Budster's Cajun Recipes

Red Beans and Rice
I usually make this recipe using dried kidney beans, but time didn't always permit it so I sometimes use canned kidney beans. Either way, it's a simple great tasting recipe.

2 lb dry red kidney beans (or equivalent canned approx. 4 cans)
2 medium onions (chopped)
1 cup celery (finely chopped)
6 green onions (chopped)
1 lb sausage (sliced)
3 garlic cloves (minced)
Cajun seasoning to taste

Wash and soak beans over night (if using dry).
Drain and put into large pot.
Cover with water and bring to boil over high heat.
Stir well and let beans settle.
Add sausage, onions, celery, garlic, and seasoning.
Bring to boil.
Reduce heat and simmer for two to three hours until beans are tender.

For a thicker gravy, remove one cup of beans and mash thru strainer.
Add back to pot and stir.

Makes 6 generous servings. Serve over hot rice.
Goes well with beer bread or corn bread.

The Best Chicken and Sausage Gumbo
I have yet to taste any better, even at the best restaurants. Unlike most restaurants, especially Cajun wanna-be restaurants who cram there gumbos full of everything in the kitchen, this gumbo is very simplistic and to the point...which is one reason it's so good. The secret to a good gumbo is a long cooking period that allows the roux to cook "into" the gumbo.
The only tricky part to this gumbo is the roux. I've started making the roux in the microwave. It's a little easier to make and a little harder to burn it. Follow my ingredients using the techniques described for making a dark roux in the roux recipe.The rest is easy. Just allow yourself 3 or 4 hours to cook it!!!

~The Roux~
1 c. flour
1 c. oil
1 onion (chopped)

Fill gumbo pot (about 8 - 12 qt) 1/3 to 1/2 full of water. Put to boil to be used later.
Mix flour and oil in a microwave bowl (1 1/2 qt).
Cook on full power for 6 minutes. Stir.
Cook another 3 minutes. Stir.
Cook at 1 minute intervals, stirring in between until the roux is the color of chocolate.
Add chopped onion. Cook for another minute.
(If following a stove top roux recipe, add onions when you have about 5 minutes left of cooking)
Add roux to boiling water. Let mixture return to a boil. Watch it carefully because it can boil over!
Lower fire until it is boiling slowly and doesn't foam up.
Boil for 1 FULL HOUR! A Must!

~The Gumbo~
cut-up fryer, or whatever chicken pieces you want.
1 lb sausage (sliced)
1 cup parsley (chopped)
1 cup green onions (chopped)
Cajun seasonings to taste

Season chicken before hand with Cajun seasonings.
Add sausage to mixture.
Cook for another hour. If gumbo is getting too thick, add more water.
Add chicken. Cook for 30 - 45 minutes or until chicken is tender.
Add green onions and parsley.
Cook for 5 - 10 minutes. Turn off fire.

Let gumbo set for awhile and then skim off the excess fat that rises to the top.
Taste and adjust seasonings.
Serve over hot rice.
Depending on serving size and how much water you use, you'll probably get 6 to 8 servings.
Storing: Gumbo refrigerates and freezes very well. I've kept it up to 6 months with no problem. However, regardless if you refrigerate or freeze, you will need to de-bone the chicken. Otherwise, the bones will leave a very bad taste in the gumbo. Let the gumbo cool a bit on the stove. Remove the chicken pieces using a slotted spoon and put them in a bowl. The chicken should come off the bones very easily. Add the chicken back to the gumbo, or divide the chicken into the storage containers before adding the gumbo so there will be an even amount of chicken in each container.
Using boneless chicken: One thing that the bones make is that good chicken stock flavor. If you want to try the gumbo with boneless chicken, you'll want to suppliment the gumbo with canned chicken stock.

Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya

1 package chicken thighs (6 count)
1/2 package Hilshire Farms Polish Kielbasa (or other smoked sausage), sliced
1/2 bell pepper, chopped
5 stalks celery, chopped
3 large white onions, chopped (DO NOT use a food processor)
2 cloves garlic, chopped fine
1/4 cup peanut oil
2 cups white rice (regular white rice. NOT Minute rice!!!)
2 1/2 cups water
1 12oz beer (Budweiser works fine)
flour to coat chicken
1 1/2 teaspoons Rosemary
1 teaspoon Thyme
A handful of chopped parsley (hard to put too much)
Salt to taste
Lots of cayenne pepper

Start off by washing the chicken and placing it skin side down on a plate (you can remove the skin if you want). Now, depending on how spicy you want it, coat the chicken with Cayenne pepper until very red (I use a LOT of Cayenne in mine). Don't worry about getting it too hot, since this is the majority of the pepper you are going to add and it will cook into the rest of the dish. Turn the chicken pieces over and lightly coat the skin side. Let sit for 15 minutes or so to soak it all up.

Heat the oil in the bottom of a large heavy cast iron or aluminum pot (don't use thin aluminum or stainless steel since the rice will tend to stick and burn if you're not really careful). Place the flour in a paper bag (season the flour lightly with salt, cayenne pepper, black pepper, garlic powder, etc). Place a couple of pieces of chicken at a time into the bag and shake to coat.

Fry the chicken in the oil until golden brown. Don't worry about cooking it all the way through just yet. Remove the chicken. Now place the onions, celery, garlic and bellpepper into the pot (along with a bit more oil if necessary) and saute them until the onions are transparent, scraping the bottom of the pot often. Add the rosemary, thyme and parsley and cook for a minute or so.

Place the sausage slices, chicken, and a little water into the pot and mix well with the vegetables. Turn heat low, cover and simmer for about 30 minutes (until the chicken is tender). Stir the mixture frequently, always scraping the bottom to keep things from burning (break the chicken up a bit with the spatula as it cooks. It should break up naturally as the dish cooks, but this just helps things a little).

When the chicken is cooked, add the washed rice and stir it into everything for a couple of minutes. Pour the warm beer and the water in and stir things for another minute or so. Taste it at this point and adjust the salt if necessary.

Now, keeping the heat low, cover the pot and cook until the rice is tender (anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour). Stir the mixture every now and then, scraping the bottom of the pot.

Cajun Dirty Rice

Various recipes for this popular dish include lots of different ingredients, such as chicken liver, sausage, endouille, etc. The following is a close estimate (since no one has ever written down the actual amounts of any ingredients - until now!):
A Cajun Rice Dressing / Cajun Dirty Rice

1 lb. ground pork
1 lb. ground beef
1 large bell pepper
1 medium onion
5 - 6 peeled cloves of garlic
1 or 2 fresh, green cayenne peppers (if available)
1 tsp. salt (use to own taste)
1 tsp. red pepper (use to own taste -- balance with fresh pepper above)
2 cans mushroom steak sauce (NOT soup, usual brand I find here is Dawn's; (1 can = about 4-6 oz.)
3-4 cups cooked rice ( not real sure about this amout)

The Dressing Mix:
Pan fry the ground meat well until all of the meat is well done. Put bell pepper, onion and garlic into food processor and "nearly" liquify it, then add this to the meat. The pepper/onion/garlic should sizzle as you stir it well into the the meat. When the sizzling fades, add the mushroom steak sauce and a little water and allow the entire dressing mix to simmer for at least a half hour.

Dirty Rice:
Cooked rice can be added to this mixure and thoroughly stirred. The more rice you add, the drier and "whiter" the resulting dressing will be. Adding the right amount of rice will result in a dress that is moist with the rice appearing very brown ("dirty").

Cornbread Dressing:
Substitute crumbed cornbread for cooked rice.
  Save some for later:
Freeze the dressing mix, i.e., before adding rice/cornbread, separately. When needed, defrost the mix by heating it and add the rice or cornbread.

NEW!Baked Game Hens Vacherie
6 Cornish game hens
3 teaspoons Louisiana gold pepper sauce
salt to taste
2 teaspoons dry thyme
cracked black pepper to taste
2 teaspoons dry basil
3 tablespoons chopped garlic
paprika for color
4 teaspoons green peppercorns
1 ounce dry white wine
6 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/2 pound melted butter

Preheat oven to 350F. Split Cornish hens in two and remove back bone and wing tips. Season hens well on all sides using salt, pepper, and garlic. Using a sharp paring knife, cut small pockets in breasts and thighs of each hen. Insert green peppercorns in each pocket and place on baking sheet skin side up. Coat each bird well with Worcestershire, Louisiana Gold, melted butter, thyme, basil and paprika. Add additional salt and pepper if necessary. Pour excess butter and white wine in bottom of baking pan and place in oven. Bake for thirty minutes, basting occasionally with drippings. Hens will be cooked when legs separate easily from thighs. Remove from oven, place hens on serving platter and keep warm. Add chopped parsley to pan drippings, blend well into sauce and pour over Cornish hens.

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updated 04/09/06