Cajun Salad, BBQ Shrimp and Chicken & Sausage Gumbo


January 8, 2016, posted by Gina – Earlier this week I had the pleasure of attending the Farmer’s Table Cooking School in Livingston, Miss. Our menu for the day was entitled “Traveling Through the Bayou” and it was all about Cajun cooking. What better way to get ready for Mardi Gras season? Chef Matt has a great way of teaching serious cooking techniques while at the same time making it fun. He has a great personality and was able to keep up with the 12 women in our group.

FMCS

We began our class with a fresh, crisp Cajun Salad made with romaine and an outstanding dressing that was the perfect combination of sweet, tangy and hot. I can’t recommend this dressing enough. Here is the recipe:

Cajun Dressing
1/8 cup red wine vinegar
1 tbs mustard
2 tsp brown sugar
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp Cajun seasoning
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
Tabasco to taste
½ cup olive oil
¼ tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp black pepper

Whisk everything together. We served this over romaine lettuce, heirloom tomatoes and sliced cucumber. Very yummy!

Then we moved on to Mr. B’s BBQ Shrimp…

The first time I had the pleasure of eating BBQ shrimp in New Orleans, I was quite surprised by its presentation and taste. The waiter first brought me out a bib. I felt ridiculous but when the delicious bowl of fantastically flavored shrimp swimming in a broth that I could only describe as heaven was placed in front of me, I no longer cared. Traditionally, this dish is served with head on, shell on shrimp. The version we prepared no longer had the heads intact and I was thankful.

BBQ Shrimp

Mr. B’s BBQ Shrimp
16 large shrimp with shells on
½ cup Worcestershire sauce
2 tbs lemon juice
2 tsp black pepper
2 tsp coarse black pepper
2 tsp creole seasoning
1 tsp garlic
3 sticks butter
French bread sliced

In a large skillet combine shrimp, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, black peppers, Creole seasoning, and garlic. Cook over moderately high heat until shrimp turn pink, about 1 minute on each side. Turn heat off and stir in butter, a few cubes at a time, stirring constantly and adding more only when butter is melted. Place shrimp in a bowl and pour sauce over top. Serve with French bread for dipping.

The next recipe we made was a Chicken and Sausage Gumbo. This is an ideal dish for a cold winter day. The roux was perfect and the flavors were fabulous.

Gumbo

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo
1½ lbs boneless chicken meat cut into cubes
1½ tsp kosher salt
½ tsp black pepper
½ tsp paprika
½ tsp cayenne pepper
3 tbs flour
½ cup canola oil (cleaner than vegetable oil and higher smoke point than olive)
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 medium size yellow onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
½ pound andouille sausage
2 cups chopped okra
6 cups chicken broth
1 bay leaf
1 sprig thyme
Hot sauce to taste

Combine 3 tablespoons of flour with the kosher salt, black pepper, paprika and cayenne pepper. Sprinkle flour mixture over chicken cubes, making sure to cover all sides. In a cast iron skillet, heat 2 tablespoons canola oil and cook chicken until brown on all sides. Remove chicken and place on a plate lined with paper towels. In the same skillet, add another tablespoon canola oil and fry the okra for about 4 or 5 minutes. Remove okra and place on a plate lined with paper towels.

Add the remaining ½ cup canola oil and sprinkle ½ cup flour into skillet on medium low heat. Whisk constantly until the flour becomes brown and has a nutty smell, about 15 minutes. Add the onions, celery and bell pepper and cook for 3 – 4 minutes. Add garlic, chicken, sausage and chicken broth whisking until roux is combined with chicken broth, about 4 – 5 minutes. Add okra, bay leaf, thyme and cook for an hour to an hour and a half. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Serve over steamed rice.

I highly recommend each of these recipes. Bon Appétit!

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