08 January 2010

Cajun Comfort Food Chases Away Winter Cold, 3 Recipes

Photo of Jumbolia from McIlhenny Comapny Tobasco sauce

From Denny: At the first sign of chilly temperatures in January, Louisiana people turn to cooking up tummy satisfying comfort food like gumbo, jambalaya and seafood or chicken stews! Comfort food is the new trend in 2010 and it's no wonder as to why: it tastes good and it's easy to make.

With the heavy French influence, Louisiana has long been a place where we preserve our culture and market it as well. One of the oldest institutions in Louisiana is the company that makes the internationally famous Tabasco brand hot pepper sauce, the McIlhenny Company from Avery Island, Louisiana, where the salt mines abound. Recently, they updated some of their old family recipes for the company's history book, “Tabasco: An Illustrated History,” written by Shane Bernard.

Many of these recipes date all the way back to 1895, originally written by Mary Avery McIlhenny Bradford. Instead of the Jambalaya spelling we see Creole Jumbolia that is a New Orleans-styled version. Oddly enough, this older recipe does not include onions, bell pepper and celery - the Holy Trinity - like we are used to in current day recipes. Creole Jumbolia is a recipe originally handwritten in 1875 by Edmund McIlhenny.

For more mouth-watering recipes, the history of the McIlhenny Company and the 141-year-old tradition of making Tabasco sauce, visit Tabasco.

Creole Jumbolia

From: Tabasco

Serves: 6 to 8


2 tbls. vegetable oil
1 lb. fresh, pure pork sausage, removed from the casing
1 fryer chicken (3-1/2 to 4 lbs.), cut into serving pieces
1 tsp. salt
1-1/4 cups long-grain rice
1-1/2 cups canned diced tomatoes
2 cups beef broth
2 tsps. original Tabasco brand pepper sauce
Garlic-Flavored Oil, if desired (recipe follows)


1. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large, heavy pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook, stirring to break the meat up, until all pink has disappeared, 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer the sausage to a plate lined with paper towels to drain.

2. Season the chicken pieces with the salt. Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the pot. Add the chicken and brown evenly on all sides. Remove the pan from the heat and carefully drain off any excess oil that has accumulated in the pot.

3. Add the sausage, rice, tomatoes, broth and Tabasco sauce. (If using the Garlic-Flavored Oil, add here.) Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low, cover the pot and simmer until the rice is tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed, about 25 minutes.

4. Remove from the heat and let stand, covered, for 10 minutes. Serve warm from the pot.

Crawfish Bisque

From: Tabasco

Serves: 8


2 gallons water
1/4 cup salt
1/4 cup original Tabasco brand pepper sauce
10 lbs. live crawfish


1-1/2 lbs. peeled crawfish tails
6 tbls. butter
1 cup finely chopped onions
1/2 cup finely chopped green bell peppers
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
1/4 cup finely chopped green onions
2 tsps. minced garlic
2 tbls. minced parsley
1 tsp. salt
2 tsps. original Tabasco brand pepper sauce, or to taste
1 cup plus 1/2 cup fine dried bread crumbs
1 egg, lightly beaten

Crawfish Bisque:

6 tbls. vegetable oil
6 tbls. all-purpose flour
1 cup chopped onions
1 cup chopped green bell peppers
1 tsp. minced garlic
Reserved crawfish fat
6 cups reserved stock (from boiling the peelings, etc.)
2 tbls. tomato paste
1-1/4 tsps. salt
2 tsps. original Tabasco brand pepper sauce
1 lb. peeled crawfish tails
1/4 cup chopped green onions
2 tbls. chopped fresh parsley


1. Combine the water, salt and Tabasco sauce in a boiling pot large enough to accommodate the crawfish. When the water comes to a boil, carefully add the live crawfish. Return to a boil and cook for 3 minutes. Remove from heat, cool and strain. Cool the crawfish to room temperature.

2. Peel the tails (you should end up with 2-1/2 pounds peeled crawfish tails), remove the fat from the heads (put in a separate container), and reserve 50 to 60 of the largest heads. Set aside the peeled crawfish and the crawfish fat.

3. Clean heads by snipping off eyes and mouth section, then clean out the shells, rinsing well in cool water. Drain on paper towels and set aside.

For the stock:

Crush the remaining heads, peelings and claws, and put in a large pot with 3 quarts water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes. Remove from heat and cool. Strain through fine sieve and reserve 6 cups. Set aside.

For the stuffing:

1. Finely chop the crawfish tails or pulse them two to three times in a food processor and set aside.

2. Heat butter in large sauce-pan over medium heat. Add the onions, bell peppers, celery, green onions, garlic and parsley. Cook, stirring, until vegetables are soft and lightly golden, about 5 to 6 minutes.

3. Add the chopped crawfish tails and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Add the salt and Tabasco sauce. Add 1 cup of the bread crumbs and the egg, and stir to mix. The mixture will be thick. Set aside to cool.

4. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. When crawfish mixture has cooled, stuff each head with a heaping teaspoon (more or less depending on the size of the head) and arrange them in a shallow baking pan. Generously dust the stuffed heads with the remaining 1/2 cup bread crumbs, patting crumbs gently into the stuffing.

5. Bake the heads until the bread crumbs are lightly golden, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.

For the bisque:

1. Combine oil and flour in a large, heavy pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Stirring constantly, make a roux the color of peanut butter. Add the onions, bell peppers and garlic. Cook, stirring, until vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes.

2. Add the crawfish fat, reserved stock, tomato paste, salt and Tabasco sauce and stir to blend. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

3. Add the crawfish tails, the stuffed crawfish heads, green onions and parsley. Cook for 8 minutes, stirring very gently so as not to break up the stuffed heads.

4. To serve, mound a cup of steamed or boiled white long-grain rice in a soup bowl, ladle some of the bisque over the rice, and include several heads per bowl.

Farci Crabs

From: Tabasco

Serves: 6


2 slices day-old white bread, broken into small pieces
1/2 cup milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
3 cups (1 lb.) white crabmeat, picked over for shells and cartilage
1 tbl. finely chopped fresh parsley
1/2 tsp. original Tabasco brand pepper sauce
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tbl. butter
1 tbl. chopped onions
1 tbl. vegetable oil
1/4 cup fine dried breadcrumbs
6 lemon slices, for garnish


1. Combine the bread pieces, milk and egg in a large mixing bowl; stir to mix. Add the crabmeat, parsley, Tabasco sauce and salt, and gently stir to mix.

2. Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring, until soft, about 2 minutes. Add the crabmeat mixture and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture thickens slightly, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool for about 5 minutes.

3. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Lightly oil 6 clean crab shells, 6 small ramekins or an 8-inch square casserole. Spoon the mixture into crab shells, ramekins or an 8-inch square casserole. Sprinkle the mixture with the bread crumbs and bake until the crabmeat is bubbly and the bread crumbs are golden, about 20 minutes. Garnish with the lemon slices and serve warm.

*** THANKS for visiting! You are welcome to return again and again to fill up on good food! :)
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