These recipes were chosen by their versatility. Cajun food is not the easiest to make and according to Chef Patrick Beeson, most people don’t follow a recipe when cooking which makes it difficult to replicate. These recipes chosen can be easily substituted for ingredients commonly found across the country. These are some of the classic Cajun foods to eat like a local.

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Muffuletta
Prep Time 15 mins
Servings
Ingredients
Prep Time 15 mins
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. In a medium bowl, stir the pimento-stuffed olives with the giardiniera, capers and their respective liquids. Add the Calamata olives, garlic, shallot, oregano, parsley, thyme and crushed red pepper. Stir in the olive oil and let the mixture stand for 1 hour.
  2. Open the Italian bread on a work surface. Spoon the olive salad on both sides of the bread and spread evenly. Arrange the mozzarella slices on the bottom half of the bread, then top with the capocollo, Genoa salami and mortadella. Arrange the provolone cheese on the top half of the bread, covering the olive salad completely. Carefully close the sandwich. Wrap the sandwich tightly in plastic and let stand for 30 minutes or up to 2 hours. Cut the sandwich into 8 pieces and serve peperoncini on the side.
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Shrimp & Grits
Prep Time 15 min
Cook Time 25 min
Servings
Ingredients
Prep Time 15 min
Cook Time 25 min
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Bring water to a boil. Add salt and pepper. Add grits and cook until water is absorbed, about 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in butter and cheese.
  2. Rinse shrimp and pat dry. Fry the bacon in a large skillet until browned; drain well. In grease, add shrimp. Cook until shrimp turns pink. Add lemon juice, chopped bacon, parsley, scallions and garlic. Sauté for 3 minutes.
  3. Spoon grits into a serving bowl. Add shrimp mixture and mix well. Serve immediately.
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Jambalaya
Prep Time 20 min
Cook Time 25 min
Servings
Ingredients
Prep Time 20 min
Cook Time 25 min
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. The most important thing is to use the right equipment: a 2-gallon cast iron Dutch oven and a large stainless steel chef's spoon.
  2. Use high heat to preheat the Dutch oven and add the sausage. Using a chef's spoon or large spoon, constantly move the sausage from the bottom of the pot. Be careful not to burn the meat.
  3. Add the thigh meat and brown the chicken on all sides. Again use the spoon to scrape the meat from sticking and burning to the bottom of the pot. Browning the sausage and chicken meats should take 20 minutes. Be careful not to overcook the thigh meat to the point that it shreds.
  4. Lower the heat to medium and add the onions and garlic; sauté for about 15 minutes or until the onions are very limp and "clear". Scrape the bottom of the pot to remove all the "graton". This is where the jambalaya gets its distinct brown color and taste.
  5. Add the tasso, thyme, basil and black and white pepper. Simmer over low heat for 10 minutes. This will give the seasonings time to release their oils and flavors.
  6. Add the rice, reduce the heat to medium and gently break up the rice. Using the stainless steel paddle, continue to insure that the rice is not sticking to the bottom of the pot.
  7. After about 5 minutes, fold in the parsley. Continue to scrape the pot to insure that no rice sticks to the bottom. When the jambalaya returns to a boil, reduce heat to the lowest possible setting and simmer, covered, for at least 25 minutes. Do not remove the cover while the rice is steaming.
  8. If Manda's brand sausage is not available, any lean smoked sausage can be substituted. You may have to remove any excess grease from the pot after frying down an unknown sausage.
  9. If no stocks are available, then chicken soup base can be used. Be careful with your seasoning, as bases are usually full of salt.
  10. The jambalaya is best when served directly out of the cast iron pot.
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Shrimp Po’boy
Prep Time 15 min
Cook Time 10 min
Servings
Ingredients
Prep Time 15 min
Cook Time 10 min
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. For the fried shrimp: Preheat oil in fryer to 360 degrees. Season the shrimp with salt and pepper. Season the flour with salt and pepper. Dredge the shrimp in the flour.
  2. Make an egg wash with the egg and the water. Dredge the shrimp in the egg wash. Dredge the shrimp in the cornmeal. Fry the shrimp until golden brown. Drain on a paper towel lined plate to get rid of excess oil.
  3. To assemble: Slice the French bread and toast lightly in oven. Spread mayo and place lettuce, and tomatoes on the bread. Place fried shrimp on bottom bun.
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Red Beans and Rice
Prep Time 2 hours
Cook Time 3 hours
Servings
Ingredients
Prep Time 2 hours
Cook Time 3 hours
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Place red beans into a large bowl, and cover with water by several inches. Soak overnight.
  2. In a large soup pot, add the oil, garlic, green pepper, onion, celery. Sauté for a few minutes.
  3. Drain and rinse red beans, add them to the soup pot with the vegetables. Cover with water and cook over medium to low heat. Season pot with salt, black pepper, and Creole seasoning.
  4. Reduce heat to low and cook until beans are tender, about 4 hours. When beans are tender add the sausage cut into bit size pieces. Stir to combine and let the flavors come together over low heat for 15-30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Red beans should have a thicker liquid. If water starts to run low just add water slowly so it doesn’t create the consistency of a soup, these are very creamy beans. Serve red beans over hot cooked rice.
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Blackened Fish
Prep Time 10 min
Cook Time 20 min
Servings
Ingredients
Prep Time 10 min
Cook Time 20 min
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Heat a large cast-iron skillet over very high heat until it is beyond the smoking stage and you see white ash in the skillet bottom (the skillet cannot be too hot for this dish), at least 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, pour 2 tablespoons melted butter in each of 6 small ramekins; set aside and keep warm. Reserve* the remaining butter in its skillet. Heat the serving plates in a 250-degree oven.
  3. Thoroughly combine seasoning mix ingredients in a small bowl, Dip each fillet in the reserved melted butter so that both sides are well coated; then sprinkle seasoning mix generously and evenly on both sides of the fillets, patting it in by hand. Place fish in the hot skillet and pour 1 teaspoon melted butter on top of each fillet (be careful, as the butter may flame up)
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Dirty Rice
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Servings
Ingredients
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium. Add onion, celery, and poblano, and cook, stirring often, until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add garlic; cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  3. Add sausage; cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, until sausage crumbles and is no longer pink, about 3 minutes.
  4. Add rice, thyme, paprika, and cayenne; cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in stock, collard greens, salt, and black pepper.
  5. Bring to a boil; cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer until rice is tender, about 18 minutes.
  6. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork to serve
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Beignets
Passive Time 48 Mins 4 Hours
Servings
Ingredients
Passive Time 48 Mins 4 Hours
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Make the yeast mixture: Combine yeast, 1/2 cup warm water, and 1 tsp. granulated sugar in bowl of a heavy-duty stand mixer; let stand 5 minutes. Add milk, eggs, salt, and remaining granulated sugar.
  2. Form a dough: Microwave remaining 1 cup water until hot (about 115°); stir in shortening until melted. Add to yeast mixture. Beat at low speed, gradually adding 4 cups flour, until smooth. Gradually add remaining 2 1/2 to 3 cups flour, beating until a sticky dough forms. Transfer to a lightly greased bowl; turn to grease top. Cover and chill 4 to 24 hours.
  3. Roll and cut: Turn dough out onto a floured surface; roll to 1/4-inch thickness. Cut into 2 1/2-inch squares.
  4. Fry until golden: Pour oil to depth of 2 to 3 inches into a Dutch oven; heat to 360°. Fry dough, in batches, 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Drain on a wire rack. Dust immediately with powdered sugar.
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Bread Pudding
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Servings
Ingredients
Bourbon Sauce:
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Servings
Ingredients
Bourbon Sauce:
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Place stale bread in a bowl with milk and squeeze the bread with your hand until well saturated with milk.
  3. With an electric mixer on high speed in a separate bowl, beat eggs with sugar until thick and pale. Stir in the vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, butter and raisins to the egg mixture. Add the soaked bread crumbs to the egg mixture and stir well. Let stand for 10 minutes. It is important to allow enough time for the bread to absorb the egg mixture or the bread crumbs will float to the top during baking, leaving a layer of custard on the bottom of the dish.
  4. Transfer the mixture to a greased baking dish. Bake until firm, or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean, about 45 to 50 minutes. Let it slightly cool in the dish.
Bourbon Sauce:
  1. Meanwhile, near the end of the baking time, make the sauce. With an electric mixer, beat egg yolks until thick and pale.
  2. In a saucepan, melt the butter and sugar. Pour the butter and sugar mixture over the egg yolks, beating constantly with the mixer, until well thickened.
  3. Stir in bourbon by hand. Serve the pudding warm with vanilla ice cream if desired. Pass the hot bourbon sauce separately.
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Pecan Pralines
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings
dozen
Ingredients
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings
dozen
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Line a baking sheet with foil and grease with butter. Grease a small spoon for scooping the pralines and set aside with the baking sheet.
  2. Add the 4 tablespoons butter, light brown sugar, granulated sugar, salt, heavy cream and corn syrup to a 2 quart or larger heavy bottom sauce pot with a candy thermometer attached and bring to a boil over high heat.
  3. Whisk the mixture to dissolve the sugar then allow it to continue to cook until it reaches firm ball stage, 246 degrees °F, for about 3 minutes.
  4. Remove from the heat and allow it to cool, undisturbed, for 4 minutes.
  5. Add the pecans and vanilla to the pot and using a wooden spoon, beat the mixture vigorously until thickened and the nuts are suspended, about 2 minutes. Working as quickly as you can, portion the pralines with the greased spoon onto the prepared pan. Allow the pralines to cool completely before serving.
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Sources:

Chef Patrick Besson – Ellendale Country Club Executive

Al “Big Al” Mahler – Owner of Big Al’s Seafood Restaurant  

Southern Living recipes