Duck and Tasso Gumbo


We had some duck meat left over from yesterday so I looked around for something to do with it and ran across this recipe.  It looked fine and all but I didn’t use it.  Thanks for the idea though!  I went my usual route with a brown roux (made with duck fat!) and the trinity of green peppers, celery, onion, and a half a bag of frozen okra.  I did have tasso in the freezer, my last, so it went in with the diced duck meat.  I made a stock from the duck carcass and I could taste just a hint of the sweet orange glaze that still clung to the bits of skin that went into the stock pot.  Didn’t hurt a thing.  Tony Chachere’s Cajun seasoning flavored the dish.  At the table I added hot sauce to mine – recommended if you are more tolerant than Mrs J!

Pea Soup, with Enhancements

I’ve been looking at a jar of split peas in the pantry for a while, decided today was the day for them.  Took the opportunity to scrounge some tasso and ham from the freezer.  I’ve been using from those two packages of meat as required for this and that, this dish finished them both off.  I always dice onions for my pea soups, and lately have been adding carrots for the color if for no other reason.  This pot had been simmering for a couple of hours and wasn’t getting quite thick enough to suit me and so I diced and added a couple of potatoes for the starch.  I may do it every time because this was some very good soup.  There are a few bay leaves in it, and a half teaspoon of dried thyme along with some onion and garlic powders.

Soup needs some decent bread.  I made some cornbread for this batch, I bet a good hearty hunk of whole wheat bread fresh from the oven would just kill with this.  The cornbread is the standard recipe from the back of the corn meal canister, with additions of cheddar cheese and minced red and green bell peppers.  The link goes to a recipe with bacon and jalapenos but it has the basic recipe in there too.  Makes a nice garnish, eh?

Chicken Gumbo

Sorry about the light posting, we’ve had some work in the kitchen done – some new countertops along with a new sink.  That didn’t take too long, and didn’t cause me any pain or suffering.  Taking the old countertop to the basement and installing it in a corner down there did take some time and effort.  Noticing the lighting was poor hit me when I was weak and feeling handy.  Gah.  Nothing for it but to replace a dozen cheap shop light fixtures with more cheap fixtures.  But hey!  They have electronic instant on gizmos!

Now I wait for the new single bowl sink to fit into the hole the old one came out of so Mrs J can have a nice dog wash/deskunking station.  It’s near where a clothes washer was installed so the drain and water hook ups are close by and pose no particular problem for this old plumber.  Now then, where was I?  Ah —Just a basic gumbo, this one with chicken, Andouille sausage, and tasso.


I had a handful of brown rice in the cupboard I wanted to use up so I used it in this classic Cajun dish.  The dish was designed to use up odds and ends of fixings, and nothing can be really considered out of bounds, be it muskrat, raccoon, shellfish or etc & etc.  Nothing outre in this one, never fear!  

Emeril has a popular recipe that I used as a guide today.  Brown rice can be a pain to cook, so I did it apart from the rest of the dish, using my rice cooker on the brown rice setting.  I dumped the cooked rice into the pot atop the veggies and let it come back to heat before adding the chicken.  Tossed in some tasso just because I had some, along with the Andouille.

My shrimp was already cooked, so I added it the very last thing before serving, giving it enough time to warm through.  Since our patio cherry tomato bushes are producing well I halved a bunch of those instead of chopping a regular tomato.  They were very good in this.







I bought some roux in a jar with the last order from that Cajun grocer and decided to give it a spin today.  Disaster!  It was awful tasting.  I dumped the whole pot into a colander to drain the offending sauce away.  Seriously thought about rinsing every last bit away but figured that would be overkill.

I made another roux in a clean pot-not the dark roux I was really wanting but it was fairly brown, about a milk chocolate.  I dumped the remainders from the colander back into this new roux and gave it a brief stir before I added another quart and a half of chicken stock.

It turned out pretty good on the second try.


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Brussels Sprouts and Pasta

I wanted to use these sprouts up before they dried out on me.  Roasted in the balsamic vinegar/oil recipe like the cauliflower yesterday would have been fine.  I wanted to do something a bit different and looked at several recipes including a few that called for heavy cream.  I had the carton of whipping cream out and ready but I changed my mind.

Instead of a cream sauce I went with a chicken stock based sauce with plenty of lemon juice and zest.  The reason I backed away from the cream was the addition of the diced tasso.  I just couldn’t quite picture how it was going to work so I chickened out.  Not that I could quite figure how the lemon sauce was going to act with the tasso, either.

Anyway, I halved the sprouts and added them to a pan with red onions and several sliced cloves of garlic.  Added some olive oil and butter and cooked them with salt and pepper over medium heat while the pasta boiled.  I zested a lemon and squeezed the juice into the pan, added some red pepper flakes.  I added a cup and a half of chicken stock with some cornstarch mixed into it.  That soon thickened into a pretty decent sauce that hinted at being something you could put on a bread pudding.  LOL!  When the pasta was done I dumped it on top of everything in the pan and hollered in Mrs J for dinner.

She sat there looking at her plate and then said “oh, those are sprouts, I thought they were olives”.  Well now, there was a good idea!  Some cracked green olives and some grated parmesan worked just fine in there.


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Mmm…Red Beans ‘n Rice

I’ve been wanting to make a mess of these ever since we got some tasso from that mail order outfit down in Louisiana.  I also received some dried red beans that were highly, and repeatedly, recommended.

I suppose everyone with  a Grandma from New Orleans has a secret family heirloom recipe for red beans and rice.  I’ve followed a couple that were subtly different but remained the same in essence:  Basic recipe is to sweat some of the trinity in bacon grease, add sausage/ham/chicken/some kind of meat to brown it some, then dump in some soaked beans and cover with stock or water.  The pot simmers for a few hours, spices are added, rice is cooked, onions are chopped and pretty soon you have a great dinner.

Today I printed out Emeril’s recipe and carried it to the kitchen.  I followed it pretty well with a few changes, nothing major. (Didn’t have enough celery so I chopped up some bok choy–don’t tell!)  Emeril calls for a ham hock, I used some sliced, smoked, ham diced into smallish cubes.  I sprinkled in some cayenne like the recipe said, and also sprinkled on some of the homemade Cajun seasoning I made up a while back from this recipe.

I used some Tabasco at the table over mine, and sprinkled on some extra creole seasoning and the result was pretty warm.  Mrs J’s portion was nearly too hot for her but she managed like a real trooper.


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