Friday, July 20, 2012

Real Cajun: Recipes by Donald Link

Real Cajun: Rustic Home Cooking from Donald Link's LouisianaRecently we made three dishes from the cookbook Real Cajun by Chef Donald Link.  My husband and I visited his restaurant Couchon in New Orleans a few years ago and were very impressed (the alligator appetizer was especially good!). This cookbook is a must for any cajun, creole, gumbo or just good food lover! We made Smothered Pork Roast over Rice, Vietnamese Marinated Shrimp, and Cheesy Spoonbread.

First up, the pork. Pork is seasoned generously with salt and pepper, then left to rest for up to an hour. Onions, garlic, thyme, and rosemary are combined.

Sear the meat on all sides.....

Let meat rest.....meanwhile sift some flour to make the roux. 

Make the roux, cook until a dark peanut butter color. Then add the veggies. 

Add chicken stock (homemade is best!) and the pork. Let roast for about three hours, turning and basting every 30 minutes or so. 

All done!

Now on to the Vietnamese marinated shrimp.  To make the marinade, combine salt, Donnie's spice mix which is a combination of cayenne pepper, paprika, ground white pepper, ground black pepper, chili powder, and garlic powder, bay leaves, and lemon halves and boil for 5 minutes. Add the shrimp and cook. Remove, add ice to stop the shrimp from over cooking, and let this hang out for a good 20 minutes. Drain.  For the sauce, combine garlic chili sauce, mint, salt, olive oil, and lime juice.  Add shrimp to the sauce to coat. Chill and serve. 

Shrimp are ready to eat! (keep chilled until ready to serve, good for appetizer or main dish). 

Last but not least, the Cheesy Spoonbread.  As a Southerner, I'm not sure how I've missed out on spoonbread.  Maybe it's more of a gulf coast/Louisiana thing? Nevertheless, I know about it now and that is what matters.  I'm already thinking of making this again very soon (maybe tomorrow!). It's just amazing.  It's part cornbread, part souffle, part just cheesy goodness, with the right amount of heat.  

Start by whisking cornmeal into boiling milk with butter and stir until smooth.  Whisk in the egg yolks (temper first), then cheese, scallions, salt, pepper, and cayenne until well combined. Remove from the heat.  Whip egg whites until stiff peaks form.  Plop onto the cornmeal mixture. 

Fold in to combine. Spread into a 8x12 pan (or similar size) and cook for about 40 minutes uncovered. 

Finished Cheesy Spoonbread!

Cajun meal courtesy of Donald Link's recipes in his book "Real Cajun". Oh, somewhere in there, make some white rice, serve the smothered pork over the rice.  Probably can't hurt to add some kind of green vegetable for a well rounded meal. :)


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