

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Fat Tuesday

Depending on the driver and of course the number of riders, Bourbon Street is only about a case of beer away from A&M.  Much to my parent’s chagrin, New Orleans became a second home for me and my running buddies, which may partially explain my insatiable drinking habit and my affinity for Cajun cuisine.

As much as I enjoy good drunken buffoonery, I have never been a huge fan of Mardi Gras.  A mob of 100,000 drunken idiots, crammed onto narrow streets, pushing and shoving as they move to and fro is not my idea of fun.  No, I prefer to drink alone…..  But, regardless of my likes or dislikes, Mardi Gras has become a huge part of the Cajun culture and has greatly influenced the region as a whole. 

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Melancholy

 For a lot of Texans, we are coming to the end of our Religious Pilgrimage.  Sure there is always a spring turkey to shoot or a big redfish to land, but for all intents and purposes, hunting season is all but over.  We must now return to our familial responsibilities and hope that the return of the season comes sooner than we might expect.

It has become a tradition within my group of hunting buddies to have a “Man Dinner” at the close of every season.  A time to bring families together and enjoy the fruits of our labor.  A time to enjoy the company of our wives, our kids and……blah, blah, blah.  Who am I trying to kid.  The Man Dinner has very little to do with bring our families together.  No, the Man Dinner has everything to do with drinking beer, eating good food and telling lies about all the good and bad hunts we had.  And from what I can tell, though I have never asked, I think the women folk may enjoy it too.

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I Have A Dream

I have a hard time understanding someone being prejudice towards a certain race or creed.  Don’t get me wrong, those who know me know that I am extremely prejudice, but I don’t discriminate.  I just don’t care for people. 

Well, it appears prejudism runs deep in our Twisted family.  The other day, I was making one of my Cajun classics, when Siete comes in ranting and raving about how she hates Cajuns.  I don’t mean dislike or just don’t care for, I mean out and out hatred.  Seems that husband number three (Vermilion Parish Cajun) ran off with a hussy at the local bar and left her to take care of the kids and the….well you know, blah, blah, blah.  Without wading too deep into shallow waters of her mind, I quickly changed the subject and asked her to try the boudin I was making……well it appears Cajun cuisine left an even worst taste in her mouth than her ex-husband…..”Those ?*!@##@^&, sons a bitches are a bunch of ?>(&^%^#@ and can’t cook for the life of them.  Cajun food is nothing but a bunch of pig lips and assholes, much like Tres”.  Well then, there will no dinner for you. 

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The Tortoise and the Hare

Being an Okie, one could argue that I am not a true Southerner and for that matter, I would have a hard time disagreeing.  Southern or not, I do love southern cooking and have had the pleasure of traveling throughout the South sampling some truly exceptional cuisine.

When I was young, our family often made our way down to the Mississippi Delta region to visit some lifelong family friends.  Like all good southern families, these friends had grown up in the region for many generations and rarely had a reason to venture outside the bubble.  As a result of their sedentary lifestyles, the Delta has developed into a truly unique region, steep in tradition and good ole southern hospitality.  In the eyes of Delta folk, “slow and easy wins the race”.

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A Former Life

Some will lead you to believe that when it is time to meet my maker, I will be seated First Class on Lucifer Airlines, headed due south.  And although I will admit to not walking the straight and narrow, I am a God fearing individual and I understand the importance of spiritual beliefs and guidance.  However, as with most journeys in my life, I tend to question my faith from time to time.  Currently that question involves the understanding of reincarnation. 

Growing up, I truly believed that I was born in the wrong era.  I should have been riding the open plains, driving cattle north and fighting Comanche along the way.  I should have been playing poker and drinking whiskey with Gus McCrae.  I was born to brave the elements and sleep under the stars.  In my former life, I must have been a cowboy?  But as time passed and I realized that sleeping among the elements isn’t quite so appealing, so went my belief of reincarnation.  Or did it?

Recently, my brother (to be known hence forth as the Syndicate) sent me his recipe for Midnight Gumbo, the coup de gras of Coon Ass cooking.  See in bayou country there are two truisms, if it is worth cooking, it is likely to take all day and if you are going to cook all day, you might as well get your drunk on while doing it.  Wait…..back up and read that again……..I am beginning to see the light.  I wasn’t born in the wrong era; I was born in the wrong area.  In my previous life, I wasn’t a cowboy, I was a freak’n Cajun.  I wasn’t meant to ride the plains and drive cattle, I was born to ride air boats, hunt ducks, get liquored up and shoot gators.  I my friends, am a Coon Ass and hope this recipe will inspire you to become a want-to-be Coon Ass too.     

The Syndicate’s Midnight Gumbo*

Roux Ingredients

1 c  vegetable oil

1 c  flour

Gumbo Ingredients

½ c          Hell Bitch Cajun Seasoning

2 lbs       duck breast, cubed

1 lbs       Andouille Sausage, chopped

1 each   yellow onion, chopped

1 c           celery, diced

1 each   green bell pepper, diced

3 Qtrs    duck or chicken stock

2-4          bay leaves

1 c           green onion tops, chopped

2 c           white rice

                Tabasco & Gumbo Filet, to taste

French Bread Ingredients

1 each   French bread loaf

2 T          butter

1 T          garlic, minced

A Word about Gumbo

There are only two secrets to good gumbo.  First, use good, homemade stock.  Second, take the time to make a good roux – it’s the best part of making gumbo as you will soon see.

Now many people fret over making the roux.  But making a roux is nothing more than cooking flour in oil, in a HOT CAST IRON skillet.  The only real rule in making roux is to “stir the mutha”.  And when I say stir, I mean stir – constantly.  You can raise or lower the heat if you feel like the roux is getting away from you, but never quit stirring!  A wooden spoon or spatula is the best roux-stirrer.

There are many different kinds of roux.  Some are cooked in butter, some are cooked in lard and some are cooked in oil.  My experience has been that oil works best.  However, when it boils down to it, roux’s are generally judged by their color.  There is dirty blonde, milk chocolate, Indian red, dark chocolate and the ever elusive black roux.  The longer you cook the roux, the darker it gets.  Just remember, the darker it gets, the faster it cooks.  You can go from Indian red to dark chocolate in a matter of seconds.  And remember, coon-asses call roux “Cajun Napalm”.  It gets VERY hot and will burn if you are sloppy in your stirring.

While most folks judge their roux by color, the Syndicate has a better unit of measurement……the number of glasses (or bottles) of red wine necessary to obtain the desired color.  For Midnight Gumbo, you should count on at least a one bottle roux.  However, gumbo is a labor of love and requires patience.  Since you will be stirring constantly, you should open two bottles (just in case) and place them both within reach.

Finally, be sure to prep all ingredients prior to starting your roux, because once the roux is done, you will “cool it down” by stirring in the vegetables.  Note, the roux will immediately darken more once you add the vegetables.

Bring on the Gumbo

Season duck liberally with Hell Bitch Cajun Seasoning and brown in cast iron Dutch oven.  Once browning is complete, remove from Dutch oven and set aside.  To make roux, combine oil and flour and cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly.  Once roux has reached desired color (see above) add onion, celery and bell pepper (The Holy Trinity), seasoning liberally with Hell Bitch and sauté for 10 minutes, still stirring that mutha constantly.  Add Andouille sausage, bay leaves and continue to sauté for 5 minutes.  Next, add enough stock to cover entire mixture by about one inch, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour.  Approximately 5 minutes before serving gumbo, add cubed duck and allow re-heating.

Cajun Garnishment

While simmering gumbo, preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Sauté garlic and butter for about 3 minutes.  Cut trough in French bread, pour in garlic butter, wrap in foil and heat for approximately 10 – 15 minutes or until toasty.

Serve in deep bowl over rice and top with your desired amount of green onions, filet and Tabasco.  

* Midnight Gumbo you may ask?  Odd name for a gumbo recipe.  As I have said previously, Cajun’s love to cook, and cooking great coon ass food takes all day……. and sometimes all night.  Legend has it that this recipe was scribed sometime around midnight, after what was likely a “two bottle” roux night.  As much as I would like to have retained its original form, many of you, including me, may have had a hard time ciphering through it if sober.  Although I do not recommend sobriety when cooking gumbo, I have taken the liberty to provide you with a “translated” form, while trying to maintain its original colorfulness.  The Syndicate and I hope you enjoy!


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