It’s no secret that The Hungry Southerner is partial to Southern Creole/Cajun cuisine. Most Cajun dishes follow a pattern that consists of 3 culinary traditions: the trinity (bell pepper, onion, celery) , a roux, and some Gulf Coast Seafood. These base ingredients mixed with a heavy dose of cajun seasoning, file powder, a little andouille sausage and a large mound of rice can be reworked in 10 dozen different combinations. This challenge is to throw you in to the deep end, and teach you how to swim in the Bayou. This month’s Yankee Challenge is Shrimp Etouffee with a side of Beignets.
That’s it, all you have to do is cook up a pot of Shrimp Etouffee and fry up some Beignets. The catch is you’ll need to set aside some extra time for this challenge, as success lies in the prep work. There is only one rule this time around, you have to purchase Real American Shrimp. With the current crisis in the Gulf of Mexico, and the drastic effect the importation of foreign seafood has had on costal shrimpers, and fisherman it’s more important than ever to seek out local fresh seafood. Since the birth of the United States, fellow Americans have farmed amazing produce, livestock, and caught fresh seafood, that sustained their families and communities, help support your local farmers by buying as direct as possible. You’ll be rewarded with best looking, freshest tasting food around, and a feeling of pride knowing that the farmer you bought from is taking 100% of the profit.
I don’t have much in the way of tips for this challenge. To make a great pot of etouffee, or gumbo takes practice (maybe a little voodoo). No matter how many times I’ve helped my grandmother make crawfish etouffee, I have yet to figure out her secret; even following her recipe. The quickest point of failure will be your roux, so be patient and don’t let it burn, and remember the darker you let it get the more of a robust flavor your going to introduce to your etouffee. There are no short cuts for a roux, just time and a close eye. For the beignets, invest in a candy thermometer and watch the oil temperature. Also do it right and place the beignets in a powdered sugar filled paper bag and shake before serving, that’s how they do it in New Orleans. Beignets are even better served with chicory coffee.
Readers don’t forget to give the challenge a shot for yourself each Month. We’re still looking to give away some free Hungry Southerner T-Shirts, Southern Starter Kits, and Calphalon Non-stick frying pans. Just cook up your best Shrimp Etouffee and a batch of Beignets, take some pictures and post it to our fan page telling us how it went. The best attempts will win each month. Make sure you head over and check out “The Yankee” , and offer your best Etouffee recipe to Caitlin. Stay Hungry Y’all!