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In the 1600s Cajuns, the French colonists who settled in the Canadian provinces of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, named their region Acadia, and were known as Acadians. In the late 1700s they established themselves in parts of Louisiana and brought a rich culture to the region and became known as the Cajun. Not to be confused with the Creole, who are European, African, and even American Indian descendents, and most likely born in Louisiana.
Cajun food is more likely to be described as more rustic, country food, while, Creole more “city”. Seasoning is very important in Cajun cuisine and salt, smoke and spices like paprika, thyme, file (ground sassafras leaves), parsley and green onions are common. The base of most dishes are based on the classic French mirepoix using onions, celery and bell pepper (instead of the traditional French method with carrots). It’s referred to as the “Holy Trinity of Cajun Cuisine”.
Laissez les bon temp rouler (Let the good times roll), with this excellent dish from one of New Orlean’s most popular chefs, Emeril Lagasse. If you haven’t tried jambalaya, think of it as a wonderful surf and turf stew that boasts shrimp, chicken and sausage in a mild and spicy sauce.
24 medium peeled, deveined shrimp, about 1/2 pound,chopped
1/2 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, diced
1 - 2 Tablespoons High Quality Organics Express Organic Cajun Seasoning
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onions
1/2 cup chopped green bell peppers
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
3 High Quality Organics Express bay leaves
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons hot sauce
1 1/2 cups long grain rice
3 1/2 cups chicken stock
1/2 pound Andouille sausage, sliced
Chopped green onion for garnish
Combine the shrimp, chicken and Essence in a bowl and toss to coat evenly. Set aside.
Heat the oil over in a large, heavy pot over medium heat. Add the onions, peppers and celery, salt and pepper and cook, stirring, for 10 minutes, until softened. Add the garlic, tomatoes, bay leaves, Worcestershire and hot sauces. Stir in the rice and slowly add the broth. Bring the rice to a simmer, cover and reduce heat to low and cook until most of the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender, about 15 minutes. Stir in the shrimp and chicken mixture, and the sausage. Cover and cook for 10 minutes longer. Turn off the heat and allow the jambalaya to continue to steam 10 minutes longer before serving. Stir in the green onion.