Patty collects various recipes from past generations and is interested in early American history, the Civil War, and the 19th century.
From Acadian to Cajun
Cajun is a name for a culture of people with a rich intermixed heritage and lots of good food. I know about them because of three people: a chef called Justin Wilson, whom I used to watch on TV for two years of Saturday mornings; a preacher with a sense of humor named Jesse Duplantis; and a fiddler I used to watch on TV when I was a child, but whose name I don't know at all.
Chef Wilson used to talk to his food as of it were a person. I have tons of recipes from that show. Jesse used to ride a motorcycle in New Orleans and sometimes chased prostitutes on foot down the street with a Bible smiling and shouting, "I want to show you something." The Mafia took a liking to him, which is interesting, as well.
I don't know what became of the fiddler, but I liked his music.
Cajun Easter Ham
- 1 pre-cooked 6-pound boneless ham, spiral cut if you like
- 2 whole large sweet potatoes
- 2 whole Bartlett pears
- 1/2 stick of butter
- 1/2 cup onions, chopped
- 1/2 cup celery, coarsely chopped
- 1/2 cup green bell pepper, chopped
- 1/4 cup red bell pepper, chopped
- 1/4 cup garlic, chopped
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1/4 cup fig preserves (optional, and you might use apricot instead)
- 1/2 cup pecan pieces
- Pinch cinnamon, nutmeg, and file (pronounced "fee-lay") seasoning
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 6 Bartlett pears halved lengthwise
- Cajunized Glaze (see recipe below)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Poach the sweet potatoes and pears together in hot water in a cooking pot over medium heat until fork-tender. Drain and cut into 1-inch size cubes.
- In a sauté pan, melt the butter over medium heat and the add onions, celery, bell peppers and garlic. Sauté until vegetables are wilted, 5 minutes.
- Add sweet potatoes, pears, raisins, and figs and sauté longer until everything is blended and looks like a fruit compote or chutney. Add your seasonings and the nuts and mix well.
- Remove pot from heat and cool on the countertop (set it on a hot mat or a clean towel).
- Slice the ham horizontally through the middle about ¾ of the way and fill the center with the seasoned fruit mixture upwards about an inch. Cover the top of the ham and pin into place with metal skewers.
- Cover the ham top with pear halves and glaze and bake just about 25 minutes.
- 1 cup cane syrup or white sugar
- 1 cup Creole-style (or your favorite type) mustard
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon cracked black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon file seasoning or sassafras leaves, crumbled (I like the sassafras)
- Mix all ingredients together and use in Step 7 above.
Cajun Rice Dressing
Serves 12 or more
If you want a vegetarian dressing, eliminate meat and chicken soup and use additional vegetables, like eggplant and mushrooms.
- 1 1/2 lbs ground chuck
- 1 lb calf liver diced or ground (or use hot spicy sausage)
- 1 can cream of chicken soup
- 1 can cream of mushroom soup
- 2 cans French onion soup (or 2 packets and make it up)
- 2 cans cream of celery soup
- 2 cups chopped bell pepper
- 2 cups chopped green onions
- 2 cups chopped yellow onions
- 4 cups cooked rice
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Cayenne pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
- Brown all meats and drain off the grease.
- Add onions and bell peppers and cook until onions are transparent.
- Add green onions and sauté for one minute.
- Add all of the remaining ingredients and mix. Pour into casserole dish and bake at 300 degrees F for 45 minutes. Don't let it dry out by overcooking.
Smothered Fried Cabbage
- 1 large head cabbage (white, not red), coarsely chopped
- 8 ounces bacon
- 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
- 6 cups water
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Place cabbage and onions in a large pot.
- Cut bacon into 3-inch pieces and add into the pot. Boil over medium heat until cabbage is tender and water is gone.
- Add a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, sugar, seasonings and fry the cabbage until golden.
- Serve as a side dish or as a main course over your rice dressing.
Sweet 9-Inch Crust Pie for Your Favorite Filling
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- Pinch of salt
- 1/2 stick of butter
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 whole egg
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- Cream butter and sugar together until fluffy.
- Add egg and mix together.
- Combine flour, salt and baking powder and add slowly to butter mixture, beating well.
- Roll dough out into portions on a floured board to about 1/4 inch thick and place the crust into a greased 9-inch pie pan.
- Pour blackberry, raspberry, or fig preserves into the crust, then add top crust and crimp edges. (Use your favorite filling anytime.)
- Bake at 350 degrees about an hour or until done to (knife blade comes out clean).
Background of Cajun Food and Culture
The original Acadians arrived in Canada around 1600 AD from France. They were explorers arriving about the same time as did the Spanish, Irish, Scottish, English, and Basque.
These Acadians settled in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island, as well as a few small communities in the State of Maine, but largely in a place called L'Acadie in Eastern Quebec Province.
Maritime Provinces and L'Acadie
Unfortunately, the soon-to-be "Cajuns" were driven out in the middle of the 18th century by the British. Their farms were burned down and many were killed in shipwrecks as well. Longfellow wrote a poem about the people and their trials in attempting to reunite their families down in Louisiana after the expulsion - Evangeline. Please see a poignant excerpt from its ending below.
Some families are still trying to find relatives in Canada and Louisiana 300 years later.
They migrated all the way southward to South Louisiana, and Native Americans have done before, and intermarried among the Native Americans, French, Spanish, German, and American (British descent) peoples.
The Acadian people picked up a lot of cooking traditions and I have a box full of their recipes. Their foods carry the legacy of over 400 years of joys and sorrows.
Still stands the forest primeval; but under the shade of its branches
Dwells another race, with other customs and language.
Only along the shore of the mournful and misty Atlantic
Linger a few Acadian peasants, whose fathers from exile
Wandered back to their native land to die in its bosom.
— Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, excerpt from "Evangeline, A Tale of Acadie"
Cajun Fiddle by Miss Emily
Doug Kershaw, Cajun Fiddler
Cajun Web Sites
- Louisiana and Cajun Website Directory
A directory similar to Google, only Cajun. Also provides forums and ancestor surname tracing online.
- French Cajun Music Association
Culture, histoy, Hall of Fame, list of radio stitions playing the music, Cajun Music Awards.
© 2008 Patty Inglish MS
spkatt on August 28, 2009:
speaking of all the above,i made my first visit to new orleans last year.i really think i would like to live there.
Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on August 27, 2009:
Yes, that's him I think! I will look for a youtube vid of him and include it. THANKS!
spkatt on August 27, 2009:
could your fiddler have been Doug Kershaw?
Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on January 08, 2008:
Greetings MortimerW! I have read as much as I can since childhood and in college I learned to speed read, which allows me to access a lot of information. In addition, through mathtematics, poetry, and art I have learned to "connect things up", as Perry Mason would say. :)
I'm also doing hubs right ow about Native Americans and US history and the hundreds of recipes I have collected that fit in with these topics via culture are great!
Whitney05, that chicken is delicious in this recipe!
Whitney from Georgia on January 07, 2008:
The cajun rice and Sweet Crust Pie sound YUMMY!! I know chicken's not really an easter dish, or at least not in my family, but cajun chicken instead of ham (I don't eat ham). :-)
MortimerWorth from Germany on January 07, 2008:
Honestly, where do you get this stuff! The swamp fox, cajun cooking and fiddle music all in one blog. Keep on doin' what you do!
Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on January 07, 2008:
The food is good and the music is fantastic. I like to go to Michaul's and listen and watch people dance. I did see something about the "Cultural Cajun." Good idea imo.
Detroit on January 07, 2008:
I had a friend that wouldn't admit he was Cajun. He kept saying he was "Spanish." Yes, but he was part native and part African too. His grandmom had been discriminated against and he was ashamed. But finally he accepted his heritage and was much happier. So was grandma.
Isn't there such as thing as a cultural cajon, a person who adopts the culture and/or lives in the community. We could be that if we chose to.
MrMarmalade from Sydney on January 07, 2008:
Very good I almost become a Cajun, just reading.. What better reason than those from the heart?
Wehzo on January 06, 2008:
Very good hub Patty. I never knew the history of the Cajuns, which is very interesting, but I am familiar with their foods. My mother is from New Orleans, and I have many relatives who still live there, and in other parts of Louisiana. They have a wide range of recipes, and I love it, especially the Cajun rice.