One of America’s Favorites – Jambalaya

June 15, 2020 at 6:49 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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Jambalaya with chicken, andouille sausage, rice, shrimp, celery and spices

Jambalaya (/ˌdʒæmbəˈlaɪ.ə/ JAM-bə-LY-ə, /ˌdʒʌm-/ JUM-) is a popular dish of West African, French (especially Provençal cuisine), Spanish and Native American influence, consisting mainly of meat and vegetables mixed with rice. Traditionally, the meat always includes sausage of some sort, often a smoked meat such as andouille, along with pork or chicken and seafood (less common), such as crawfish or shrimp. The vegetables are usually a sofrito-like mixture known as the “holy trinity” in Cajun cooking, consisting of onion, celery, and green bell pepper, though other vegetables such as okra, carrots, tomatoes, chilis and garlic are also used. After browning and sauteeing the meat and vegetables, rice, seasonings and broth are added and the entire dish is cooked together until the rice is done.

Jambalaya is similar to (but distinct from) other rice-and-meat dishes known in Louisiana cuisine. Gumbo uses similar sausages, meats, seafood, vegetables and seasonings. However, gumbo includes filé powder and okra, which are not common in jambalaya. Gumbo is also usually served over white rice, which is prepared separate from the rest of the dish, unlike jambalaya, where the rice is prepared with the other ingredients. Étouffée is a stew which always includes shellfish such as shrimp or crayfish, but does not have the sausage common to jambalaya and gumbo. Also, like gumbo, étouffée is usually served over separately prepared rice.

Jambalaya may have its origins in several rice-based dishes well attested in the Mediterranean cuisines of France or Spain especially, the Spanish dish paella (native to Valencia), and a French pilau dish in which the word jambalaia is native to Provence) Other seasoned rice-based dishes from other cuisines include pilaf, risotto and Hoppin’ John.

Chicken jambalaya at a restaurant

The first is Creole jambalaya (also called “red jambalaya”). First, meat is added to the trinity of celery, peppers, and onions; the meat is usually chicken and sausage such as andouille or smoked sausage. Next vegetables and tomatoes are added to cook, followed by seafood. Rice and stock are added in equal proportions at the very end. The mixture is brought to a boil and left to simmer for 20 to 60 minutes, depending on the recipe, with infrequent stirring. Towards the end of the cooking process, stirring usually ceases. Some versions call for the jambalaya to be baked after the cooking of all the ingredients.

The second style, more characteristic of southwestern and south-central Louisiana, is Cajun jambalaya, which contains no tomatoes (the idea being the farther away from New Orleans one gets, the less common tomatoes are in dishes). The meat is browned in a cast-iron pot. The bits of meat that stick to the bottom of the pot (sucs) are what give a Cajun jambalaya its brown color. A little vegetable oil is added if there is not enough fat in the pot. The trinity (of 50% onions, 25% celery, and 25% green or red bell pepper, although proportions can be altered to suit one’s taste) is added and sautéed until soft. Stock and seasonings are added in the next step, and then the meats are returned to the pot. This mixture is then simmered, covered, for at least one hour. Lastly, the mixture is brought to a boil and rice is added to the pot. It is then covered and left to simmer over very low heat for at least 1/2 hour without stirring. The dish is finished when the rice has cooked.

In a less common method, meat and vegetables are cooked separately from the rice. At the same time, rice is cooked in a savory stock. It is added to the meat and vegetables before serving. This is called “white jambalaya”. This dish is rare in Louisiana as it is seen as a “quick” attempt to make jambalaya, popularized outside the state to shorten cooking time.

Many people in the south, and typically in Louisiana, enjoy a simpler jambalaya style. This style is cooked the same as the Cajun style, but there are no vegetables. Many restaurants serve this style as opposed to the others, because it is more child-friendly, has a more consistent texture, and is easier to make.

Jambalaya is considered by most Louisianans to be a filling but simple-to-prepare rice dish; gumbos, étouffées, and creoles are considered more difficult to perfect. Most often a long grain white rice is used in making jambalaya.

Ingredients for jambalaya in a pot beginning to cook

Jambalaya is differentiated from gumbo and étouffée by the way in which the rice is included. In these dishes, the rice is cooked separately and is served as a bed on which the main dish is served. In the usual method of preparing jambalaya, a rich stock is created from vegetables, meat, and seafood; raw rice is then added to the broth and the flavor is absorbed by the grains as the rice cooks.

The origin states jambalaya originates from the French Quarter of New Orleans, in the original sector. It was an attempt by the Spanish to make paella in the New World, where saffron was not readily available due to import costs. Tomatoes became the substitute for saffron. As time went on, French influence became strong in New Orleans, and spices from the Caribbean changed this New World paella into a unique dish. In modern Louisiana, the dish has evolved along a variety of different lines. Creole jambalaya, or red jambalaya, is found primarily in and around New Orleans, where it is simply known as “jambalaya”. Creole jambalaya includes tomatoes, whereas Cajun jambalaya does not.

Cajun jambalaya originates from Louisiana’s rural, low-lying swamp country where crawfish, shrimp, oysters, alligator, duck, turtle, boar, venison, nutria and other game were readily available. Any variety or combination of meats, including chicken or turkey, may be used to make jambalaya. Cajun jambalaya is known as “brown jambalaya” in the New Orleans area; to Cajuns it is simply known as “jambalaya”. Cajun jambalaya has more of a smoky and spicy flavor than its Creole cousin.

Creole jambalaya with shrimp, ham, tomato, and andouille sausage

The first appearance in print of any variant of the word ‘jambalaya’ in any language occurred in Leis amours de Vanus; vo, Lou paysan oou théâtré, by Fortuné (Fortunat) Chailan, first published in Provençal dialect in 1837. The earliest appearance of the word in print in English occurs in the May 1849 issue of the American Agriculturalist, page 161, where Solon Robinson refers to a recipe for ‘Hopping Johnny (jambalaya)’. Jambalaya did not appear in a cookbook until 1878, when the Gulf City Cook Book, by the ladies of the St. Francis Street Methodist Episcopal Church, was printed in South Mobile, Alabama. It contains a recipe for “JAM BOLAYA”.

Jambalaya experienced a brief jump in popularity during the 1920s and 1930s because of its flexible recipe. The dish was little more than the rice and vegetables the populace could afford; the recipe grew from humble roots.

In 1968, Louisiana Governor John J. McKeithen proclaimed Gonzales, Louisiana, “the Jambalaya capital of the world”. Every spring, the annual Jambalaya Festival is held in Gonzales.

 

One of America’s Favorites – Jambalaya

June 15, 2020 at 2:10 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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Jambalaya with chicken, andouille sausage, rice, shrimp, celery and spices

Jambalaya (/ˌdʒæmbəˈlaɪ.ə/ JAM-bə-LY-ə, /ˌdʒʌm-/ JUM-) is a popular dish of West African, French (especially Provençal cuisine), Spanish and Native American influence, consisting mainly of meat and vegetables mixed with rice. Traditionally, the meat always includes sausage of some sort, often a smoked meat such as andouille, along with pork or chicken and seafood (less common), such as crawfish or shrimp. The vegetables are usually a sofrito-like mixture known as the “holy trinity” in Cajun cooking, consisting of onion, celery, and green bell pepper, though other vegetables such as okra, carrots, tomatoes, chilis and garlic are also used. After browning and sauteeing the meat and vegetables, rice, seasonings and broth are added and the entire dish is cooked together until the rice is done.

Jambalaya is similar to (but distinct from) other rice-and-meat dishes known in Louisiana cuisine. Gumbo uses similar sausages, meats, seafood, vegetables and seasonings. However, gumbo includes filé powder and okra, which are not common in jambalaya. Gumbo is also usually served over white rice, which is prepared separate from the rest of the dish, unlike jambalaya, where the rice is prepared with the other ingredients. Étouffée is a stew which always includes shellfish such as shrimp or crayfish, but does not have the sausage common to jambalaya and gumbo. Also, like gumbo, étouffée is usually served over separately prepared rice.

Jambalaya may have its origins in several rice-based dishes well attested in the Mediterranean cuisines of France or Spain especially, the Spanish dish paella (native to Valencia), and a French pilau dish in which the word jambalaia is native to Provence) Other seasoned rice-based dishes from other cuisines include pilaf, risotto and Hoppin’ John.

Chicken jambalaya at a restaurant

The first is Creole jambalaya (also called “red jambalaya”). First, meat is added to the trinity of celery, peppers, and onions; the meat is usually chicken and sausage such as andouille or smoked sausage. Next vegetables and tomatoes are added to cook, followed by seafood. Rice and stock are added in equal proportions at the very end. The mixture is brought to a boil and left to simmer for 20 to 60 minutes, depending on the recipe, with infrequent stirring. Towards the end of the cooking process, stirring usually ceases. Some versions call for the jambalaya to be baked after the cooking of all the ingredients.

The second style, more characteristic of southwestern and south-central Louisiana, is Cajun jambalaya, which contains no tomatoes (the idea being the farther away from New Orleans one gets, the less common tomatoes are in dishes). The meat is browned in a cast-iron pot. The bits of meat that stick to the bottom of the pot (sucs) are what give a Cajun jambalaya its brown color. A little vegetable oil is added if there is not enough fat in the pot. The trinity (of 50% onions, 25% celery, and 25% green or red bell pepper, although proportions can be altered to suit one’s taste) is added and sautéed until soft. Stock and seasonings are added in the next step, and then the meats are returned to the pot. This mixture is then simmered, covered, for at least one hour. Lastly, the mixture is brought to a boil and rice is added to the pot. It is then covered and left to simmer over very low heat for at least 1/2 hour without stirring. The dish is finished when the rice has cooked.

In a less common method, meat and vegetables are cooked separately from the rice. At the same time, rice is cooked in a savory stock. It is added to the meat and vegetables before serving. This is called “white jambalaya”. This dish is rare in Louisiana as it is seen as a “quick” attempt to make jambalaya, popularized outside the state to shorten cooking time.

Many people in the south, and typically in Louisiana, enjoy a simpler jambalaya style. This style is cooked the same as the Cajun style, but there are no vegetables. Many restaurants serve this style as opposed to the others, because it is more child-friendly, has a more consistent texture, and is easier to make.

Jambalaya is considered by most Louisianans to be a filling but simple-to-prepare rice dish; gumbos, étouffées, and creoles are considered more difficult to perfect. Most often a long grain white rice is used in making jambalaya.

Ingredients for jambalaya in a pot beginning to cook

Jambalaya is differentiated from gumbo and étouffée by the way in which the rice is included. In these dishes, the rice is cooked separately and is served as a bed on which the main dish is served. In the usual method of preparing jambalaya, a rich stock is created from vegetables, meat, and seafood; raw rice is then added to the broth and the flavor is absorbed by the grains as the rice cooks.

The origin states jambalaya originates from the French Quarter of New Orleans, in the original sector. It was an attempt by the Spanish to make paella in the New World, where saffron was not readily available due to import costs. Tomatoes became the substitute for saffron. As time went on, French influence became strong in New Orleans, and spices from the Caribbean changed this New World paella into a unique dish. In modern Louisiana, the dish has evolved along a variety of different lines. Creole jambalaya, or red jambalaya, is found primarily in and around New Orleans, where it is simply known as “jambalaya”. Creole jambalaya includes tomatoes, whereas Cajun jambalaya does not.

Cajun jambalaya originates from Louisiana’s rural, low-lying swamp country where crawfish, shrimp, oysters, alligator, duck, turtle, boar, venison, nutria and other game were readily available. Any variety or combination of meats, including chicken or turkey, may be used to make jambalaya. Cajun jambalaya is known as “brown jambalaya” in the New Orleans area; to Cajuns it is simply known as “jambalaya”. Cajun jambalaya has more of a smoky and spicy flavor than its Creole cousin.

Creole jambalaya with shrimp, ham, tomato, and andouille sausage

The first appearance in print of any variant of the word ‘jambalaya’ in any language occurred in Leis amours de Vanus; vo, Lou paysan oou théâtré, by Fortuné (Fortunat) Chailan, first published in Provençal dialect in 1837. The earliest appearance of the word in print in English occurs in the May 1849 issue of the American Agriculturalist, page 161, where Solon Robinson refers to a recipe for ‘Hopping Johnny (jambalaya)’. Jambalaya did not appear in a cookbook until 1878, when the Gulf City Cook Book, by the ladies of the St. Francis Street Methodist Episcopal Church, was printed in South Mobile, Alabama. It contains a recipe for “JAM BOLAYA”.

Jambalaya experienced a brief jump in popularity during the 1920s and 1930s because of its flexible recipe. The dish was little more than the rice and vegetables the populace could afford; the recipe grew from humble roots.

In 1968, Louisiana Governor John J. McKeithen proclaimed Gonzales, Louisiana, “the Jambalaya capital of the world”. Every spring, the annual Jambalaya Festival is held in Gonzales.

 

It’s Chili, Chowder, or Stew Saturday – Crawfish Chili

June 15, 2019 at 6:02 AM | Posted in CooksRecipes, It's Chili Soups or Stews Saturday | Leave a comment
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This week’s It’s Chili, Chowder, or Stew Saturday is a recipe for Crawfish Chili. Nothing like some Crawfish to kick up your Chili! Ground Beef, Shrimp, and Spices makeup this week’s recipe. The recipe is from one of my favorite sites, the CooksRecipes website. At the CooksRecipes website you’ll find a huge selection of recipes to please everyone so check it out today! Enjoy and Make 2019 a Healthy One! https://www.cooksrecipes.com/index.html

Crawfish Chili
Adding crawfish to the mix makes this chili as Louisianan as it gets.

Recipe Ingredients:
2 pounds ground beef
2 pounds crayfish
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon dried mint
1 tablespoon dried parsley
3 tablespoons chili powder
1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
1 cup dry white wine
2 cups water
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 cup chopped onion

Cooking Directions:
* Brown ground beef in a saucepan. Add crayfish, minced garlic, salt, soy sauce, cayenne pepper, mint, dried parsley, chili powder, tomato sauce, white wine, water, lemon juice, and chopped onions. Simmer for 2 hours, or until tender.

Makes 16 servings.
https://www.cooksrecipes.com/soup/crawfish_chili_recipe.html

Soup Special of the Day…….Cajun Gumbo

June 17, 2018 at 5:02 AM | Posted in CooksRecipes, soup, Soup Special of the Day | Leave a comment
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This week’s Soup Special of the Day is a Gumbo, but just not any Gumbo a Cajun Gumbo! Made with Chicken Thighs, Crab Meat, Shrimp, Crawfish, Oysters, and more! Everyone leaving the table will be smiling! The recipe comes from one of my favorite recipe sites, the CooksRecipes website. The Cooks site has a huge selection of recipes to please all tastes, diets, or cuisines so check it out today! Enjoy and Eat Healthy in 2018! https://www.cooksrecipes.com/index.html

Cajun Gumbo
Gumbo combines ingredients and culinary practices of several cultures, including French, Spanish, German, West African and Choctaw. The dish is the official cuisine of the state of Louisiana.

Recipe Ingredients:
4 pounds chicken thighs
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 (28-ounce) can tomatoes
2 cups chicken broth or water
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 dried bay leaf
1 (10-ounce) package frozen sliced okra
1 1/2 pounds crabmeat, shrimp, crawfish, lobster and/or surimi
1 (10-ounce) jar medium oysters, drained
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Cooking Directions:
1 – Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C).
2 – Place chicken thighs in a single layer on a shallow baking pan and season with salt and pepper. Bake 45 to 50 minutes or until done. Remove chicken from pan and set aside to cool. Deglaze pan with a little water, scraping the bottom to remove any browned bits and pour pan juices into a fat separator and set aside. When chicken is cool enough to handle, pick meat and discard skin and bones.
3 – Meanwhile, heat oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat. Add onion and green pepper and cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in flour, reduce heat to low and cook 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Add garlic, and cook for 2 more minutes, or until fragrant. Stir in tomatoes (undrained), chicken broth, red pepper flakes, thyme and bay leaf. Increase heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until slightly thickened. Cover and and cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add chicken, pan juices (discard fat) and okra. Return to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in crab, oysters and parsley. Cook gently 5 to 10 minutes or until oysters begin to curl and crab is thoroughly warmed (if using shrimp, shrimp should be pink and opaque throughout). Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve over rice in soup bowls.

Makes 4 servings.
https://www.cooksrecipes.com/soup/cajun_gumbo_recipe.html

One of America’s Favorites – Cajun Cuisine

October 30, 2017 at 5:36 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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Po’ boy sandwiches are associated with the cuisine of New Orleans.

Cajun cuisine (French: Cuisine cadienne, [kɥizin kadʒæ̃n]) is a style of cooking named for the French-speaking Acadian people deported by the British from Acadia in Canada to the Acadiana region of Louisiana. It is what could be called a rustic cuisine; locally available ingredients predominate and preparation is simple.

An authentic Cajun meal is usually a three-pot affair, with one pot dedicated to the main dish, one dedicated to steamed rice, special made sausages, or some seafood dish, and the third containing whatever vegetable is plentiful or available. Shrimp and pork sausage are staple meats used in a variety of dishes.

The aromatic vegetables green bell pepper (poivron), onion, and celery are called the holy trinity by Cajun chefs in Cajun and Louisiana Creole cuisines. Roughly diced and combined in cooking, the method is similar to the use of the mirepoix in traditional French cuisine which blends roughly diced onion, celery and carrot. Characteristic aromatics for the Creole version may also include parsley, bay leaf, green onions, dried cayenne pepper, and dried black pepper.

Around 1755, Acadians were forced out of their settlements by the British, and as a result, they migrated in 1755 in what was called le Grand Dérangement, eventually settling in Southern Louisiana. Due to the extreme change in climate, Acadians were unable to cook their original dishes. Soon, their former culinary traditions were lost, and so, these other meals developed to become what is now considered classic Cajun cuisine traditions (not to be confused with the more modern concept associated with Prudhomme’s style). Up through the 20th century, the meals were not elaborate but instead, rather basic. The public’s false perception of “Cajun” cuisine was based on Prudhomme’s style of Cajun cooking, which was spicy, flavorful, and not true to the classic form of the cuisine. Cajun and Creole label have been mistaken to be the same, but the origins of Creole cooking began in New Orleans, and Cajun cooking came 40 years after the establishment of New Orleans down south on the bayou. Today, most restaurants serve dishes that consist of Cajun styles, which Paul Prudhomme dubbed “Louisiana cooking”.In home-cooking, these individual styles are still kept separate. However, there are fewer and fewer people cooking the classic Cajun dishes that would have been eaten by the original settlers.

Boudin that has been smoked

Primary Cajun Dishes Favorites
Boudin is a type of sausage made from pork, pork liver, rice, garlic, green onions and other spices. It is widely available by the link or pound from butcher shops. Boudin is typically stuffed in a natural casing and has a softer consistency than other, better-known sausage varieties. It is usually served with side dishes such as rice dressing, maque choux or bread. Boudin balls are commonly served in southern Louisiana restaurants and are made by taking the boudin out of the case and frying it in spherical form.

Gumbo – High on the list of favorites of Cajun cooking are the soups called gumbos. Contrary to non-Cajun or

Seafood gumbo

Continental beliefs, gumbo does not mean simply “everything in the pot”. Gumbo exemplifies the influence of French, Spanish, African and Native American food cultures on Cajun cuisine. The name originally meant okra, a word brought to the region from western Africa. Okra which can be one of the principal ingredients in gumbo recipes is used as a thickening agent and for its distinct vegetable flavor. Many claim that Gumbo is a “Cajun” dish, but Gumbo was established long before the Acadian arrival. Its early existence came via the early French Creole culture In New Orleans, Louisiana, where French, Spanish and Africans frequented and also influenced by later waves of Italian, German and Irish settlers.

A filé gumbo is thickened with dried sassafras leaves after the stew has finished cooking, a practice borrowed from the Choctaw Indians. The backbone of a gumbo is roux of which there are two variations: Cajun, a golden brown roux, and Creole, a dark roux, which is made of flour, toasted until well-browned, and fat or oil. The classic gumbo is made with chicken and the Cajun sausage called andouille, pronounced {ahn-doo-wee}, but the ingredients vary according to what is available.

Jambalaya – Another classic Cajun dish is jambalaya. The only certain thing that can be said about a jambalaya is that it contains rice, some sort of meat (such as chicken or beef), seafood (such as shrimp or crawfish) or almost anything else. Usually, however, one will find green peppers, onions, celery, tomatoes and hot chili peppers. Anything else is optional. This is also a great pre-Acadian dish, established by the Spanish in Louisiana.

Rice and gravy – Rice and gravy dishes are a staple of Cajun cuisine and is usually a brown gravy based on pan drippings, which are deglazed and simmered with extra seasonings and served over steamed or boiled rice. The dish is traditionally made from cheaper cuts of meat and cooked in a cast iron pot, typically for an extended time period in order to let the tough cuts of meat become tender. Beef, pork, chicken or any of a large variety of game meats are used for its preparation. Popular local varieties include hamburger steak, smothered rabbit, turkey necks, and chicken fricassee.

Cajun Cuisine Food as an event
Crawfish boil

Louisiana-style crawfish boil

Louisiana-style crawfish boil

The crawfish boil is a celebratory event where Cajuns boil crawfish, potatoes, onions and corn in large pots over propane cookers. Lemons and small muslin bags containing a mixture of bay leaves, mustard seeds, cayenne pepper and other spices, commonly known as “crab boil” or “crawfish boil” are added to the water for seasoning. The results are then dumped onto large, newspaper-draped tables and in some areas covered in Creole / Cajun spice blends, such as REX, Zatarain’s, Louisiana Fish Fry or Tony Chachere’s. Also, Cocktail sauce, mayonnaise and hot sauce are sometimes used. The seafood is scooped onto large trays or plates and eaten by hand. During times when crawfish are not abundant, shrimp and crabs are prepared and served in the same manner.

Attendees are encouraged to “suck the head” of a crawfish by separating the abdomen of the crustacean and sucking out the abdominal fat/juices.

Often, newcomers to the crawfish boil or those unfamiliar with the traditions are jokingly warned “not to eat the dead ones”. This comes from the common belief that when live crawfish are boiled, their tails curl beneath themselves, but when dead crawfish are boiled, their tails are straight and limp. Seafood boils with crabs and shrimp are also popular.

Family Boucherie

Cornbread is a staple Cajun starch

A traditional “boucherie” near Eunice
The traditional Cajun outdoor food event hosted by a farmer in the rural areas of the Acadiana. Family and friends of the farmer gather to socialize, play games, dance, drink, and have a copious meal consisting of hog and other dishes. Men have the task of slaughtering a hog, cutting it into usable parts, and cooking the main pork dishes while women have the task of making boudin.

Cochon de Lait
Similar to a family boucherie, the cochon de lait is a food event that revolves around pork but does not need to be hosted by a farmer. Traditionally, a suckling pig was purchased for the event, but in modern cochon de laits, adult pigs are used. Unlike the family boucherie, a hog is not butchered by the hosts and there are generally not as many guests or activities. The host and male guests have the task of roasting the pig while female guests bring side dishes.

Rural Mardi Gras
The traditional Cajun Mardi Gras (see: Courir de Mardi Gras) is a Mardi Gras celebration in rural Cajun Parishes. The tradition originated in the 18th century with the Cajuns of Louisiana, but it was abandoned in the early 20th century because of unwelcome violence associated with the event. In the early 1950s the tradition was revived in Mamou in Evangeline Parish.

The event revolves around male maskers on horseback who ride into the countryside to collect food ingredients for the party later on. They entertain householders with Cajun music, dancing, and festive antics in return for the ingredients. The preferred ingredient is a live chicken in which the householder throws the chicken to allow the maskers to chase it down (symbolizing a hunt), but other ingredients include rice, sausage, vegetables, or frozen chicken. Unlike other Cajun events, men take no part in cooking the main course for the party, and women prepare the chicken and ingredients for the gumbo.

Once the festivities begin, the Cajun community members eat and dance to Cajun music until midnight, as the beginning of Lent.

 

kräftskiva (crayfish party) – Sweden

September 29, 2011 at 1:05 PM | Posted in baking, Food, grilling, seafood | Leave a comment
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A crayfish party is a traditional summertime eating and drinking celebration in the Nordic countries. The tradition originated in Sweden, where a crayfish party is called a kräftskiva. The tradition has also spread to Finland via the Swedish-speaking population of

Crayfish cooked with dill in the traditional manner.

that country.

Crayfish parties are generally held during August, a tradition that started because crayfish harvesting in Sweden was, for most of the 20th century, legally limited to late summer. Today, the “kräftpremiär” date in early August has no legal significance. Dining is traditionally outdoors, but in practice the party is often driven indoors by bad weather or aggressive mosquitoes. Customary party accessories are comical paper hats, paper tablecloths, paper lanterns (often depicting the Man in the Moon), and bibs. A rowdy atmosphere prevails amid noisy eating and traditional drinking songs (snapsvisa). The alcohol consumption is often high, especially when compared to the amount of food actually eaten (crayfish shelling is tedious work). It is culturally correct to suck the juice out of the crayfish before shelling it.

On the Swedish west coast it is common to replace the fresh water crayfish with havskräfta (English: Norway lobster)

Akvavit and other kinds of snaps are served, as well as beer. The crayfish are boiled in salt water and seasoned with fresh dill — preferably “crown dill” harvested after the plant has flowered — then served cold and eaten with one’s fingers. Bread, mushroom pies, strong Västerbotten cheese, salads, and other dishes are served buffet-style.

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